When I'm interviewed by the media about my show, I often wonder out loud what Tom's legacy will look like in the decades to come, long after I've joined him in the afterlife. Now that our Northern Ontario tour is over and I have time to bask in the glory from these amazing shows, I think I have a hint of how it will be.
Often each night, in all of the great theatres we played, I'd look across the stage and see some scenes I could only dream about. First there was a spirited Russell deCarle swinging his guitar side to side as he was belting out Tom's "Singing Away My Blues". Listening to an elite Canadian country music vocalist elevate this song to new heights was one of the many highlights. Moments later, a beaming trio of brothers, Bruce, Larry and Brian Good were introducing their new song to the country. It's a song about Tom called Shooting Star. We'd all have huge grins on our faces as they sang...
"He toured around from town to town, from one coast to another,
Whiskey Jack would have his back, They looked out for each other...
The legend goes, after the shows, They knew how Tom would think, so,
They'd see who'd draw the shortest straw, To stay up for a drink oh,
They'd stay up and get stinko".
And if that wasn't enough thrills for one night, we'd then welcome Cindy Church to the stage and listen to her haunting rendition of "Songbird Valley", one of Tom's more poignant songs. Douglas and I spoke later of the chills we felt when we heard our harmony parts wrap around that amazing voice.
The supporting cast, Whiskey Jack, were the elite of the Canadian country music community. First there was multi-instrumentalist and entertainer extraordinaire, Douglas John Cameron. His dance (some call it flossing) brought the house down every night! What a roar that was. Fiddle great Randy Morrison worked the crowd into a frenzy with his wild and crazy Orange Blossom Special. Holding it all together was the great Bill Carruthers on drums and the oh-so-steady and creative Eric Jackson on upright bass. My mouth was put to good use as I MC'd the show and kept it moving and the sum total resulted in standing ovation after standing ovation.
We can only hope there will be many more shows like this in towns and cities across the country. Stompin' Tom in 2019 - never sounded better.