Who is Taw Connors, and why is he impersonating Canadian country music legend Stompin’ Tom Connors?
The answer, of course, is that he’s the son of Tom Connors, and this tribute tour of his didn’t come out of nowhere.
“I’ve been scratching away on the guitar ever since I was a little fella,” said Connors last week in a telephone interview with The Leader. “But I wanted to raise my kids first, so I didn’t start performing (until recently).”
Connors is 53 and a resident of a tiny hamlet in northern Ontario. Born in Timmins, he’s the child of Stompin’ Tom and Florence Lachapelle, who separated when he was quite young. He grew up apart from his dad, but was certainly aware of the ‘legend’ of Stompin’ Tom.
Taw says he’s had a hankering for some time to get out and play his dad’s songs – having some idea of their importance to Canadians. But the last thing he wanted to do was go out on the road (like his dad did), with a family at home to take care of. So he played locally – here and there – and a few years ago one of those performances led him to make a decision.
“I played at a long-term care facility in Geraldton,” he says. “The guy had Alzheimers – couldn’t even recognize his wife and daughter. He’d seen my father back in the day. He thought I was my father!”
Seeing how those old Stompin’ Tom songs brightened the fellow’s day, Taw took it as a sign maybe he should do more of it. His family thought so too.
“My wife and kids said, ‘You’ve got to do that!’”
So he is doing it – going on three years – and the show comes to Slave Lake on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Legacy Centre.
What people can expect to see, he says, is a set of 37 to 40 songs – 34 of them Stompin’ Tom numbers and the rest Taw Connors originals. He says his presentation is faithful to the style of his father – and he’s been told many times how much he sounds like Stompin’ Tom.
“I’m really proud of what my father has done,” he says. “It’s pretty cool – how he reached so many people across the country. It’s a great privilege.”
Connors says he’ll be sticking around for ‘meet and greet’ after the show, “until there’s nobody there.”
Taw Connors, son of Stompin’ Tom