As time goes by you will soon see this page grow with current news on Tommy Hunter and or any new updates to the official site. We will also keep all the past updates archived below the current ones so that you will not miss out on any past news updates.
JULY - 2018 Update
TOMMY HUNTER HONOURED BY THE BARN DANCE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Saturday May 26, 2018 was a very special night for Tommy Hunter as he was honoured by the "Barn Dance Historical Society" receiving their prestigious "Barn Dance Pioneer Award". The presentation took place in Blyth Ontario at the main performance of the group's annual Campout Weekend at the Blyth & District Community Centre.
In 1937 one of the announcers on CKNX Radio in Wingham Ontario ran a program of country music called "The CKNX Barn Dance". The show was so successful that the station decided to continue it on a regular basis, but using live music from various remote locations. Utilizing long distance telephone lines to carry the signal back to the radio station, the now "live" show was broadcast from various locations throughout Southwestern Ontario in front of an audience. By 1950 the show was well known as "Canada's Largest Travelling Barn Dance", and would remain on the air for over 25 years. Among others the show included regular appearances by such entertainers as Al Cherney, Maurice Bolyer, The Mercey Brothers, and an up and coming artist by the name of Tommy Hunter.
The "Barn Dance Historical Society & Entertainment Museum" was formed some years later with the mission of "preserving the memory of the builders, musicians, and entertainers who were featured on the CKNX Barn Dance". As part of it's mission to preserve the music and the memories the group runs a number of live shows each year featuring country entertainers both old and new.
"We are very proud tonight finally to present our Barn Dance Pioneer Award to Canada's Country Gentleman - the one and only Tommy Hunter" said Jim Swan, well known radio announcer and emcee for the evening. President Ruth Baxter presented the award as well as a lifetime membertship to the Barn Dance Society. Other past recipients of the Pioneer Award include Gordon Lightfoot and Shania Twain.
Upon receiving the award Tommy said it was a tremendous honour for him to be in Blyth that night, and that he greatly appreciated the hundreds in attendance for their years of love and support.
His first order of business on the stage, however, was to sing "Happy Birthday" to emcee and long time CKNX voice Jim Swan who happened to be celebrating his 75th birthday that night. Hunter was emotional after the song, saying it was the first time he sang on stage since his final concert which was held at Budweiser Gardens in London in 2012 on his 75th birthday. He then signed off his appearance that night with the same words he had used on television and at his live concerts for decades... "Be the good Lord willing, we'll be talking to you again real soon".
The audience members, who had stood from the moment Hunter stepped on the stage, remained standing as Tommy walked off the stage to the music of the Barn Dance Historical Society band playing the theme song that opened and closed both his TV show and live stage shows for decades, "Travelin' Man". There wasn't a dry eye in the house!
JUNE - 2018 Update
TOMMY HUNTER IS A 'FAN' TOO!
Country music legend Tommy Hunter unveils his stamp!
Over the years Tommy Hunter has often told the iconic story of the day when he went to his first concert as a young boy in London Ontario. His dad took him to see "Roy Acuff his Smokey Mountain Boys" live at the London arena. At the time Acuff was one of the biggest stars on the famous "Grand Ole Opry", and until that day Tommy had only been able to hear the group when the show was tuned in on the family radio on Saturday night. He would huddle down close to the radio and try to hear every note as the show came through the often static-filled signal and imagine what it would be like to actually be sitting in Nashville's Ryman auditorium where the show was being broadcast live. From that day forward Tommy was hooked, and knew he wanted to be a performer.
As the saying goes, "a lot of water has passed under the bridge" since that day. Tommy did in fact become a performer. He would spend years performing live on radio, appear as a cast member for nine years on the ground breaking Television show, "Country Hoedown" complete thirty six consecutive years with "The Tommy Hunter Show" on CBC, and perform live in concert all over the world for 65 years.
When Tommy chose to hang up his guitar for the last time on his 75th birthday the music may have stopped, but his love for honest-to-goodness true Country and Bluegrass music did not. Now in this day and age of the internet Tommy enjoys spending some of his leisure time searching "Youtube" and other popular sites for the music that he loves... and he would be the first to admit that one of his all-time favourite artists is the lady known worldwide as "The Queen of Bluegrass"... Miss Rhonda Vincent.
Rhonda Vincent and her group "The Rage" appeared on Tommy's 2003 Television Reunion Special, and they became both friends and great fans of each other. Imagine his surprise on the day of his 80th birthday at a private party staged by friends and family, when the door opened and in walked Rhonda and her entire group. Having played in Washington the night before they had detoured her bus and traveled all night to attend his party. For the next two hours they played nothing but Tommy's requests. Following a time of "food and fellowship", they climbed back on the bus and headed home... once again riding all night to Nashville where Rhonda had commitments the very next day. Friendship doesn't get much better than that!
When it was announced that "Rhonda Vincent and The Rage" would perform at the 2018 Tottenham Bluegrass Festival Tommy knew where he wanted to be. So, on a brutally hot Saturday in June Tommy headed his car towards Tottenham and was overwhelmed by the welcome he received. Seemingly "word had leaked" that he would be attending and event organizers rolled out the welcome mat.
Perhaps the biggest welcome of all was received from "The Queen of Bluegrass" herself, insisting that Tommy stay on her bus out of heat until show time, giving him the rare opportunity to share stories, laughs and memories with Rhonda and her band.
If you know much about Ms. Vincent you know that she is also "The Queen of Facebook Live", devoting much time each week to keeping in touch with fans through this modern method of instant communication. Here we share with you Rhonda's "video visit" with Tommy that afternoon.
So, as they used to say on Television..... "Ladies and Gentlemen, once again.... here's Tommy!" Enjoy!
MARCH - 2017 Update
OCT - 2014 Update
Country music legend Tommy Hunter unveils his stamp!
Canada’s Country Gentleman, Tommy Hunter, was one of five Canadian country music artists to be commemorated on a stamp series issued in the summer of 2014.
The official unveiling of the Tommy Hunter stamp took place Thursday July 31st at the Canada Post Outlet in the London Business Centre in London Ontario, which is well known as his home town. Mr. Hunter was joined by Canada Post representatives to do the unveiling of his stamp in a special ceremony. The event was also attended by close friends, fans and family members including his son and two of his grandchildren.
In his remarks Mr. Hunter said: “This is indeed a great honour for me to be recognized in this manner. I can’t begin to tell you what a big thrill this is”.
He then went on to share an amusing story with those in attendance at the ceremony about back in 1959 when his radio show was chosen to replace another radio show that had been on the air for 29 years entitled “The Happy Gang”, and his own mother wrote to the network complaining that her favorite show had been taken off the air.
“So if my mother were still alive to say, I would have to reassure her that me being on this stamp is only temporary, and that Her Majesty will soon be back on there” he quipped.
The new stamp series recognizes Canada’s contribution to the evolution of country music and features Mr. Hunter along with kd lang, Renée Martel, Hank Snow and Shania Twain – 5 of the most unique voices in Canada’s country music history.
CANADA’S COUNT GENTLEMARYN - TOURS CANADA - ONE LAST TIME
November 2, 2010 (Peterborough, ON) - Canada's 'Travelin' man, will soon embark on his last cross Canada tour – resting his guitar against a stool for the last time by the close of 2012 and his 75th year.
The tour will take place in two parts – the first leg, set for the spring of 2011 will cover British Columbia to Ontario, beginning in the nation's capitol and ending in Edmonton, the one city Hunter has visited the most in his career. The second leg, planned for early 2012, begins in Newfoundland and closes in Ontario. Still enjoying good health, this last tour will be a celebration of a legendary Canadian icon and the last opportunity to share the music and the memories!
Tommy Hunter, affectionately known to his legion of fans as Canada's country gentleman came into our living room for 36 years – first on Country Hoedown and later on The Tommy Hunter Show. His endearing stage presence and familiar voice brings back a simpler time and place – when the family gathered around the television on Friday night to watch the Tommy Hunter show – a ritual that was well established and time honoured regardless of what pocket of the country you lived in. Almost as popular as the music, was the reading at the close of the show - reflective and comforting – and for many a moment not to be missed.
The final cross Canada tour will for one last time, give fans an opportunity to enjoy in concert, songs such as "You Are My Sunshine", "I'll Fly Away", "Amazing Grace" "Man of 87" "King of The Road", "Daisy A Day" and of course his signature song, "Travelin' Man".
The stories, the music, the final bow from a man who has entertained us through 6 decades – a tour not to be missed – and one to be remembered.
You can set the scene anywhere you like in Canada. It could be in a small town in the Rocky Mountains, a town or city of any size in Ontario, a small farming community on the Prairies, or a small fishing village in the Maritimes, but the story is always the same. Each week families gathered together in their living rooms to welcome home a man who had become a trusted family friend. He came no matter what the weather, or what the time of year. He brought music, laughter, new faces and legends, but most of all familiarity and a warm infectious smile. He was “Canada’s Country Gentleman”, Tommy Hunter.
When it was announced in 1992 that his show would no longer be a part of CBC’s annual lineup, fans literally wept.
Now over 14 years later Tommy Hunter continues the tradition by bringing his live stage show to the people who made his TV show a success for over twenty seven consecutive years. Many have described it as a warm trip down memory lane as Tommy and his band “The Travelin’ Men” sing the familiar songs, tell the stories, play the tributes, and in general re-live the memories of the longest running family variety show in television history.
Tommy Hunter a man who “rules the stage” with a presence that comes only after decades of performing, with a voice that would be the envy of many of today’s top singers.
Tommy Hunter Live In Concert it’ll make you feel “right at home again”.
Feb. 21th - 2006 Update
BACKSTAGE WITH 'THE GENTLEMAN' Belleville Intelligencer
Saturday, January 28, 2006 By Luke Hendry - The Intelligencer
It has been a brutal 24 hours for Tommy Hunter. After performing in Quebec, he has come through a tortuous bus ride through a snowstorm and slept only a few hours. But amazingly, as he steps into the green room at the Empire Theatre, there is no trace of fatigue. Hunter is upbeat, personable, and ready to go. There are just 15 minutes to showtime.
The Canadian music legend ducks into a dressing room, fiddling with the earphones that tell performers how they're sounding to the crowd. After a few adjustments, he slips on the jacket of his grey three-piece suit, a jacket which bears his Order of Canada pin. "Okay, let's go upstairs and see if we can do a show," says Hunter, breezing through the green room and into the wings.
The band has been playing an instrumental for about a minute. Hunter strides quickly but easily onto the stage, slides on his acoustic guitar, and another Tommy Hunter Show is underway. The packed house, the first of two audiences Hunter will see today, loves the first set. Mostly seniors, they remember all the tunes and sing along, whether the number is one of Hunter's or something penned by Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash, and others.
When the curtains close at intermission, Hunter immediately turns to his band, laughing as he admits rearranging some lyrics and talks with the band about tweaking a few things. "If there's anything wrong, I'll nail it right away," he explains back in the dressing room. Hunter brews some tea, but then spends most of the break talking with a few guests who've come backstage. When theatre owner and real estate broker Mark Rashotte pops in for a quick hello, the two talk about buying and selling homes.
The performer then touches up his stage makeup and gets only a sip or two of scalding-hot tea before launching into the second set. This brings more applause and more laughs at his asides between songs.
Hunter turns 69 this year, but his onstage banter reveals some fans think he's older -- and he's the first to make age jokes. "People forget I started when I was 19," he will later tell visitors backstage. After the better part of two hours on stage, the curtains close again.
Hunter travels with a band of Steves -- Steve Petrie on lead guitar and fiddle, Steve Smith on steel guitar, and Steve Piticco on bass -- plus Ken Post on drums. Offstage and on, he is quick to credit some of his success to others in his group. "I've got excellent people who work with me. The absolute best. That's what makes the show a success. It's not me. "You get a bond when you're on the road with them," he adds. "We become a family."
Hunter points to his relationship with business manager Brian Edwards, with whom he has worked for 26 years. "We did it all on a handshake," says Hunter, adding Edwards is "like a son to me."
The theatre is mostly empty when Hunter walks into the lobby. He jumps onto a tour bus to say goodbye to some fans, then signs a few autographs. "As long as I have my fans, as long as I have my health, and as long as I can hit the mark." That mark, he says, is a high standard of performance. "If I can't hit that mark, it's time to say goodbye."
Feb. 20th - 2006 Update
TOMMY HUNTER SHOW COMES TO THE FORT!
Country Legend shows off his famous voice, guitar licks
by: Michael Spears, Staff Writer - February 10, 2006
FORT SASKATCHEWAN RECORD - It's too bad that to be considered a legend you have to be either dead or in the later years of your life. That too was true for Canadian country legend and TV fixture Tommy Hunter who played to a packed house at the Shell Theatre Tuesday afternoon.
Whether he had the audience laughing at his cornball jokes, or if he was showing off by contorting himself while paying a fiddle the crowd loved it.
The spry 68 - year - old ruled the stage with a presence that comes only after decades of performing in front of live audiences and for TV Cameras.
His set featured four extremely talented musicians, of which three out of four share the common first name of Steve, which lead to a long running gag.
Though on the tail-end of his cross country Canadian tour Hunter showed off his voice with a vocal range that would be the envy of many other singers.
His songs in the show featured tributes to many of the guests that graced his stage including Wilf Carter, and Johnny Cash.
(reprinted with permission)
Sept. 30th - 2005 Update
Tommy Hunter to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th annual Covenant Awards, October 22nd in Toronto. Canada's Country Gentleman Tommy Hunter will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Covenant Awards, to be held October 22nd in Toronto Ontario.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded by the Canadian Gospel Music Association annually, is given to an individual or group that the CGMA board feels has had a profound influence on or significantly impacted the Gospel Music arts in Canada. This year the CGMA wants to honor Tommy for his years on television and the strong Gospel music content of his shows, particularily the great number of times he closed his show with the singing of a hymn or a inspirational reading. As well, Tommy has to his credit several albums that are either hymns or inspirational readings, including "Songs of Inspiration" Volumes 1 and 2 and "Tommy Hunter - Readings".
His guests over the years included many Gospel music artists including Cristy Lane, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Ricky Skaggs and many others.
The Canadian Gospel Music Association is a non-profit organization run by a board of volunteers to promote the growth of Gospel music in Canada. The organization started over 27 years ago and annually hands out "Covenant" awards, which like the Juno awards are industry awards voted on by Gospel music experts and CGMA members. Along with the awards, the CGMA sponsors educational seminars that deal with issues of record production, management, staging, licensing, publishing and album design.
May 10th - 2005 Update
Tommy would like to extend his sincerest congratulations to Jack Jensen, former member of "The Rhythm Pals" who recently received "The Order of British Columbia". "The Rhythm Pals" were one of the Tommy Hunter Show's featured groups for many years. Congratulations Jack!
Tommy would once again like to thank everyone who expressed their concern following his surgery for Prostate Cancer in the summer of 2004. He has received a clean bill of health from his Doctors, and is feeling great!
Everyone connected with the 2005 Tommy Hunter Show tour would like to thank all the fans and friends who came out in such big numbers all across Canada. Tommy really does enjoy performing, and is already looking forward to his 2006 tour.