At 78 years old

Ian Tyson wins over crowd

If you are cowboy Ian Tyson, who just happens to also be a singer songwriter those memories become songs.

By the age of 78, a man has accumulated a few memories.  If you are cowboy Ian Tyson, who just happens to also be a singer songwriter those memories become songs.  One can’t spent 60 years on the road ranching and performing without gaining some wisdom, having some fun, forging some important relationships and finding one’s way.

Tyson is a man with memories to spare.  His songs are about his experiences and his thoughts.  It was with great delight that the Princeton Arts Council was able to persuade the travelling artist to make a stop in Princeton on his way through town.  Tyson played in Chilliwack the day before and was headed on to Vernon next.  A few phone calls later and council president Del Hall had made a connection that would give Princeton a wonderful evening of entertainment.

Song favourites Four Strong Winds and Navajo Rug had everyone singing alone at last Wednesday’s evening performance at the Riverside Theatre.  Along with his oldies, but goodies were some really nice new ones that had attendees foraging through the Tyson CD collection during intermission.  Tyson did not sing without first setting the stage for his songs.  Last year, at 77, he took an eight day seven night river rafting expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  Lying on a sand bed…he crooned in a low husky voice…making those present picture Tyson…before a fire…by the river…guitar in hand.

To delighted listeners, it wasn’t long into his performance before memories of their own started flooding forth.  For myself, I have seen Tyson twice.  Once at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver when I was dating a cowboy myself and a second time in Princeton.  Tyson referred to his past visit to town and when he heard from the audience the year was 1990 because they “had just looked at the poster,” he asked “is it still up?”

Tyson’s humour and warm narrative won over the audience at record speed.  His songs were an added bonus.  In 1990 when Tyson last came to Princeton, it was my last summer with my dad, another cowboy who was fighting cancer at the time.  He couldn’t come see him, but we did our best to fill him in, bringing home a CD and a signed poster from Richard Farnsworth and the Grey Fox movie.  Farnsworth was in town too that weekend for Bill Miner Days.  It was with a few tears, I remembered that visit.

For many in the audience, Tyson has been a part of their musical experience for decades.  He is still a steadfast part of Canadian country music and as Tyson nears eighty, it is clear, he still has music flowing through those wistful cowboy veins.  His performance might have been a little less lively than last time I saw him, but the cowboy was still there, strumming his guitar and taking us to another place.

“We were thrilled with the last minute response of Princetonites who came out to the concert,” stated Hall.   “Bringing in a professional artist with technical requirements was a challenge, but I  think we met that challenge.”

The third concert in the series will be harpist Ingrid Schellenberg.  “Schellenberg will be the third and final concert in the series for which we received funding,” Hall said.  “Ingrid is very family friendly and I am sure anyone who attends will enjoy themselves.  We are so pleased we were able to bring these performers to Princeton and hope that Princeton will again come through with their support.”

Schellenberg will be performing 2:00 p.m at Riverside Theatre on Sunday Nov. 27.   Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children at the door or at Sunflower Gallery during the week.

One can’t spent 60 years on the road ranching and performing without gaining some wisdom, having some fun, forging some important relationships and finding one’s way.

Tyson is a man with memories to spare.  His songs are about his experiences and his thoughts.  It was with great delight that the Princeton Arts Council was able to persuade the travelling artist to make a stop in Princeton on his way through town.  Tyson played in Chilliwack the day before and was headed on to Vernon next.  A few phone calls later and council president Del Hall had made a connection that would give Princeton a wonderful evening of entertainment.

Song favourites Four Strong Winds and Navajo Rug had everyone singing alone at last Wednesday’s evening performance at the Riverside Theatre.  Along with his oldies, but goodies were some really nice new ones that had attendees foraging through the Tyson CD collection during intermission.  Tyson did not sing without first setting the stage for his songs.  Last year, at 77, he took an eight day seven night river rafting expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  Lying on a sand bed…he crooned in a low husky voice…making those present picture Tyson…before a fire…by the river…guitar in hand.

To delighted listeners, it wasn’t long into his performance before memories of their own started flooding forth.  For myself, I have seen Tyson twice.  Once at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver when I was dating a cowboy myself and a second time in Princeton.  Tyson referred to his past visit to town and when he heard from the audience the year was 1990 because they “had just looked at the poster,” he asked “is it still up?”

Tyson’s humour and warm narrative won over the audience at record speed.  His songs were an added bonus.  In 1990 when Tyson last came to Princeton, it was my last summer with my dad, another cowboy who was fighting cancer at the time.  He couldn’t come see him, but we did our best to fill him in, bringing home a CD and a signed poster from Richard Farnsworth and the Grey Fox movie.  Farnsworth was in town too that weekend for Bill Miner Days.  It was with a few tears, I remembered that visit.

For many in the audience, Tyson has been a part of their musical experience for decades.  He is still a steadfast part of Canadian country music and as Tyson nears eighty, it is clear, he still has music flowing through those wistful cowboy veins.  His performance might have been a little less lively than last time I saw him, but the cowboy was still there, strumming his guitar and taking us to another place.

“We were thrilled with the last minute response of Princetonites who came out to the concert,” stated Hall.   “Bringing in a professional artist with technical requirements was a challenge, but I  think we met that challenge.”

The third concert in the series will be harpist Ingrid Schellenberg.  “Schellenberg will be the third and final concert in the series for which we received funding,” Hall said.  “Ingrid is very family friendly and I am sure anyone who attends will enjoy themselves.  We are so pleased we were able to bring these performers to Princeton and hope that Princeton will again come through with their support.”

Schellenberg will be performing 2:00 p.m at Riverside Theatre on Sunday Nov. 27.   Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children at the door or at Sunflower Gallery during the week.