This collection of 19 songs taken from 1999 to 2012 is a very potent reminder why Ian Tyson is considered one of the most important songwriters of his generation. The quality of the cowboy narratives, and the evolution of his songwriting powers is simply a force of nature.
It cannot be explained any other way.
Songs like This Is My Sky, Lost Herd, Little High Plains Town, The Road To Los Cruces and the pureness of the track Song In A Dream have no equal except for possibly Bob Dylan.
Tyson would be the first to acknowledge that the musicianship of the players he chooses is important. That may be true, but like his peers Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen it’s the songs that are key.
Now nearing 80 years of age and in almost full recovery of a damaged voice and still touring and writing Ian Tyson’s influence on folk/country music cannot even be calculated.
If indeed everything is fast forward and the years go flying by Ian Tyson continues to redefine his role as the ultimate cowboy.
This album/cd is available May 21 in Canada and in the United States June 18th 2013.
John Emms is a veteran music journalist, online radio host, singer-songwriter and bandleader with Canada’s blues rockers The Shaftmen www.theshaftmen.com