LEGEND - Singer Ian Tyson performs at the Memorial Centre on May 3rd.

Ian Tyson brings latest tunes to the Memorial Centre

Singer Ian Tyson will be performing his latest tunes plus songs from his extensive collection at the Memorial Centre on May 3rd.

Central Alberta artist Jake Peters will be opening the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and is being presented by the Central Music Festival Society.

Carnero Vaquero, released last year, is Tyson’s 13th project for Stony Plain and has been described as a stunning collection of new songs.

Tyson, 81, is still going strong not only with his music and touring but also with running his ranch south of Calgary.

As to the latest disc, ‘Carnero’ is the Spanish word for ram, and ‘Vaquero’ is Spanish for cowboy, and, indeed, the cowboy tradition, particularly in the southwestern United States. Recorded in the Stone House, just down the road from his ranch house, there’s an intimacy and warmth that draws listeners in.

Carnero Vaquero is indeed a special Tyson record.

There are half a dozen new songs — as good and better as dozens crafted in the Stone House.

There are also two co-writes with a younger, alternative songwriter out of Calgary, Kris Demeanor, and another collaboration with Tom Russell (they co-wrote Navajo Rug – one of Tyson’s biggest hits).

The opening song, Doney Gal, is described as a traditional song that probably goes back to the earliest days of discovering the west, and he reprises Darcy Farrow from one of his earliest Ian & Sylvia records.

Tyson has been part of the musical landscape since the early 60s, when — with his then-wife Sylvia Tyson — he conquered the folk boom of the day.

Hits kept coming — Four Strong Winds, Someday Soon, Summer Wages and more.

“A move to Alberta, a hiatus from the music business, and a reluctant return that earned his first platinum record for Cowboyography led to a storied career as North America’s preeminent western singer,” reads a release. Other gems released over the years include Ian Tyson: Live at Longview in 2002; 2008’s Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories and Songs from the Gravel Road (2005).

In later years he hosted his own TV show, recorded a slate of remarkable discs, quit the music biz and became a rodeo rider and rancher.

But with his tunes covered by folks like Neil Young, Judy Collins, Suzy Bogguss, Gordon Lightfoot and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, he returned to music in the mid-1980s.

But it really all started back when he was 24.

Tyson left behind the logging and rodeo life of B.C. and hitchhiked to Toronto with bigger dreams. He was eventually swept up in the folk music revival and formed, along with Sylvia Fricker, the famed duo Ian and Sylvia.

They married in 1964 and their band, Great Speckled Bird, rivaled the Byrds and other groups which helped create modern country a decade before the ‘Urban Cowboy’ phase or contemporary ‘new traditionalists’.

By 1975, the marriage was over and Tyson opted to head west, settling in southern Alberta.

Now recovered from a torn and damaged voice that changed his vocal sound in 2008, he’s singing with the strength and range of his earlier years.

He has concerts booked well into next year, and he continues to supervise his working ranch.

As for Peters, he’s been touted as, “A brilliant and renowned guitarist, banjo wizard and mandolin virtuoso.”

The Didsbury-based artist, who got an early start delving into his love for music, is also known as an ‘amazing teacher, an inspiring mentor, a singer/songwriter, an incredible musician and a gifted Luthier.’

Music was indeed a key feature of the household during his growing up years, with his mom an accomplished fiddler/guitarist and banjo player in her own right.

And for Peters, his interest in music wasn’t just confined to a single instrument.

Pretty much anything with strings was compelling. He knew in his teens that music was going to be an integral part of what he did with his life. Projects include Journey, released in 2002 and 2007’s First Christmas.

His latest additions to his stringed instrument arsenal includes the oud, sas, dombra and barabat – all hailing from the Middle East.

As mentioned, his, “Ability as a musician is a delight to watch, hear and feel, especially the spontaneous interaction that evolves when he works with other musicians. Jake is known as a ‘musician’s musician’.

“This is due to his extensive knowledge of music theory and history as well as his ability to build the instruments he plays. A well-known name among professional musicians on both sides of the border, he has worked with such artists as Cindy Church, Dick Damron, Eli Barsi, Ben Crane, Pam Tillis, Lisa Brokop, Randy Travis, Randy Bachman and Dennis Agajanian.”

Meanwhile, a meeting with the world-renowned Pavlo at the Bearberry Community Centre has led Peters on the latest leg of his journey.

He has recently hand-crafted a one-of-a-kind prototype guitar on request for his friend Pavlo – ‘The Pavlo Signature Series’. This uniquely designed guitar is now available in North America.

For tickets, visit www.blackknightinn.ca.

-Weber