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Whiskey Jack is bringing Stompin’ Tom Connors to Orangeville Theatre

September 7, 2023   ·   0 Comments

Written By Constance Scrafield

Duncan Fremlin said this first-off about Stompin’ Tom Connors, “He was a very principled man, which cost him [potentially] millions of dollars for withdrawing from the [music] industry because American acts were getting awards and gigs over Canadian artists. He quit for 13 years.”

This protest changed attitudes and made an impression on the industry. Mr. Fremlin gives the deeply Canadian star some credit for the legislation compelling radio stations in Canada to ensure that at least 50% of their popular music content is Canadian.

In 1990, Stompin’ Tom and Whiskey Jack began a 75-city tour across Canada. They played Flin Flon, all the smaller places and Regina and all the bigger places.

“We went right to the Rock,” Mr. Fremlin related. “That’s really where I learned to appreciate the genius of the man. We were coming into towns that had been disseminated by free trade. That was his first tour and we went again in 1993. I was his banjo player, song arranger and singer. I only did two tours. My fiddle player did 13 years with him.”

Stompin’ Tom died in 2013, and Duncan Fremlin commented on the show they are bringing. “We’re not Tom. We [don’t] get on in costumes. We paint a picture in the show of what playing with Tom was really like – he was an itinerate walking across the country. He had a passion for that.”

Whiskey Jack’s show shares his humour and offers a personalized presentation of him. Duncan Fremlin and his fiddler, Billy MacInnis, have spent more time on stage and with Tom than anyone else. This is “an incredibly respectful salute. There’s way more to the picture than just country,” said Mr. Fremlin.

This brand new show includes Tom’s 1993 song and video, Blue Beret at a time when Canadians were “trotting the world as peace keepers. It’s included to try and increase the Legion membership somewhat.” 

Mr. Fremlin wrote a book in 2018, My Good Life with Stompin’ Tom. Lots of books have been sold about this eccentric character that people don’t know what he was all about.

Asked what makes this concert special, he replied, “There is an appeal whatever because his legacy still holds a lot of magic, a positive drive. Everybody comes from a different angle; they see genius in these lyrics. Where does he fit in the mosaic in Canadian music and culture? He approached [his songs] from the Canadian respective – he did not go to the States. When was the last time you saw anybody take a stand on principle? I can’t even tell you how committed the fans are who come and thank us.”

Whiskey Jack offers any Legion member who attends the show and shows his up-to-date membership card a free CD or book.

For Mr. Fremlin: “I started talking to David [Nairn] seven years ago about bringing this show to Orangeville. That’s the theatre gold standard. Very few theatres have David Nairn, his vision, the drive and the tremendous support of the community.” 

Whiskey Jack Presents Stories and Songs of Stompin’ Tom is on at Theatre Orangeville from Sept. 15 to 17. For details and to purchase tickets, go to or call the charming folk at the Box Office at 519-942-3423.



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