Ian Tamblyn

  Ian (Gordon) Tamblyn. Singer, composer, folk instrumentalist, producer, b Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ont, 2 Dec 1947; BA English, psychology (Trent) 1971. Ian Tamblyn began his career in the mid-1960s singing pop songs of the day and traditional blues at the Fourth Dimension coffeehouse in Fort William. After studying at Trent University, Peterborough, Ont, he settled first in Ottawa and then in nearby Old Chelsea, Que, pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter, balladeer, playwright and recording producer, and as a composer of instrumental and incidental music for film, television and theatre.

His first LP, Moose Tracks, was issued in 1971 on the Barge label. It was followed by two in 1976 (the year he won a Juno award) and 1978 for Posterity, Ian Tamblyn and Closer to Home, respectively. These were followed by over 15 releases 1980-2004 from North Track Records, a label co-owned by Tamblyn and the guitarist Ken Hamm. These include the LPs Ian Tamblyn and Dance Me Outside and several cassettes (eg, When Will I See You Again, Over My Head, Ghost Parade, Magnetic North, and Days of Sun and Wind) and a handful of CDs (The Middle Distance, Voice in the Wilderness and Angel's Share). As a recording producer, Tamblyn oversaw more than 20 albums for Canadian folk artists such as Cathy Miller, Alex Houghton, and Terry Tufts.

Tamblyn was a frequent traveller in the higher latitudes. His Over My Head (1986) and Magnetic North (1989), issued on CD by True North (WTNK-78 and WTNK-79, respectively) in 1991, and the third in the series, Antarctica (1994), combined field recordings of Canadian wilderness sounds (eg, birds, rivers, whales, cracking ice) with synthesizer, hammered dulcimer, cello, etc, to create an ambient instrumental music that brought Tamblyn recognition as a new age musician. Notable among his instrumental environmental pieces are Loon Lake, Big Sky, and 25th Hour of the Day. Another Tamblyn cassette, Fifteen Great Years, documents his ongoing musical association since 1982 with the Great Canadian Theatre Co in Ottawa, including Sandinista!, Ghost of the Madawaska, Zero Hour, and An Acre of Time. He enjoyed a similar extended relationship with Young People's Theatre in Toronto, and had musical installations in the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que, and public institutions in Ottawa.

As a folksinger, Tamblyn toured Canada with Joan Armatrading and made a New York debut at the Other End in 1978. He appeared frequently on the Canadian festival circuit - eg, Northern Lights (Sudbury), Summerfolk (Owen Sound), Festival of Friends (Hamilton), and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival - and performed in coffeehouses, for folk clubs, and as a topical songwriter on CBC radio's 'Sunday Morning.' Notable among his 1800 songs to 2004 were 'Paris Afternoon,' 'Take Me Home,' 'Night at the Venice Café,' 'Woodsmoke and Oranges,' 'Tiger Lily Road' and 'Angel's Share.' Colleen Peterson, Brent Titcomb, Sylvia Tyson, Sneezy Waters, James Keelaghan, Tamarack and Georgette Fry recorded Tamblyn titles.