Photo credit Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson, who died December 29 at age eighty-nine, left a rich musical legacy that included the enduring songs “Four Strong Winds” and “Someday Soon” and more than thirty recordings as a solo artist, a member of the folk duo Ian & Sylvia, and co-leader of the country-rock group Great Speckled Bird. He became an influential figure to generations, especially in Canada. Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young are among scores of musical artists to cite Tyson as an inspiration.
Born in Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, Tyson became enamored with cowboys, horses, and ranching in western Canada. He learned to play guitar while recovering from a rodeo injury. After moving to Toronto in 1958 to work as a commercial artist, he met singer Sylvia Fricker and formed the duo Ian & Sylvia. The duo relocated to New York in 1961 and, the following year, signed with Vanguard Records.
“Four Strong Winds,” the title of the duo’s second album, became a country hit for Bobby Bare and appeared on albums by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Tony Rice, and Neil Young. “Some Day Soon,” released by Ian & Sylvia in 1964, became better known as “Someday Soon” after a popular recording by Judy Collins in 1968. Moe Bandy and Suzy Bogguss also scored country hits with “Someday Soon.”
In 1968, Ian & Sylvia recorded two albums in Nashville and, the next year, formed the band Great Speckled Bird. The duo ended with Tyson’s and Fricker’s divorce in 1975. Afterwards, Tyson bought a ranch in Alberta, where he raised horses and began recording cowboy-influenced albums, starting with Old Corrals and Sagebrush in 1983.
Tyson and Fricker were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1992, and Tyson entered the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. Source: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum