You are here: Home Music Beat “The Gift” to present the highlights of Ian Tyson’s career at Southminster United Church
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

L.A. Beat

“The Gift” to present the highlights of Ian Tyson’s career at Southminster United Church

E-mail Print PDF

Long time Ian Tyson keyboardist  Stew MacDougall has  a “Gift” for Ian Tyson fans.


MacDougall and some of Tyson’s other former band members  (guitarist Gord Matthews, drummer Thom Moon, fiddle player Myron Szott and bassist Julian Kerr) plus special guests John Wort Hannam and guitar god Amos Garrett, who was a member of Ian Tyson’s pioneering ’70s country rock band Great Speckled Bird, bring Ian Tyson tribute “The Gift” to Southminster United Church, Friday,  Sept. 23. The show also features guest vocalists Tracy Millar, John Wort Hannam and Ian Oscar.


Stewart MacDougall is looking forward to “The Gift,” at Southmoinster United Church, Sept. 23. Photo Submitted

Country music fans know Ian Tyson’s work, from an illustrious career spanning 50 years ranging from early solo hits, duets as Ian and Sylvia which lead to his landmark work with early country rock band Great Speckled Bird and the more cowboy themed music that marked  the end of his career. 


He also hosted a popular country music television show from 1970 to 1975, which began as “Nashville North” with the popular  theme “Long, Long Time To Get Old” which featured several incarnations of Great Speckled Bird.

 Tyson first came to the ears of country music fans in 1962 with his first big hit “ Four Strong Winds.”


 MacDougall was part of Ian Tyson’s band around 2008, which resulted in collaborating with Tyson on the title track of the 2008 album “Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories.”


“It is 50 years of his songs. The show has 26 songs spanning 50 years of his career,” said MacDougall, noting all of the major hits are accounted for including ‘Four Strong Winds,” “Someday Soon” and “Summer Wages.”

“His ‘Cowboyography’ album is really well represented,” continued MacDougall, espousing an encyclopaedic memory of Tyson’s storied career.


“So there’s lots to draw from,” MacDougall said, adding each guest gets to be the featured player on three songs.


“ Ian has blessed it. He can’t sing anymore,”   said MacDougall, noting Tyson was having some voice issues, but recovered from them to enough to return to the stage  for a while, but has retired from the business..


“The big three hits from Cowboyography, ‘Navajo Rug,’  ‘The Gift’ and ‘Fifty Years Ago’  are represented,” he said, adding Tyson recorded ‘Summer Wages’ several times.


“So we couldn’t do a show without ‘Summer Wages,” he said.

 “ Five of us are Ian Tyson’s former sidemen, so we all played a part and contributed to his music,” he said, adding Tyson was considering quitting the music business in the early ’80s. Tyson used the royalties  from Neil Young’s recording of “Four Strong Winds” to buy the first part of his ranch southwest of Calgary. There was a resurgence of interest in his music in the cowboy poetry community when he was asked to perform at the Elko cowboy poetry festival in 1984, which lead to a record deal.


 Stony Plain Records signed him in 1986 because they liked his cowboy songs.


“He was going to quit and raise cutting horses. And he’s good at it. My favourite horse is one of Ian’s,” he said.

 MacDougall enjoyed working with Tyson.

“I was with him for 18 months, but we’ve kept in touch. It was a great time. It was very educational. Lyrics always came first and the music would follow. He said he could always find the music,” MacDougall reminisced.


Through his work with Tyson and producer Adrian Chornowol, who produced ‘Cowboyography,’ country star Randy Travis recorded one of MacDougall’s songs “ The Wind in the Wire.”

“ Randy was looking for cowboy songs and wanted to record  some of Ian Tyson’s songs.

 I’d already recorded  “Wind in the Wire ’ with David Wilke and Randy’s people heard it and passed it on to him,” MacDougall said.


“Though I actually like my version of Wind and the Wire that a recorded with David Wilke, better,” he chuckled.


This short Alberta tour of the Gift begins Sept. 22 in Brooks and ends in Red Deer, Oct. 16.

 Tickets are available for $4o in advance through Eventbrite or $45 at the door.

 The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 September 2022 17:21 )  
The ONLY Gig Guide that matters


Music Beat

Lights. Camera. Action.
Inside L.A. Inside

CD Reviews


Music Beat News

Art Beat News

Drama Beat News

Museum Beat News