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Canadian folk legend plays Cranbrook

Ian Tamblyn performs at Studio Stage Door Theatre April 11
Ian Tamblyn will play the Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook

Ferdy Belland

"P eople tell me I should happy with my accomplishments, but I would admit I'm somewhat perverse about it all," says Canadian folk-music legend Ian Tamblyn.

"The completion of a creation — like a song, an album, or a play — is to me an act of negation. The doing it puts you beyond it. I tend to be driven by the  promise of the 'next thing,' and I am indeed always looking forward to the new challenges ahead."

Adding to his list of 'next things,' Ian Tamblyn performs live at the Studio Stage Door Theatre in Cranbrook BC the evening of Saturday, April 11.

"I've always enjoyed getting out there into the country," says Tamblyn of his ongoing love of touring. "I've done it for 45 years, and I will never grow tired of seeing new and old places and playing for new audiences. The travels are always revealing, and meeting people across Canada is like a barometer of each region.

"I've always enjoyed coming west in Spring, especially Vancouver island: it shaves a month off of winter! Then I return to Maple Syrup season in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec. If there's a down at all, it's only my poor organizing skills at times — and if there is a down at times, it can make for a rueful story for the folks back home."

Born in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) ON in 1947, Tamblyn graduated from Trent University in 1971 and has been a fulltime musician since settling into his adopted home of Chelsea, Quebec. Tamblyn won the 1976 Juno Award for Best Folk Album for his self-titled debut record, and has released an additional 35 (!) albums since. Renowned as a playwright as much as a songwriter, Tamblyn has written 13 plays and over 100 theatre soundtracks. His third love of adventuring / guiding saw him made a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. Tamblyn's ongoing contributions to Canadian folk music have won him the Estelle Klein and Helen Verger Awards, as well as an honorary doctorate from Lakehead University, and he was voted English Songwriter of the Year at the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards. And his accolades do not end there.

"I've been artist in residence this year at Carleton University," says Tamblyn. "I've been teaching songwriting to students, and immersed in younger songwriters all year. It's been a thrill and very energizing — it has certainly revitalized me."

Revitalized indeed: with Carleton's school year finished, Tamblyn is also currently working on a musical revue that will be presented in Wakefield QC later this summer. He is also musical director of the play "Up to Low," which goes into rehearsal following this current tour. Later in summer Tamblyn will be guiding (and performing) on a Voyageur canoe trip on Lake Superior, before he returns to teaching at Carleton in the fall.

Tamblyn's latest album "Walking in the Footsteps" is a concept album of sorts, dealing with the Group of Seven; 15 songs about painters and paintings described by Penguin Eggs magazine (Canada's premier folk-music publication) as: "...damn good; put it on and let it wash over you." Hard to argue with that.

"My only advice to would-be professional singer-songwriters would be to establish a good foundation for your songwriting skills; later on there'll be many forces in the music world that can disrupt the very thing that brought you to it. When the business of music starts to take precedence, it's hard to find the time to write. Take yourself seriously...and don't take your health for granted."

Canadian folk legend Ian Tamblyn performs at the Studio Stage Door Theatre (11-11th Avenue South, Cranbrook B.C.) Saturday April 11th, showtime 7:30 pm; those seeking tickets are asked to contact Mike Robinson of Lotic Environmental at 250-421-7802.