Here is a man who looks and sounds a little like Popeye playing plain white country music. He's never had a great band or decent arrangements, but delivers song after song about working-class Canada with the same kind of verve and sincerity of Wilf Carter. Here's a song about getting smashed after working in a nickel mine:
Here's another about a daring man who delivers potatoes from one place to another AND SPEEDS:
I can't see too many reasons for those outside Canada to care about the man's contribution to song, but within the country he was a baffling anomaly: someone who gave enough of a shit about where he lived to write about it. Growing up I mostly heard fantasies about bigger things on the radio, the songs were of American cities and girls whether the bands were Canadian or not. It still sounds weird that he'd write about Big Joe Mufferaw - Paul Bunyan was a ripoff you Yankee bastards! - or a classy tomato from fucking LEAMINGTON. Go on, search the lyrics databases for Leamington. I dare you. And see if you can replicate the sick-making steel-guitar solo that ends that song like a mistimed punchline.
Tom's something of a cranky prick, constantly pissed off at the government for not supporting Canadian artists and at Canadian artists for following the money south. But he's Stompin' Tom, and he fucking stomps the shit out of the floor - a feature in the recordings - while he's singing about hockey and snowmobiles and tobacco picking and uranium mining.