Yesterday Canada lost our most distinctively Canadian songwriter, Stompin’ Tom Connors. He died of natural causes and left a warm and humble last word in a letter to his fans, thanking them for their support while he bowed out with grace. The man was one of our best; and if you have any doubts about that you should remember that he basically wrote our national anthem. It’s sad, and he’ll be missed, but Stompin’ Tom was able to see our entire country, write about it beautifully with a light heart, and then share it with us. We’re eternally grateful.
As a tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors, here is Stompin’ Tom’s Canada: a song about each and every province in our vast country.
Newfoundland: "The Man in the Moon is a Newfie"
This song is about as psychedelic as Stompin’ Tom gets. A lyric like, “He said the sky was much too dry and he made a wavy motion / And the moon like a boat began to float upon the starry ocean,” could easily be an outtake from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
PEI: "Bud the Spud"
“Bud the Spud” is by and far one of Stompin’ Tom’s most popular songs. Light hearted, sincere and easy to drink along to. And rhyming potatoes with Sobagos? Brilliant.
Nova Scotia: "Down Nova Scotia Way"
Not Stompin’ Tom’s best song, but it’s still good and heartfelt. Plus it’s from an album called Hockey Mom Tribute, so that’s pretty amazing.
New Brunswick: "New Brunswick and Mary"
He name-drops our very own Brad Casey’s hometown in this beauty. Miramichi represent! Even though the rest of us have absolutely no idea what Miramichi is or where it can be located on a map, how could you not fall in love with this man after listening to this song? Break our hearts, ol' boy, and do it in a way that also makes us want to learn more about our great country's geography!
Quebec: "Movin In (From Montreal by Train)"
Falling in love with a girl from Montreal? And on the VIA Rail, at that? This is the kind of Canadian folk realism that is sorely missing in music today. If you haven't fallen in love with someone on a train two Canadian cities then you are not living right.
Ontario: "Margo’s Cargo"
This song perfectly encapsulates what everybody in Canada thinks about everybody Toronto. In this tune, two farmers sell cow-shit to some "idiots" in the Big Smoke. Tom's basically saying, “Fuck those guys,” but still the assholes in Toronto seem like nice enough people. Plus now they have a bunch of cow-shit to deal with. Toronto has a bad rep.
Manitoba: "Red River Jane"
Here we have a song about the time where Stompin’ Tom went to Manitoba, 69'd a hooker, and then had his heart broken. This definitely wasn’t his classiest moment, but Tom appears to have learned his lesson, and you can’t help but feel for the guy. You’ll get 'em next time, Stompin’ Tom.
Saskatchewan: "Roll on Saskatchewan"
Okay, we’ll admit that he kind of phones this one in. But there really isn’t much in Saskatchewan, so whatever. We understand.
Alberta: "Alberta Rose"
This guy really got around, eh? Stompin’ Tom has got hoes in different area codes. Good on ya, bud. Besides that Ludacris reference though, this song comes from an album called Believe in Your Country which is really what we're all about over here at VICE Canada despite all the weird things that happen up here. You may be a big frozen mess sometimes, Canada, but you're ours.
British Columbia: "The Bridge Came Tumblin Down"
This sprawling, sad song is all about a bridge that collapsed in Vancouver and the workers who died along with it. Somewhat fittingly, the Western-most point in our country brings about the most tragic of endings.
Yukon: "Long Gone to the Yukon"
Our digital marketing manager is from the Yukon, but it's like pulling teeth with her to try and figure out anything about what the Yukon is like. Thank god for Stompin' Tom! This song teaches us that the Yukon is full of dancing girls, diamonds, and beers. Sounds like a great time.
So there you have it, we suppose Stompin’ Tom never made his way out to the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut was but a mere twinkle in our country's eye during Stompin' Tom's prime, but who else out there has a series of folk-bangers that cover the strange beauty of Canada so comprehensively? Nobody, that's who. Thank you for the art, the laughs, and all of the excuses to drink and talk about romantic exploits that your music provided us, Stompin’ Tom Connors. We’ll miss you.