Stompin' Tom Connors And the Hockey Mom Tribute

For a man who has made some of the coolest music Canada has ever produced, you've got to wonder what is going on with Stompin' Tom. Obviously he's an icon, but mostly for people who either lived through his heyday or caught the spark second hand through sources like Have Not Been the Same or Dave Bidini's On A Cold Road. So there Tom is, sitting on the cusp of being an icon for the younger generation — maybe not a Johnny Cash, but a pillar of cool nonetheless, and he keeps putting out albums that are targeted at his greying mom and pop audience. And the Hockey Mom Tribute is really just too polite — the songs aren't the kind you used to dig out of your dad's fake oak wall unit stereo for high school parties because they were obscure nuggets of ass-kicking Canadiana (remember "Tillsonburg”?). Instead they are boring, polished middle-of-the-road ditties. Tom sounds like he's smiling when he's singing "Maggie,” "The Whale and the Rex-N-Dale,” and the title track for chrissakes — who is this, Fred Penner? Where's the spit, blood and curled top lip that produced scrappers like "Big Joe Mufferaw,” "The Singer,” "Believe in Your Country” and "Sudbury Saturday Night”? Come on Tom, get rid of the schlocky trumpet and complaisant backing band, and fire up a rockin’ set of shit-kickers for the new millennium. Washboard Hank is still right — we need you now more than ever. (EMI)