Stony Plain To Release The Gift: A Tribute To Ian Tyson

EDMONTON, AB, Canada (Top40 Charts/ Stony Plain Records) – Ian Tyson has been one of Canada’s most distinctive songwriters for more than 40 years. Since the early ’60s, he has created a spectacular body of work – and now a distinguished group of Canadian and American artists have recorded some of his classic songs for a tribute album in his honour. The album has been in the works for more than a year. Stony Plain Records’ Holger Petersen and award-winning music journalist Peter North asked Tyson’s friends, associates, admirers and one-time sidemen to contribute, and shepherded their songs through production. The response was both positive and immediate.

The result is The Gift: A Tribute to Ian Tyson, with 15 of his songs performed by an all-star cast including Blue Rodeo, Jennifer Warnes, one-time Byrd Chris Hillman, Gordon Lightfoot and rowdy Alberta renegade Corb Lund.

Former musicians who have worked with Tyson over the years – David Rea, Stewart MacDougall, Amos Garrett, Cindy Church, Buddy Cage and Jeff Bradshaw – all contributed tracks. Other participants include Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, The Good Brothers, The McDades and Tom Russell.

The CD joins a Stony Plain catalogue that already boasts more than a dozen Tyson albums, including 1986’s platinum selling Cowboyography. Tyson has been a Stony Plain artist since 1985. And all of his earlier solo material has been reissued by the label. Stony Plain’s catalogue is distributed by Warner Music Canada. Tyson, who marks his 75th birthday next year, continues to run the Tyson Ranch in the foothills of the Rockies south of Calgary – and tours in Canada and the US, playing some 75 concerts a year. He’s a member of the Juno Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Said producer Peter North, longtime music writer for the Edmonton Journal and as music director of Alberta’s CKUA radio network: “Tyson’s songs cross a musical landscape that includes the folk revival of the ’60s, the birth of country rock, hardcore honkytonk music and his own chosen place as a spokesperson for cowboy culture.

“A tribute to Ian, who is certainly not ready to call it a day on the ranch, has definitely been in order for some time now.”

The first single from the album – already sent to radio stations across the country – is Blue Rodeo’s interpretation of Tyson’s best- known song, “Four Strong Winds.” Covered by dozens of artists, including Neil Young (who still includes it in all his concerts) Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and others as varied as The Kingston Trio and The Tragically Hip, “Four Strong Winds” was also chosen by CBC Radio listeners as the greatest Canadian song of all time.

The Gift includes versions of Tyson’s finest songs, offering passionate performances, framed by the artistry of the man to whom tribute is being paid.

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