MC: When it comes to the big 80th birthday celebration, what can we look forward to at the Stompin’ Tom tribute?
AC: Well we will all take part and we’ve invited various people ... because we want to always remember Stompin’ Tom on his birthday.
DF: J.P. Cormier, who was one of Tom’s favourite musicians … wrote a song recently called “House of Plywood” and it’s in honour of Tom. It is one of the most moving pieces of music I’ve heard in a long time and he’ll perform that. But the other thing is that the musicians on stage, they’re all seasoned musicians who know Tom’s material inside and out and we’ve been told that because the level of musicianship is so high, it is elevating these songs to a whole different level. It’s placing them at the same level as k.d. lang’s material or Gordon Lightfoot’s material, and Tom, generally, has never been given the same respect, musically, as these acts have been given. I think you’re going to see on the 9th that’s going to change dramatically.
AC: I think the respect that is Tom’s due is really emerging now. He’s always really had it. It was just never stated as such. And I think we hope that by celebrating his birthday, by having people know that we’re still listening to him, that he’s still being performed, that people are still buying the discs and so on, that is really important. And that means it isn’t just a legacy. It’s living music. So I think that’s what we really want – for people to take part and to sing his songs and to feel like they are part of it.
MC: And fans may even get to see Madam Clarkson sing a tune again…
DF: I will tell you that her voice has a bit of a twang to it. I don’t know that she expected that to be the case but when you sing a Tom song somehow that upper lip starts doing something weird. So I’m looking forward to the twang again this year.
AC: I think Duncan is very careful of my reputation because he didn’t want me to make a bloody fool of myself [last year] and so I had to have something that suited my style of singing. Now I’m very happy singing in church, I sing hymns, I sang in a choir when I was in university and I’m very good singing with people. But I’m not a soloist as such. So doing “The Marten Hartwell Story” where there’s a lot of what I call Henry Higgins type singing – a lot of talking singing – is perfect for me. And then there’s a chorus, which everybody else joins in on and that’s very nice.
DF: Tom just wanted his music to be played, and we’re happy to oblige.
Whiskey Jack Presents Stories and Songs of Stompin' Tom w/ special guests takes place Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 at 8 p.m. at Hugh's Room in Toronto. Tickets are $32.50 in advance and $35 door and are available online here or by phone at (416) 531-6604.
See below for a video invite from the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Duncan Fremlin and others to Stompin' Tom's 80th birthday bash.
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