Hunter, who used 'Travellin' Man' as his TV theme song, also performed widely in Canada and in the 1960s was the leader of several concert parties that toured in Europe for the Department of National Defence. During summers 1963-70 he appeared at the Academy Theatre in Lindsay, Ont, in a concert series broadcast by CBC radio as 'Country Holiday.' He made his first recordings in 1958 with Ganam and subsequently completed LPs for Columbia and its Harmony label in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Travelling with Tommy Hunter, ELS-326; Tommy Hunter, ELS-363; Time Slips Away, ES-90046; Greatest Hits, KHE-90175), for RCA in 1975 (Tommy Hunter, KPL1-0088) and 1989 (Anniversary Sessions, KCD1-0660), and for Acclaim in 1982 (Tommy, CM-12002). Some of his singles were popular, among them 'Cup of Disgrace' and 'The Battle of the Little Big Horn' (1967), 'Walk With Your Neighbour' and 'Wait for Sunday' (1970), 'Bill Jones' General Store' (1972), 'Born to Be a Gypsy' (1975) and 'Couldn't See the Gold' (1990), the last a duet with the US singer Janie Fricke. His recording of 'Mary in the Morning' was a modest US hit in 1967.
After the cancellation of his television variety show, Hunter took up touring, and as of 2003 performed about 70 concerts annually. He was backed by his band, The Travellin' Men, and by Verch. In 1997, his fiftieth anniversary as an entertainer, Hunter performed at the CNE and the Grand Ole Opry, and London, Ont, proclaimed Tommy Hunter Week. The owner of his own recording company, Edith Records, he recorded the albums Timeless Country Treasures, Songs of Inspiration, and Traditional Country Christmas in the mid-1990s. As well, he released a book of his photography.
In an interview with Ralph Thomas (who described Hunter's voice as 'soft and simple, his smooth baritone unmarred by country twang'), the singer explained that he attempts 'a middle-of-the-road approach ... something that's just as much pop music as it is country and western' (Toronto Daily Star, 3 Dec 1966). Hunter, known as 'Canada's Country Gentleman,' was the recipient of the 1967, 1968, and 1969 Juno Awards as best male country singer. 'The Tommy Hunter Show' won a Big Country award in 1978 as top Canadian country TV show. In 1974 Hunter received a citation from the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, Tennessee, for 'continuous and outstanding contribution to country music,' and in 1990 he was given a place in the hall's Walkway of Stars. He was inducted into the CCMA Hall of Fame in 1984 and appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1986, and of the Order of Ontario in 1996. The Ontario Country Music Association granted him its lifetime achievement award in 1999.
Author Betty Nygaard King
Readings. 1996. Edith Records ROCD004/(2002) EMI P231 00055B
Songs of Inspiration. 1996. Edith ROCD005/(2002) EMI P231 70005D
Timeless Country Treasures. 1995. Edith ROCD006/(2002) EMI P231 70006E
Timeless Country Treasures, Vol II. 1996. Edith ROCD007/(2002) P231 70007C
Traditional Country Christmas. 1997. Edith ROD12/(2002) EMI P231 00112
Still Making Memories: Timeless Country Treasures, Vol III. 2002. EMI P231 03053B
Collins, Bob. 'Canadian teenagers find a home-grown idol,' Star Weekly, 7 May 1960
Rasky, Frank. 'Tommy the troubled troubadour,' Canadian Magazine, 5 Aug 1967
Wigmore, Donnalu. 'Why success won't spoil Tommy Hunter,' Chatelaine, Mar 1969
Heller, Liane. 'Why Tommy Hunter gives it all he's got,' Toronto Star, 9 Oct 1983
Lacey, Liam. 'Canada's country gentleman,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 24 Oct 1987
'CBC axes Hunter show,' Country Music News, June 1992
Delany, Larry. 'Tommy Hunter: Still "The Travellin' Man," Country Music News, Dec 1996
Bawden, Jim. 'Tommy's good time,' Toronto Star, 15 Mar 2003
Links to Other Sites
The official website for Tommy Hunter, Canada's "country gentleman," features a biography, a discography, and much more.
Canadian Country Music Association
The Canadian Country Music Association website. Check out the national country music awards, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, links to country music stars, and more.
Barn Dance Historical Society & Entertainment Museum
The official website of the Barn Dance Historical Society & Entertainment Museum. Features a history of the popular “CKNX Barn Dance” program and information about the Society’s activities and upcoming events.
Tommy Hunter says farewell
A 2012 CBC News story about country music icon Tommy Hunter's farewell show.
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