Nelson Star, March 2013


by Bob Hall

The Kootenays played a role in last week’s celebration of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ life thanks to Nelson-raised Tim Hus.

Hus performed at Connors’ memorial service in Peterborough, Ontario last Wednesday and was one of the pallbearers at the Canadian music legend’s private funeral.

“It has been a tough week, but I was very honoured to be a pallbearer at Stompin' Tom's funeral in Peterborough and to sing and front the band at the public memorial at the local hockey arena: The Memorial Center,” Hus wrote on his website.

“The private funeral took place on Tuesday and I'm not sure if I have ever been to a funeral that was licensed. I had the privilege of drinking Moosehead beer with former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson at the service — that's something that could only happen at the Stomper's funeral.

“There were many touching moments both at the private service on Tuesday and also at the public memorial on Wednesday. Ken Dryden, Mike Plume, Sylvia Tyson, J.P. Cormier, Dave Gunning, and many more family, friends, and fans, were all present and we did our best to give our favorite boot stompin' troubadour the best send off possible.”

Hus was born and raised in Nelson. He has been making “Canadian cowboy music” records since 2002 with song titles such as “Slocan Slim and the Kootenay Kid,” “Sasquatch Hunter” and “Hockeytown.”

Hus told the Star earlier this week that his father Helmut was a big influence on him and turned him onto country folk storytelling music like Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash and Stompin’ Tom.

Though Nelson has a vibrant music scene, country is not the first genre one thinks of for this part of the country.

“I guess maybe the Kootenays is not a country hotbed per se, but the thing about the Kootenays is that you can pretty much do or be whatever you want in the Kootenays and people are pretty cool with that,” Hus told the Star.

Now based in Calgary, Hus toured across the country for two years with Stompin’ Tom between 2009-2010.

“That was a pretty big thrill for me, he was my number-one guy,” said Hus. “At that time if you asked me if I could open for anybody… Johnny Cash or U2 or anybody, it would have been Stompin’ Tom.”

It was while they were on that tour that Stompin’ Tom passed the mantle to his young country colleague.

"I've been looking for 30 years for a young guy who's proud to write songs about our country,” Connors said. “I'd like to pass the torch to Tim Hus.”

If that statement wasn’t daunting at the time, it became a lot more last week.

“Now that he has passed, it does make it a lot more poignant for me,” said Hus.

Though Hus takes the responsibility seriously and said he will continue to work hard making music and touring, Stompin’ Tom was one-of-a-kind.

“He really did things his own way,” said Hus. “He was the ultimate indie artist, he was the indie artist even before the term existed. Playing little hotels in Northern Ontario and writing about the local loggers and miners, making records and selling them out of his trunk. There will only be one Stompin’ Tom. He gave young musicians that there is an alternative and you can do it in Canada where you can make a living singing about these small Canadian towns.”

Hus graduated from Nelson’s L.V. Rogers in 1996. His father Helmut and sister Kristina still live in the area.

Stompin’ Tom Connors died on March 6 of renal failure at the age of 77.