Ya'll have all heard about the famous Tommy Hunter...The Canadian Country music artist who played the violin and also had Shania Twain then Eileen Twain introduced on one of his shows...
Here is an article on him for all to read...Thought it would be appropriate to post it here...I know that Shania would smile at hearing this good piece of news...At least someone is still around from her cold hungry and dreary past...But this was one spot that gave Shania good cheer and a positive outlook in regards to her singing career...Hooray for Tommy Hunter for hangin in there...
Mon, January 31, 2005
Big Bad Tom
Canada's Country Gentleman Tommy Hunter knows when it's time to put up a fight
By ROB WILLIAMS
Tommy Hunter is known as Canada's Country Gentleman -- but he can put up a decent fight when he has to. From demanding the end of the hillbilly shtik on his TV show to adding violins to his records, Hunter has had to flex his muscles over the years to achieve his artistic vision.
Those battles were tough but they were nothing compared to the one he faced last year when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, requiring him to undergo surgery in July. As with most of his battles, Hunter emerged the victor.
"I've got a clean bill of health -- the operation was successful. Just three weeks ago the surgeon said, 'You're absolutely clean, you've got nothing to worry about
: No radiation, no nothing.' So that was good," he says nonchalantly.
"There's various forms of cancer, and this was operable and manageable. It's the type of thing men will get sooner or later, so you have to go for your yearly examination and catch it and monitor it in the early stages."
Lucky the 67-year-old Hunter did. Otherwise, he did or he might not be on his 15th consecutive Canadian winter tour, playing to the countless fans he made during his 36 years on television as the star of Country Hoe-down and The Tommy Hunter Show, which ran on CBC for 27 years and drew more than one million viewers weekly.
He believes so many people watched because he veered away from the Hee-Haw formula of cornball country variety television, making the focus on the performer instead of the fake farm setting.
"When we did this early ancient television show shortly after Edison had invented this thing," he quips, "it was like, 'Stick it in a barn with some hay and dungarees and saddles and all that,' and I said, 'I don't want a barn.' "
His decision wasn't popular, but Hunter stuck to his guns, got his way and became a staple of Canadian television -- sans goofy hat.
"I didn't want to compete with Canadian shows; my competition was the American shows. It was just Canadian television at the beginning, but I knew eventually NBC, ABC and CBS would be carried here, so I wanted to get as many viewers as I could so they would stay with me."
Getting out of the barn was one thing, making albums was another. He was considered something of a "middle of the road" country singer -- not too hard, not too soft -- and he experimented with instrumentation to get played on different radio formats.
"I got raked over the coals because I had violins on some of my early recordings, and that wasn't considered country at the time. If you got up and sang the same lyrics, didn't twang it up and put the strings behind it, it opened up a whole new arena," he says.
Nowadays country has gone pop, but when Hunter was starting out there was no such thing as a crossover artist. If a song was big on the country chart, it was re-recorded by a pop artist for a different crowd.
Ironically enough, Hunter helped usher in the wave of country-pop acts by introducing Canadians to artists like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Shania Twain, who all received their first major exposure on his show.
He had a few No. 1 hits in Canada himself but never achieved major success in the U.S. other than one song, Mary in the Morning, which made the Billboard Top 20. His albums all did moderately well, but his focus was on TV and live shows, where he felt most comfortable.
Not that he's complaining. He really is a true gentleman and enjoys crossing the country every winter in his bus with his longtime band, the Travellin' Men, meeting fans to share more stories and songs.
"One day will come when I've had enough of flying, enough of buses and I'll hang it up and slow down, but how much slower can I go?"