Artist Spotlight at The Rodeo: Stompin’ Tom Connors
Saint John, New Brunswick, was Tom Connors’ hometown. Born on February 9th, 1936, Stompin’ Tom came from a rough upbringing, and started hitchhiking by 15 years of age.
Writing songs about Canada was Stompin’ Tom Connors’ signature musical talent. While traveling with his guitar in hand, Tom Connors documented his time in various parts of Canada.
In Timmins, Ontario, Stompin’ Tom was bribed by a bartender at the Maple Leaf Hotel to play a couple songs for a beer, which he couldn’t afford. This is when Stompin’ Tom Connors had his big break.
After showing off his knack for his country folk singer-songwriter performance, the Maple Leaf Hotel gave Stompin’ Tom a 13-month contract along with a re-occurring radio gig at CKGB radio, and 8-45 rpm recordings.
Since Stompin’ Tom Connors signed with Dominion Records in 1969, the music industry has enjoyed the Canadian country music Stompin’ Tom was so proud and honored to write on the road as a young and troubled teen.
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Stompin’ Tom Connors rebelled against the Canadian music industry’s push towards promoting American artists. In the late ‘80s, Stompin’ Tom couldn't resist the limelight opening A-C-T Records, a label that he created to record and promote Canadians. Stompin’ Tom released another record in 1988 with EMI Records.
Tom Connors died on March 6th, 2013 of kidney failure at 77 years of age due to many years of substantial alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking. Tom Connors was honored by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa when their flag was lowered to half-mast in tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors’ contribution to Canadian country music.
Tom Connors is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has won multiple JUNO Awards for Top Country Singer, Male Country Singer and Male Vocalist of the Year, and Country Album of the Year.
Receiving an Honorary Degree from St. Thomas University in 1993, the University of Toronto in 2000, and the University of Prince Edward Island in 2002, Stompin’ Tom Connors won the SOCAN National Achievement Award in 1999, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2000, the SOCAN lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, the Toronto Musicians’ Union Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, and the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award, from the East Coast Music Awards in 1993, among other East Coast Music awards.
Watch Stompin’ Tom Connors perform “Margo’s Cargo” off of his greatest hits album, Stompin’ Tom Connors 50th Anniversary below.