Ian Tyson
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Ian Tyson


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"Ian Tyson - Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories"

From the Red Deer Advocate

Ian Tyson

Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Songs

Stony Plain

Much has been written about the vocal change Ian Tyson has undergone over the recent past.

Reading about such an alteration doesn’t really prepare one for hearing the deeper, weathered voice that comes through the speakers from Tyson’s latest release. The voice that was once so immediately identifiable is gone, ravaged by a destructive virus.

Tyson’s new voice may not be embraced straight away by casual fans, but those of us who have stuck with Ol’ Eon through the highs and lows — including the personally disappointing Songs from the Gravel Road — will find much to enjoy on this 10-track collection. And indeed part of what makes this album of such interest is Tyson’s new sound.

It may appear unfair or even asinine, but at times in the past it has seemed almost too easy for Tyson to be Ian Tyson.

The changes and challenges he’s faced over the past few years have made him more accessible to listeners, perhaps more personable, and have brought a new dimension to his music.

This is likely Tyson’s finest collection of songs in a decade, possibly longer. As the title indicates, relationships are at its core, and the separation of partners is a prominent theme.

The title cut traces the life of a pair of alpha wolves relocated from Alberta to Wyoming. It is an instant Tyson classic, and joins the legion of songs he has written that will stand the test of time.

Abandonment is metaphorically explored within Lioness; as in Yellowhead to Yellowstone, the male survives the relationship, but this time his strength fails him. My Cherry Colored Rose, a song not written by Tyson, explores Don Cherry’s loss in a way that reminds us that Canada’s favourite buffoon is more than the caricature we see on our television screens.

Elsewhere, relationships go fallow (The Fiddler Must Be Paid) and flourish (Go This Far) and folks that are the type Tyson appreciates are recognized (Ross Knox and Bill Kane). One song is apparently about Tyson’s daughter and Estrangement doesn’t paint a pleasant picture.

Unlike Tyson’s previous foray into jazz territory, this time out the instrumentation is solidly within the western and country structure in which he has been most successful.

Much of the credit for the success of this album goes to producer Harry Stinson; the former Dead Reckoner has framed Tyson’s lyrics and voice with supportive sounds that complement the images created.

No one knows how many more albums Tyson has in him. Recent interviews give the impression he would be comfortable fading into the sunset someday soon. With sensitivity and depth, Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Songs provides ample evidence that Ian Tyson still has a great deal to offer.

-Donald Teplyske - Red Deer Advocate

"Ian Tyson - Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories"


Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories

Stony Plain/Warner

For more than 40 years, from the first Ian and Sylvia LP in 1962, through 2005’s Live at Longview, Ian Tyson consistently sang with one of the finest male voices in folk and country music. But now, at 75, vocal cord scarring and a bad virus have given the old cowboy what he calls his “new voice.” It’s hoarse and gritty, even whispery à la Dylan or Waits. But Tyson pulls it off. He remains one of the greatest songwriters ever and he still knows how to communicate the essence of a song. Much of this set is devoted to sad songs of lost love and of the quickly disappearing west of the modern-day cowboys Tyson has so brilliantly sung about over the years. ***1/2

Podworthy: Blaino’s Song

--MIKE REGENSTREIF - Montreal Gazette - November 15th, 2008


1973 Ol' Eon
1978 One Jump Ahead of the Devil
1983 Old Corrals & Sagebrush & Other Cowboy Culture Classics
1984 Ian Tyson
1987 Cowboyography
1989 I Outgrew the Wagon
1991 And Stood There Amazed
1994 Eighteen Inches of Rain
1996 All the Good 'uns
1999 Lost Herd
2002 Live at Longview
2005 Songs from the Gravel Road
2008 Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories



Ian Tyson

Tyson has long been one of Canada’s most respected singer-songwriters. A pioneer who began his career in the early days of the first folk boom in the ’60s, he was one of the first Canadians to break into the American popular music market. In the years that followed he hosted his own TV show, recorded some of the best “folk” albums ever made, quit the music business and became — after years of backbreaking work — a rodeo rider and a successful rancher.

And then, in the mid-’80s, he returned to music with a vengeance, combining his two separate lives in songs that explained the reality of “western culture” and the mindset of a cowboy in a sometimes-alien world.

Tyson’s list of honours — from the Order of Canada to platinum records, Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Awards — is too lengthy to repeat. He tours constantly across Canada, and through the western states in the US.

A tough time for an iconic Canadian singer yields an important new album of touching, heartfelt songs, with a “new voice.” The last two years have been a time of dramatic change in the life of the iconic Canadian songwriter, Ian Tyson. Going through a difficult divorce and another
broken love affair, he faced his 75th birthday in September 2008 with a mixture of satisfaction
and regret. Now, thanks to a stubborn virus, Tyson has what he calls “a new voice”— grainier, grittier, and more immediately intimate than his former one, familiar to Canadians for more than four decades.

Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories is his first album of new songs since 2005’s “Songs From the Gravel Road,” and it is his 14th record for Stony Plain. The record was produced by Harry Stinson (Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Marty Stuart and Corb Lund) and it reflects two difficult years as Canada’s most iconic songwriter faces the prospect of his senior years. “Growing old is not for wimps,” he says—and his legion of fans will understand and fight the future with him. However, Ian Tyson is not letting the years slow him down; he will continue to tour, both in Canada and the U.S., to promote the new album.

Collectively, Tyson’s solo releases have sold over 500,000 units in Canada.