Two big honours will be given at the Alberta Country Music Awards in Red Deer this weekend.
Canadian country music icon Ian Tyson will be inducted into the Association of Country Music in Alberta’s Hall of Fame.
And the guy who will introduce Tyson on stage will be Red Deer’s own Mike Bradford, of the Central Music Festival.
Bradford said he was “surprised” but delighted to hear that Tyson had suggested him for the job about three weeks ago. He admitted, “It will be kind of intimidating — but kind of fun as well.”
The local music promoter has been inviting the Longview-area singer and rancher to sing in Red Deer many times over the years. The 84-year-old Tyson, who performed in 2008 with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, made his last local appearance in 2016 to a sold-out show at the Memorial Centre.
Like many Canadians, Bradford has been listening to Ian Tyson’s tunes since his Ian & Sylvia days in the 1960s. There’s so much to say about his contributions to country music that Bradford joked, “I’ll tell everybody to go to the Internet and look it up!”
He actually intends to focus on career highlights of the singer/songwriter who’s added such standards as Four Strong Winds, The Gift, Navajo Rug, Springtime in Alberta, MC Horses, and Charlie Goodnight’s Grave to the national songbook.
Bradford also plans to share some of his personal experiences with Tyson with the audience. Although the singer/songwriter is known for being pretty “crusty,” he actually has a hilarious sense of humour, said Bradford.
On stage, Tyson, a survivor of heart and vocal surgeries, has said that being in your 80s “is not for sissies.”
When Bradford recently asked if there’s anything particular he wants included in his introduction at the award show, Tyson quipped, “Nah, I haven’t given it much thought… Just wing it… Throw in “legendary” a lot!”
The seventh-annual awards, hosted by Emerson Drive and Jackie Rae Greening, will be held Sunday evening at the Sheraton Hotel. For more information, please visit www.abcountrymusic.ca.