Wednesday July 1, 1998

Stompin' Tom still on the move
By KAREN BLISS -- Jam! Music

"To me, Canada Day is every day," says Stompin' Tom Connors, Canada favorite patriot.

"On the specific one, I'm playing up in Ottawa for a Molson concert. There should be about two or three thousand people there at Market Square, and I understand they'll be a lot of rock bands. I'll be the only country guy. But I'm not intimated, put it that way."

Nor should he be. Stompin' Tom knows how to rock a joint, with a stompin' foot and songs which dig deep into Canada's heritage. His latest compilation, 25 Of The Best Stompin' Tom Souvenirs, has just been released on EMI, in time for the homegrown folk hero's 38-city Canadian tour.

"I don't go out too often, but when I go I make sure I do a big one," says the 62-year-old Connors of his first extensive tour since 1993. Backed by The Formulas, this tour kicked off in Lindsay, Ont on Monday at Academy Theatre and will take him out to B.C. and back again for an October 29 date at Toronto's Massey Hall.

"I always look forward to touring," says Connors. "We don't take a bus; we travel in our vehicles. A sound truck goes on ahead of us and we follow along at our own pace. I meet a lot of people and renew old acquaintances and get out there and see the country, as I drive from coast to coast. I'll probably put on 12,000 miles."

Part of the reason Stompin' Tom didn't tour behind his last studio album, Long Gone To The Yukon, was he was working on the sequel to his No.1 best-selling autobiography, Before The Fame (1995). "I'm still working on it," he laughs. "I was putting an extension to my house, and you can't write when all that's going on, workmen coming and going, so I've been held up quite a bit."

The astounding feature of the book is Stompin' Tom's extraordinary memory for times, dates, people and places. "I just happen to have a good memory about those things," explains Connors who doesn't keep a journal. "As a matter of fact, it's my memory that I draw on half the time when writing songs. I'm able to concentrate and put myself in the situation I was in before, so it's been fountain of information when it comes to writing."

Stompin' Tom is half-way through writing his next album, which will probably out the beginning of next year. Meanwhile, Canuck rocker Kim Mitchell did a cover of "Sudbury Saturday Night" for the Summer Dock Party CD, due at radio on July 7. And EMI will also re-release 10 Stompin' Tom catalogue titles under the Man Of The Land Collection. His albums have sold an estimated 2-million copies collectively.

25 Of The Best Stompin' Tom Souvenirs, includes "Canada Day, Up Canada Way", "A Real Canadian Girl", "Sudbury Saturday Night" ,"The Ketchup Song" and "Cross Canada". "I selected about half (the songs) and EMI selected the other half," says Connors. "We took up all the minutes; we couldn't get another song on there if we tried."

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