Ian Tyson: Yellowhead to Yellowstone
Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories
The landscape of western north American speaks with a voice of mountain, high deserts, plains and arroyo, river, waterfalls, and dry gulches, towering pine and persistent scrub, blue sky and snow sky, horse, and wolf, and eagle, wide open spaces and walled in canyons, and always, ever changing light. Ian Tyson is a writer and singer who has always understood that landscape and its inhabitants, and translated that understanding into song and story. So he does on his latest release, Yellowhead to Yellowstone.
He opens with the title track, a story framed in the journey of a wolf from Alberta to Montana, and the ideas of finding a new life while remembering the old, going forward with loss and accepting changes, deciding what to pass on and what to leave behind. It’s a unique and powerful song, and perhaps the heartbeat of the album. Ross Knox is a story song of western history, also about people living with change and distance, and so, you might say, is the more personal song Lioness. Loss and change, and connection, and trust, regret and forgiveness and plenty of room to think about all that, are hallmarks of Tyson’s thinking here through ten songs.
Those hallmarks have been present through his five decade career, a time which has songs including Four Strong Winds, Summer Wages, Eighteen Inches of Rain, Someday Soon, and Navajo Rug as just a few of its mileposts. Tyson’s voice is different here, weathered a bit by surviving struggles with virus and and strain. It suits the songs, though, and it’s still Ian Tyson, no mistake about that. He will turn seventy six in September, and mark more than five decades of work as a musician. It will be a well deserved celebration. Yellowhead to Yellowstone adds to the reasons.
-->our congratulations to Ian, who has been nominated for solo artist of the year at the Canadian Folk Awards, which will be given out in Gatineau, Quebec, on 21 November
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