Stompin' Tom Connors' music is getting a reboot as Ole, one of North America's largest music publishing companies, has purchased exclusive distribution rights for the Canadian legend's music and masters, his YouTube presence and merchandise.
Tom Connors, born in 1936 in Saint John, N.B., was adopted by a family in Skinners Pond, P.E.I., at age eight and spent much of his childhood in the western P.E.I. community. He lived in Ontario in his later years and died in 2013 at age 77.
"Our goals are to bring the Stompin' Tom catalogue to a much wider audience," said Andy Curran, general manager of label services and artist recruiting and development with Ole.
Connors is known for such classics as The Hockey Song and Bud the Spud, Sudbury Saturday Night and Margo's Cargo.
Curran declined to share what the deal is worth, noting he'd been negotiating the deal with Taw Connors, Tom's son, since 2008 and the family is "happy with it."
"To get to the younger generation, it might take a little bit of a rebranding," he said. "At Ole, we certainly feel he was much more a Canadian troubadour. Any misconception that he's just a country artist, we're trying to shed that."
The company plans to market Stompin' Tom's "rebel" attitude, pointing out acts such as giving back his Juno awards. Connors also hitch-hiked across Canada, and rode the rail cars when he was just 13 years old, said Curran.
"There's quite a story about his rebellious nature, and I think with rock 'n' roll and music that always strikes a chord with the younger generation," said Curran. "We're going to start exposing the more rebellious side of him to resonate with the younger audience, that's one of my goals."
The company also plans to "preach to the converted" through the sports connection, as Connors talks about hockey in particular in many of his hundreds of songs.
Stompin' Tom on Twitter?
The company also hopes to launch official Stompin' Tom Twitter and Facebook accounts, he said.
Connors had approximately 100 unreleased songs that the public has never heard, Curran revealed.
"We'll be looking to release a few of those, with some of our back catalogue releases," he said.
Ole hopes to make a big splash on July 1 for Canada's 150th anniversary, along with the opening of the new $1.2 million Stompin' Tom Centre in Skinners Pond.
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