Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson, a rough stock rider, started playing the guitar while recovering from a rodeo injury. He went on to become a legendary performing artist. Ian’s highly successful 60-year career in the music business included numerous releases and popular TV shows. He was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada, and his “Four Strong Winds” was named one of the greatest Canadian songs of all time. After finding fame during the ’60s folk revival as half of the duo Ian & Sylvia (with his ex-wife), Ian returned to southern Alberta ranch country, training horses and cowboying in the Rockies at Pincher Creek. In 1985, Ian was invited to the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering to share his “new western music.” An audience favorite, he performed at almost every Gathering since and his shows would often sell out almost instantly. He was a favorite among his peers, spurring meaningful collaborations with other Gathering artists, including Mike Beck, Ross Knox, Gary McMahan, Tom Russell, David Wilke, and Paul Zarzyski. Ian spoke of Elko as the place, the hub, where he and his cowboy songwriting (Old Corrals & Sagebrush, Cowboyography) found an audience in the "cowboy underground" and grew from there. His appearances at the Gathering, and at Stockmens in the early days, were magical, forever raising the bar for contemporary cowboy songwriting and dances. A gifted songwriter and mentor, Ian was not only a legacy, but a beloved friend of the Western Folklife Center.

Photo by Kevin Martini Fuller

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Ian Tyson
  • The First Gathering, Part 2-Ian Tyson

    FEATURING: Ian Tyson.

    Even before he became a household name as a cowboy music star, Ian graced our stages in Elko. When Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson made the trip to Elko in 1985 his satchel was stuffed with original and favorite western songs. In 1983, he put out Old Corrals and Sagebr...

  • Ian Tyson Tribute

    FEATURING: Mike Beck, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, R.W. Hampton, Brenn Hill, Ross Knox, Shandee Layne, Corb Lund, Gary McMahan, Michael Martin Murphey, Dave Stamey, Dave Wilkie + Denise Withnell, Paul Zarzyski.

    A full show honoring The Legendary Ian Tyson. Celebrate Ian's return to Elko with a show of...

  • Mano a Mano: Ian Tyson & Tom Russell

    For two days in 2008, Ian Tyson and Tom Russell held court at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, and offered a rare glimpse into the creative process of songwriting. Tyson and Russell shared a long, close friendship and collaboration that resulted in classic western songs and s...