Category Archives: Stompin Tom Connors

Historic Account of Outlaw Band Happenings in Quesnel

Truthfully there wasn’t that many shows and the first ones still rank highest on my list.  I came north one summer to do a couple shows Jesse Mathies had been working on with his band The Effigy.  Arriving in Quesnel we spent the next few weeks hanging around town, going to all the scenic places and even came out to Wells and hiked to the top of Mount Murray.  In a sense the story of my first show in Quesnel is the story of how I came to live in Wells though I could never have guessed that first time here standing on top of Mount Murray that I would call the plateau before me home.  What I was thinking of was the red and dead trees from the pine beetle, as far as I could see.

This amazing summer of adventure, based out of Jesse’s parents basement, culminated in an amazing show and secondly in a split album people are still fond of.  That album was basically created in Barry McKillicans studio and it would forever be known as the Quesnel County Country Punk Conspiracy.  That’s when we recorded Smells Like Quesnel for the first time.  It was that song that got me an invitation to play at Artswells Festival which I have now been a part of for a decade…those events way back then set the stage for my life here today.

I have no recollection of the first show I did in Quesnel back then, so it must’ve been awesome…but for some reason I don’t think so.  It must’ve been just fun enough that I stayed around for the big show. The big show was on July 23rd 2005 and besides Under the Volcano Festival was really the highlight of my summer.

The Elks Hall lay host to this ridiculous assortment of bands such as The Tups, Four Horns, The Hippiecritz, Joey Only and the Effigy!!  There were too many drunk teenagers to count and somehow we managed to survive what was essentially an illegal alcoholicaust with no one bearing any responsibility for the occasion.  It’s these sort of all ages DIY punk bashes in rental halls that have become a thing of history…perhaps it was because the way we all behaved, punk across North America being teenage assholes.  It was sure fun.  I probably played 40 shows like that in my life…and that was actually the last one.

Teenagers were vommiting as quick as they could between RCMP visits to the site…that sorta thing.  My memory is vague of the occasion but I know I paid for it dearly.  I have grown up considerably since then.  I don’t really party with teenagers much anymore but at 25 it was a little less weird.  They think I’m weird now.  That’s the difference ten years will make in your life.

The next show we did was in the very same hall.  We were already a little bit older and wiser.  There were no teenagers puking over the backside of a Ford Tempo.  It was with Murray Boal and his excellent band.  The show was well attended, largely by a more adult crowd.  No one was drunk in public, though I might have been close to the line.  The payout helped our band get up here to do some recording with Barry who was also playing bass with Murray at the time. After a week or so at Barry’s I took a Greyhound bus back to Nanton Alberta where I was living and working for the winter.

That was in 2008.  I still believed back then that it was possible that I could become a success in the music industry despite not being all that great at music in general.  Not long after my youthful idealism was largely crushed, and not by any one thing which is unfortunate cause there’s no real story to tell.  Nonetheless, with no end in sight to the ‘small time’ as Corin Raymond would put it, I kept playing shows and having a lot of fun doing it.

I can’t exactly say the Hallis Lake Halloween party was inside the borders of what is commonly agreed on as being Quesnel.  Perhaps it’s just better that I have a good excuse to not talk about the debaucherous things that I participated in that night.  If I started telling those stories I’d have to talk about Bobb Inn and Artswells and Troll Ski Resort and every show we ever did in Wells and while we’re at it might as well write a paragraph about Williams Lake.  NO WAY!  Only shows that happened inside the town boundary of Quesnel can be discussed in this blog entry mostly so that the government will never know what really happened at Hallis Lake that night.

Since then we bought a monstrosity and moved to Wells to spend the rest of our lives fixing it.  We have been in the area for a while but we still haven’t made too much of a habit of trying to play in Quesnel.  I think that’s a shame and I know part of it is that until recently there’s been very little live music culture in Quesnel, a lot of people are just learning now how to go to shows of original live bands…they’ve never done it before.

Nonetheless…We have played two Billy Barker Days.  We really enjoyed playing at the Cariboo Hotel and hope we get to do that again sometime, we did two shows there and they were really well attended.  The Cancer For Life people got us on board there in 2013 and I’ve played no less than four times at the Quesnel Farmers Market.  I also did some work with Shaw Cable in Quesnel all about music in the Cariboo.

Then the Occidental happened and it became an innevitability that we would start putting on some Outlaw Band shows.  We just never did, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t want to.  I know how awfull you all must feel about me sharing my gifts so rarely with the local townsfolk.  Wells is so close, but really it’s a long ways away.  Time to change that trend for a little while.  I hope we keep motivated to keep coming to town and playing for you, it would be because you all kept coming to see the only outlaw country band in northern BC.

So, without further adieu, see you at the Occidental on Saturday November 29th.  The band is ready.  Then on December 19th I’m gonna do my Stompin Tom Tribute at the Quesnel Legion, consider that one a Christmas gift from me to the city.


Lotsa Thoughts I Gots


Click the link for all the details on my upcoming show in Prince George.  Once again I’m roped into doing the Stompin Tom tribute thing, but it keeps getting easier and more fun all the time.  This show is a fundraiser for CFIS Radio, it’s been promoted well and looks to be a really great evening.  I try to be sensitive to the memory of Stompin Tom in doing this, I don’t want to do a poor job and I want there to be a greater meaning behind it than simply my own financial gain…which don’t get me wrong is often real important for the sake of our family.  More than anything I wanna keep Stompin Tom’s songs alive and burn them into the memory of a whole new generation if possible.  I’d like to see upcoming alt-country bands cover less American songs and start learning the stories and traditions of the north.  I’m not sure I’m nearly as patriotic as Stompin Tom was, but I know I love the north and we don’t need another peoples songs.


There is some speculation that Mamaguroove might’ve just played their last show at the Occidental there in Quesnel this past Hallowee night…of course there could be a Robson Valley Festival reunion during the summer but it’s gonna be pretty hard for them to really gig as a band anymore.  Just the logistics alone determines that…Dave M is in Quesnel, the other Dave is in PG, Chris is in Edmonton and Seth and Shara live in the Robson Valley.  I guess Chris has five other bands in Edmonton he’s playing in too while working full time.  Still, that’s a real shame they didn’t keep writing more music.  When MG was really rockin they put on a totally far and cosmic show, heavy, crazy, trippy, dancy…they were like a hippified Mr.Bungle.

The show was fabulous, Barry wanted them to play his bar for Halloween and it paid off cause people were lined up out the door to get in.  Costumes were creative…except for mine cause I just wore a toque and carried a hockey stick.  I was a hoser.  But my apparent costume was part of a plan innitiated by Tax Free Liqour.  During their set they brought out a Steven Harper pinata and I used that carbon fibre composite hockey stick to drill his body off.

Astrid says ‘you were supposed to knock his head off’

And I says to the crowd ‘I like to torture them for a minute first’

Whammo, off came Harpers head exploding forth with such goodies as band stickers and condoms.  The crowd loved it scrambling for all the good things the Harper pinata had given them.

Tax Free Liqour is a pretty fun band, pretty far out themselves.  Definately punk influenced and they have been improving remarkably since I first seen them Halloween 2013.  They’ve switched some players around and people are playing the songs now like they own them.  Hopefully this will be a phenomenon in the Cariboo Regional District for a while to come.

So the party was hardy, I admit, I woke up at 3:30 the following afternoon.  Haven’t had a bender like that in a while…but it’s my favorite holiday and no family to be responsible with for one night.

Footnote, there were some big Halloween costume winners that took home tickets to a Canucks game.  Was glad to see our friends from Wells win, wasn’t crazy abou the Gene Simmons costume winning though.  I guess the guy wears it every year, and no one has bothered to explain to him that Gene Simmons is real piece of shit.


Speaking of punk rock bands…have you gone to see the Rebel Spell on their tour across Canada.  Their latest album Last Run is so goddamned good I can’t stop listening to it.  I can’t even tell you anything yet, I have too many things to say about that record, I could write 1000 words!  Trust me, it’s good, if you like punk go get one on line today.  Google it, won’t be hard to find.


He’s a goof, get it folks!  If you don’t believe 10 women don’t tell me you would have believed 1 if she’s come forward all those years ago.  That’s totally unfair.  There’s a lot of people in showbizz, politics, positions of power, sports teams etc who are parasites and vampires.  They spend most of the time trying to live out their crazy desires…they don’t care about anyone else but themselves.  You think Jian Gomeshi is an anomaly then you are sadly mistaken.  Republican House members are found guilty of rape, RCMP officers are found guilty of rape, Rob Ford is a douchebag, Justin Beiber is a spoiled fucking brat.  Oh yeah, turns out Bill Cosby is probably a rapist too, must be that brain damage he never quite recovered from…he seemed to insinuate only children had this condition but it was obvious when he opposed the Simpsons back in 1991 that he suffered from a condition much worse.  Gene Simmons thinks the poor owe him a debt of grattitude, he’s obviously a douchebag…him and Ted Nugent have been competing for the title of Biggest Piece of Shit in Rock and Roll History for a long friggin time.

….I mean, what, do you really think all them stars you love on TV are as nice as the characters they portray.

News flash!!!

Despite the overwhelming ability of vampires to suck up everything around them in the process of stepping on others to launch themselves to the top…there are some people who just through sheer intelligence and charm arrive where they belong and live successful lives and rewarding careers.  When I think of the artists I like I remember how magical Buffy St.Marie was to be around all weekend, or Geoff Berners righteous and scathing criticism of the insanity that surrounds us.  I think of Tanya Tagak and the positive role she plays in our country.  I have met many lovely famous people…but there are some real vultures circling around looking for whatever they can grab.

October Was a Quiet Month But…Shows in November Again

Wasn’t too much for shows since the last time I wrote to you all on this here blogaroo.  There were two solo nights at the Occidental in Quesnel which is threatening to become a monthly’s fun to play there, the sound quality and attention to detail is beyond the wildest dreams of most bars.  The full band will be there on November 29th, a Saturday, so get ready Quesnel, it’ll be a huge deal to have us playing in there finally as a band.

Also in late September was another fabulous Bobb Inn party.  After a hiatus we finally felt ready to get back together after what was a really busy summer, so we’ve been rehearsing now.  We also played at the Wells Hotel 200m from my house in a last minute effort to try to raise some money for a senior citizen who lost everything in a nearly tragic fire last week.  It was a last minute event but we still raised $340 for her and had fun with who could be there in the Pub, it is quiet season in town here…no tourists, even the locals seem to be either busy as all hell gettin ready for winter or not here at all.

Other things have happened over the last month though.  We aired our last and final episode of Tracey’s Traxx  ( on Shaw Cable Quesnel.  It largely features an interview with myself and Linda McRae, I’m not a fan of my hair in the interview, but other than that it is quiet nice to have this chit chat between me and my old friend immortalized.  What’s really cool though is that in the wake of that show ending we are starting to work on a brand new show for Quesnel Shaw Cable Access called THE CARIBOO REVIEW.  The first thing we’re gonna shoot is the last ever (we hope not) Mamaguroove show at the Occidental this Halloween with Tax Free Liqour.  Hopefully before the new year we’ll be airing shows.

Jian Gomeshi talked about me and played Birthday Blizzard Busride Blues on his former show Q…right before the whole world found out that he is some kind of perverted and potentially violent jerk…exactly how bad no one can say for sure.  So I just squeeked in there before his whole world fell apart.  Pretty cool huh.

On November 8th I’ll be at the Seniors Centre in downtown Prince George doing my Stompin Tom Tribute show for CFIS Radio.  Don’t let the venue name fool you, it’s a serious room and we’re gonna kick the living shit out of the floors to raise some money for CFIS Radio.  Tickets aren’t cheap, but they will sell out, get them now.  From where?!?! I don’t know…I just play music.  We’ll also be up in Fort St.John on Saturday November 22nd and as I said at the Occidental in Quesnel November 29th.  Try to catch a show if you can.  I got another Stompin Tom Tribute show that’ll run December 19th at the Quesnel Legion!  The most exciting show that’s coming up on the horizon I can’t even tell you about yet cause the contract isn’t signed…so hopefully in next months blog there’ll be something to boast about.

I got interviewed by a Prince George newspaper and the interviewer said I was far more engaging than that Johnston guy from the Doobie Brothers.  So there I was at the CN Centre checking out the Doobie Brothers cause we got free tickets and everything.  Pretty sweet show I guess, musical proficiency beyond reason.  I think the world needs an Outlaw Band with that sort of execution.  We aim to make it happen!  What I don’t want to be is just another band replaying the same tired old hits to a mindless audience…BUT…to the Doobies credit, they all look great, sound great, were jumpin around and having fun.  I’m glad I got to see anothe legendary act before they stop touring forever.

In our rehearsals we’re getting ready for a new album…we’ve already added these new songs I’ve written in to the show, ran through many of them live for the first time at the Wells Hotel and I was mostly happy to have six new tunes run so smooth. Helps to have a hot lineup of free agents, we still boast Sean Scallin who’s been with me now since March 2013…replaced Joel with Ed Hanrahan on the big double bass…and our newest secret weapon has been the rippin tele shreds of Mike Morneau.  We got a little ways to go be as hot as I know we can, but this is a solid line-up that can stick together for a while.

Soon we’ll be recording a record and these songs will be in your Ipods!  Sean’s favorite is WALKER ROCK, while I like TROUBLE IN THE PEACE.  Leah sings real nice back-ups in NORTH OF NUMBER SEVEN and LET ME COMFORT YOU.  NOBLE WAYS OF THE COWBOY SOLDIER is a true story about a young man we know that was killed in Afghanistan while COLD WOODEN BOX and STOMPIN TOM STORY were inspired by my love of the man.  Can’t wait to have the album recorded, seems so far away….but soon enough you can all have a copy of NO MORE TROUBLE IN THE PEACE.


TELEVISION AND YOUTUBE: A new feature on Joey Only Outlaw Band has been produced by a show called Tracey’s Traxx to air on Quesnel Shaw Cable.  Watch for us on TV if you are in the Quesnel area otherwise you can watch it right here (

We’ve also got our hands on video from the Outlaw Band’s mainstage performance at the 10th Annual Artswells Festival which took place in August 2013.  Video will be uploaded sometime this month, it would happen sooner however our internet speed up in the mountains here is something to be desired so we will have to find another place to do this.  Also, there’s a bounty up for any and all videos fans may already have…or if you wish to film us and post the video we are prepared to offer some Outlaw band merchandise for your trouble.  It’s a big priority right now for us to get some new videos up on the net so that the world can see just how good the new lineup has become after one year together.  Here is an example of what we’re looking for shot by our friend Tracey Cochrane during the Wells New Years party…it’s a good rendition of Fire On Anarchist Mountain.

NEW ALBUMS IN THE WORKS: After a two year hiatus and a rebuilding year I suddenly realized I’ve not released a song in FOUR YEARS!  Don’t worry, it’s about to change.  We are currently in the pre-production process of recording a brand new record with the hopes of having at the very least an EP to flog around this summer.  We have two studio options and are currently deciding on which technology to use and which songs to record.  We have a whole host of new material that the band is really happy with and we look forward to getting that down and recorded.  We hope this album will be even more successful than Transgression Trail was and that we can get our old publishing and publicity crew to come together and make another one of my records a national endeavor.

At the same time Scotty Dunbar is in Wells right now with us.  Scotty, Leah and I are working on a production for his Band Camp project.  We currently have no working title however most the songs have already been chosen and we are diligently rehearsing for what will be a much folkier and rootsy recording than what the Outlaw Band is planning.  So expect to see two new recordings available this summer on our merch table…one folky and one just plain rockin.

UPCOMING SHOWS: We are currently taking February off however we have to excellent shows planned for March.  However on February 26th the Barefoot Caravan is coming to Wells to play at our Hotel.  I will be playing with them running the lead guitar.  Another show will be planned here in Wells once Scotty Dunbar, Leah and I have finished recording our Band Camp project.

The first being at Troll Telemark Fest at our local ski hill between Wells and Quesnel, this will be our second year playing this event.  We really believe in Troll Ski Resort as it’s a family run operation, currently has the second best base in BC, it’s runs are great and it’s affordable to go there for a day.  On St.Patricks Day we plan to get back up to Fort St.James and rock out at the Legion there.  The Fort’s Legion is a very large building and my last solo show there two years ago was nearly at maximum capacity.  Everyone in the Fort knows what happens at a Joey Only show so we know it’s gonna be a gooder.

We’re already booked for several festivals and we’re very excited about them!  Last year we were given great slots everywhere we played and found the experience something to behold.  We really look forward to having Travis Charuk and Jeff Andrew join us on stage again this year.  I can’t officially announce it until contracts are signed but at one of these festivals we’ll be playing right after the SADIES and the rumor is Gord Downey will be with them on tour…and the headliner on Saturday is BLUE RODEO!  Stay tuned, will tell you where this is soon!

My beloved Stompin Tom Tribute show is currently on hiatus, but for how long is the question.  We have Earl Krushelnicki in Prince George managing that project and a trip to Dawson Creek this spring or summer is imminent as soon as all parties involved can agree on the dates.  Once we go that far you can expect we’ll be assessing the other casino’s in the region to see where else might be a good fit for this already acclaimed act.  There is a possibility we might try to do this Tom Connors Tribute in Quesnel as well, however we’re more interested in setting up a show at the brand new Occidental when it would make sense to do so.  There is an offer on the table to go out to Saskatchewan in June for a festival, negotiations are ongoing and I’m ambivalent either way on the possibility of so much travel.

Plans are also in the works now to go to Vancouver this October, one show at the Fairview Pub is already agreed upon in principal and negotiations are ongoing with venues in Whistler and Squamish…may the highest bidder win.  All confirmed shows as usual will be listed on the UPCOMING SHOWS page on this site and daily updates are generally posted on  Have no fear, just cause we only have twelve shows listed today doesn’t mean we won’t have done 50 by years end…so keep checking up on that.

OTHER TIDBITS: Amongst all that big news is some smaller news but much of it is very exciting.  We’re currently seeking sponsorships from BC breweries, we already know which one we would like to approach first so wish us luck in that department, we’re the sort of band that needs to be allied with the beer people.  I’ve also already been active with Shaw Cable in Quesnel and it appears that from time to time I will be hosting various programs on the channel on an as per needed basis.  One of our wives has been talking to Oktoberfest in Germany with hopes that in two years time we can envision doing something grander than we have ever done.  There are lots of ideas on the table and as the months go by we’ll see what actually transpires.  There’s always more to report than that….but I gots to give ye’z all a reason to visit this blog again.

Till then…remain free…joey


With our big New Years Eve show sold out at the Jack Of Clubs Casino/Gen Store in Wells and coming up in just a few days I realized what a good year 2013 has been for the Outlaw Band.

It’s amazing that 2013 has come to a close, it was an unprecedented year for me and my band, at this time last year we weren’t really a committed band yet.  We had Bob Campbell playing drums but unwilling to commit to much outside of the Wells Hotel.  Even I wasn’t headstrong in the belief that I would ever have a working lineup again.  When I came to Wells in 2011 I all but gave up on music yet somehow Joel jumped on board with me ‘just to have fun’.  We didn’t think it would go much further than that.

All this did begin to change for the better when I had a facebook message on the Outlaw Band page from Sean Scallion, yet for over a month I didn’t take the thought of adding a committed drummer all too seriously.  My songs aren’t easy on drummers and I was skeptical.  One day in March Sean decided that he and the family were going to come out to Wells for a visit, at the same time we got a last minute emergency request to play Troll Ski Resorts TELEFEST.  So I called Sean and said ‘wanna play a gig tonight?’.  Just like that we jammed for an hour or so and I realized Sean was potentially an amazing player.  We went out the door and killed the show at the ski hill beginning a new relationship with the wonderful owners there and a new chapter of Outlaw Band history at the same time.

March was also the time that Stompin Tom Connors died which immediately brought Bill Horne and Claire Kujundzic to my door asking if we would consider doing a Stompin Tom tribute show.  Thank goodness I did because so many good things came from that night at the Sunset Theatre in Wells on June 29th.  The show was sold out with people coming from as far as Vancouver to be there as the CBC Radio hyped the show for us.   That was the night we met Earl Krushelnicki who, though I didn’t realize it at the time, would become an important business associate a few months down the road.

There were shows in the Wells Hotel, we kicked off the Quesnel Farmers Market and played the Cancer Relay Marathon in Quesnel as well .  But all those shows were just rehearsals for the bigger stages we hit over the summer.  The festival season was very good to us.  On June 15th we did our best to steal the audiences hearts at Sweetwater 905 Festival in Rolla BC.  No sooner had I stepped off the stage did Karl Mattsen appear to say ‘my dad says you’re the best act here, he likes country music more than the hippy bands and wants to make sure we book you for next year’.  Well with horse riding, thunderstorms, good friends, nice cabin to stay in, and an altogether bad ass festival I did not refuse the chance to be part of this again in 2014.

In July we hit the Billy Barker Days in Quesnel which included our last night we’ve done at the Cariboo Hotel.  The following weekend I played some at my friends wedding in Fort St.James while counting down the days to the Artswells Festival.  I had asked to play the Sunset theatre and the hotel during the festival but David Jacob Harder came to me with a serious face asking us to hit the mainstage instead honoring my part in the festivals 10 year history.  I was very proud and honored to be asked to do this.  The festival was amazing once again for us this year and it reminded me how lucky I am to live in this little neck of the woods.

The next month included a solo show at the Camballah party, a showing at Robson Valley Music Festival and a headlining slot at Music On The Mountain in the fort.  Just like that the summer was over and I was still buzzing about it as my mother and aunts came to Wells for a visit from Ontario.  I played solo at the Barkerville Cowboy Festival but later that night the band ripped it up at the Wells Hotel in honor of my family.  That was the last time we played the Hotel and it may be a while before we can do that again.

The fall quieted down with just a visit to the Bobb Inn and a trip down to Forest Grove for Halloween.  The big show for us was put on by Earl Krushelnicki, who believed in my Stompin Tom impression.  He booked us in to the Treasure Trove Casino in PG on November 16th.  The Casino bought television advertisements and we were in all the newspapers in the city, the show almost sold out but was a full house.  Everything about that night was unforgettable.

I thought moving to the mountains would be the death of my music career, instead it’s been blossoming!  There’s a lot of hardships living in Wells but we choose to be part of this community and this way of life…and we are proud that we are the town’s only band!  We’re in greater demand all the time and our price goes up a little every other month to leave these mountains and bring you lowlanders our music, I never felt so lucky.  I am offended that the Cold Snap Festival organizers consider us local to Prince George because we most certainly ARE NOT! It’s important to me that we are seen as Wells locals because we make great sacrifices to live our life here while rejecting most of the candy the outside world is eating.  We philosophically don’t see eye to eye with the city folk and never will.  It’ because of so many of the people in this town here we can say we had a really great year rebuilding this band.  You have done so much for us Wells.  I look forward to bringing you a great show for New Years Eve and many more fun times in the future.

I think 2014 is going to be something else!  Happy New Year!!

I Hate To Say It, the Stompin Tom Tribute Show Was A Huge Success

People have been asking me everyday how the Stompin Tom Tribute show at the Treasure Cove Casino went.  It’s hard for me to answer that question sometimes, I respond with one word like ‘good’  or ‘fine’.  It’s not ever polite or professional to talk too much about it, I’d hate to run the risk of sounding like a braggard at my age.

The Outlaws at the Treasure Cove Casino in Prince George BC.

The Outlaws at the Treasure Cove Casino in Prince George BC.

People who are musicians understand that no words can explain how shows like this make us feel inside.  We achieve these tremendous highs in front of willing audiences and then the next day it’s all over and it’s back to being a normal person again.  If you have never played a big show or felt this high you can not possibly understand it the way we do.  Sometimes in the past I have given big explanations to people about how amazing our weekend was, and I see them look at me blankly because they have personal no experience to reference to.  The week of a big show people around me talk about all sorts of stuff that’s going on in their lives and I almost feel like to tell them how stoked I am for the big weekend is unfair.  Sometimes the things they are talking about seem pretty small to me, I’d hate to make them feel that way by talking about how awesome being a part of a band is.

With that little bit of humility now put on the table there is one thing I can still brag about, I can praise the efforts of others.  I really can’t explain to you how lucky I am to work with the people I do.  I gave my musicians a recording I made of the show in order a month before the gig yet we never had time to rehearse until the week of the show.  We got two rehearsals in and I have to admit during our soundcheck I was pretty nervous about how tight we were going to play.  All my doubts were done one song into the night, damn they played well.  I get to live in the north and still have professional calibre musicians.  I am more than lucky for this, Joel and Sean have pushed me to ressurect my show and have made playing music fun again for me.  In fact they were tighter than Stompin Tom’s own band.  I was nervous but as soon as I felt the band come together I was liberated from all concerns and was able to focus on doing my job, I couldn’t have performed so honestly without the quality of their musicianship.

On top of the great execution of our band we had a sound man who knew that room to a T.  The stage sound was smooth!  And the promotional efforts by Earl were noteworthy.  Earl had the vision and it took two months of negotiations before I agreed to be seen impersonating someone other than myself.  We managed to draw in a full house despite the fact that Willhorse was being hosted at a popular venue by the Coldsnap Festival organizers.  The audience was relatively attentive, and those who were rowdiest were friends of mine who I know were having a great time.  On top of all that I managed to win $35 on a spin on the slots with a dozen of those same friends sitting around drinking with me, it was the horseshoe up my arse that night I suppose.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the show was the amount of effort it took, which is surprising because I was once so down on the idea of doing tribute shows.  I haven’t had to work on my own show for a very long time, we’re still not playing enough of my new material that I really try all that hard to practice.  Learning how to be a mimic of Stompin Tom required me to buy a new cowboy hat, rehearse in the mirror, read his books, practice the songs, change my delivery, change the beat I always stomp on, watch youtube videos and bend my brain to spit out his tongue twisted lyrics.  It was an honor to bring those songs to life and remember someone I think is the quintessential Canadian country singer of our time.  It was an incredible amount of work which is why I can’t do it too often or for too cheap.

So I want to thank everyone for coming and being a part of the event, and I want to thank everyone whose work it took to make it happen.  I like to thank the Casino for the use of the room and for the television ads and I like to thank the many radio shows and newspapers that helped spread the excitement for that evening.  It was certainly a night I will always fondly remember.  The hardest part is letting go of those moments and returning back to my normal life and accepting that I am just another working Joe.  Sometimes it’s just easier to not talk about it at all.


Joey Only pays tribute to Stompin’ Tom

Joey Only will play a tribute to Stompin' Tom Connors at the Treasure Cove Casino November 16.

Joey Only will play a tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors at the Treasure Cove Casino November 16.

Joey Only was between a rock and hard place.

He always likes to “do his own thing” but for a long time, he’s also wanted to pay tribute to one of the greatest Canadian country music icons of all time – Stompin’ Tom Connors.

In his hometown of Wells, B.C. Joey Only is known as a hard rock miner who is involved in exploration and also as Joey Only: singer, songwriter who along with Joey Only Outlaw Band – Sean Scallion on drums/percussion, Joel Stern on bass/harmonica, Leah Martin (his wife) on vocals andpercussion – performs his own brand of Canadiana country rock cowboy genre music.

The former radio personality, admits he likes the sound of his own voice but was drawn to the idea of becoming – for a short time – Stompin’ Tom and getting to do his famous songs. He thinks fans are going to really enjoy his Nov. 16 Tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors Concert at the Treasure Cove Casino Showroom.

It took some persuasion by local promoter Earl Krushelnicki to get the artist to agree to the tribute gig, he says. But after he’d done his homework researching Connors’ life and music, the artist says he’s “up to the challenge” – and eager to see the crowd reaction to his new show.

“I’m experimenting with new things but for the most part I’m putting no a full out Stompin’ Tom show. It meant putting away myself for a day – which is sort of hard for me to do – it [tribute show] has forced me to put my own songs away and study, study, study. I watched videos, I got a book of his songs and short stories. I was looking at everything there was on You Tube.”

Studying him, Joey Only learned how unique he really was.

“I’m trying to make it as genuine as possible. I had to stand different, walk different, make different faces. And I had to change the way I stomp because [Stompin’ Tom] stomps on the second beat – and I was stomping on the first beat, so I had to attack that. I think for a long time people thought what I did was my own natural, close rendition of Tom Connors (he laughs) but after working on this for a long time, I realize that actually our styles are quite different.”

The two-hour show allows time to fit in many well known, much-loved Stompin Tom songs, he says but he also hopes people will come to know some of the legendary artist’s lesser known songs too.

“Most of the ones I’m playing [for the concert] are hits already. It’s sort of like with Johnny Cash, everyone knows 16 songs off his Best Of Johnny Cash album, but they often don’t listen to the artist’s whole gamut of work, they get stuck on two to five songs, and if you do that,  you’ve really missed a large volume of his work.”

He hopes the local concert will prove “enlightening” for some people. Does he have a personal favourite Stompin’ Tom song?

“Right now I’m really enjoying Canadian Lumberjack Song. Just playing it, it’s so much fun. I’m trying to bring out what he really did (musically) but I also want to carry forth his message about small towns, the history of our country and how we got to where we are now which has always been a big part of his music and something that I’ve tried to do with my own music going back 10 to 15 years.”

This is the first tribute show Joey Only has done, although for years, he’s been asked to have his band do tribute work.

“My band is actually a lot more electric than you would ever have seen at a Stompin’ Tom concert,” he says. With the new tribute show, it’s up to him – only.

“It’s not that I’m in love with myself,” he says. “It’s just that I’m … (he pauses for the words) neurotically driven to be who I am.”

Only says he first performed a “part” pilot show in Wells to rave reviews.

“It was a half Stompin’ Tom, half Joey Only concert. This time (for Prince George) I’m going to go for a second attempt to see how far I can take this. Part of my reservation in doing this is that I don’t know if Tom Connors would appreciate someone mimicking him. And I don’t know if he would approve of my show – but I’ve tried very hard to be sensitive in my tribute.”

Joey Only’s Stompin’ Tom Connors Tribute Concert is on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Treasure Cove Casino Showroom. Tickets are $25 and are available at Books and Company. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.

About the Author

Teresa Mallam is community editor and award winning columnist for the Prince George Free Press. She’s won the Jack Webster Award of Distinction, Canadian Authors Association Award for Best Investigative Journalism (B.C. Report Magazine story on the murder of Mary Jane Jimmie,) B.C. Law Society Award for Excellence in Legal Reporting, Cariboo Mining Association (CMA) Award for Best Mining Reporting of the Year and Jerry MacDonald Award for community reporting for a story on homelessness.