Ten SOCAN members were among the investments and appointments to the Order of Canada in  December of 2022.

Folk music icon  Ian Tamblyn was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada.  For more than five decades, this gifted singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and playwright has celebrated the beauty of Canada’s landscape and the spirit of its people. An expedition guide and mentor with Adventure Canada and Students on Ice, he travels extensively to the world’s northernmost places and inspires many to find their voice through song.

Jazz musician Michel Cusson was invested as a Member of the Order. Whether on stage or screen, Cusson has left his mark on Canada’s music scene. He first distinguished himself as the founder and guitarist for the internationally renowned fusion group UZEB, which helped to shape the evolution of jazz in Canada. While never fully putting aside his guitar, he then brought his talents as a composer to the screen industries and to performing arts, garnering awards for his innovative soundtracks. Skillfully juxtaposing sounds and images, he imbued countless films, TV series, and performances with emotion.

Appointed as officers of the Order were:

Lise Aubut, for her contributions to the Canadian music industry as an artist and tireless advocate of the rights of creators.

Jim Corcoran, for his long-standing contributions to Francophone music in Canada, as a songwriter, composer, performer, and CBC Radio host.

Eleanor Daley, for her contributions to Canadian music and choral culture as a renowned composer and accompanist.

Bob Ezrin, for his ongoing contributions to music and entertainment production, and for his sustained advocacy of musical education, journalism and environmental justice.

Appointed as members of the Order were:

Steve Bell, for his contributions to Canadian music as a Christian folksinger, songwriter, and producer, and for his advocacy of social and community causes.

Wayne Chaulk, for his contributions to Canadian music and comedy, notably as an ambassador of Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture and heritage.

Lorraine Segato, for her contributions to the Canadian music scene and culture as a pioneer in 2SLGBTQI+ Canadian history.

Mark Sirett, for his steadfast commitment to the field of choral music as a renowned composer, conductor, and community leader.

SOCAN congratulates all of these honourees on this great achievement!

SOCAN is mourning the loss of iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson, who passed away on Dec. 29, 2022, at the age of 89 (while SOCAN was on hiatus).

Tyson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989, and into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, as half of the duo Ian & Sylvia, in 1992. Tyson became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994, and in 2003 he received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. He was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2006, and in 2019, into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Tyson won a JUNO Award as Best Male Country Artist in 1987.

In 2005, CBC Radio One listeners chose Tyson’s signature tune, “Four Strong Winds,” as the greatest Canadian song of all time. Tyson has been a strong influence on many artists, including Neil Young, who recorded “Four Strong Winds” for his Comes a Time album in 1978. Johnny Cash also recorded the song for American V: A Hundred Highways in 2006. Tyson himself sang “Four Strong Winds” at the opening of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Many in the Canadian music ecosystem remembered Tyson on social media. Fellow cowboy singer-songwriter Corb Lund said, on Facebook: “With a heavy heart, I learned of my old friend, Ian Tyson’s passing… Canada and the world has lost a legendary songwriter, performer, and lifelong advocate for the romance and reality of the West…”

Steve Kane, the former President of Warner Music Canada, said in a Facebook post: “Neither legend nor icon comes close to describing Ian Tyson. He is woven into the fabric of Canada. He brought our stories to the global stage. He helped keep the tradition of cowboy poetry alive…”

Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament and leader of the folk/roots combo Grievous Angels, posted on Facebook: “Ian Tyson defined Canadian folk music. He was a true original. He wrote so many incredible songs. ‘Four Strong Winds’ remains the defining Canadian song…”

Born a British Columbian in Victoria, and raised in Duncan, Tyson was a rodeo rider in Western Canada in his late teens and early twenties. He began to play guitar while recovering from an injury sustained in a bad fall in the rodeo. He hitchhiked to Toronto, and there met young singer Sylvia Fricker, with whom he formed a musical duo. As Ian & Sylvia, they were – along with Gordon Lightfoot, to whom Tyson was a mentor in Lightfoot’s early days – Canadian stars of the early-1960s folk boom that gave the world Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Joan Baez.

Married in 1964, the duo made almost a dozen albums, and wrote some of Canada’s best-loved songs, including Ian’s “Four Strong Winds”, “Someday Soon,” and “Summer Wages,” as well as Sylvia’s “You Were on My Mind” — songs covered countless times, including in versions by Dylan, the aforementioned Neil Young, Judy Collins, and more. As the ‘60s gave way to the ‘70s, Ian & Sylvia evolved into country-rock pioneers. Their band, The Great Speckled Bird, rivalled the Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers in creating a more current form of country music, while still respecting tradition.

After hosting a national Canadian television music show from 1970 to 1975, Tyson’s marriage to Sylvia ended, and he returned home to his first love – training horses in the ranch country of southern Alberta. After three years in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Tyson recorded the album Old Corrals & Sagebrush, consisting of cowboy songs, both traditional and new. Since the 1980s, Tyson released 15 albums on Stony Plain Records celebrating the cowboy life.

The cowboy renaissance blossomed at the inaugural Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1983, where a small coterie of cowboys and cowboy-adjacent craftsmen assembled in a small town in Northern Nevada. Tyson was invited to perform his “new Western music,” and missed only one or two gatherings in the almost 40 years since.

Tyson, a member of ASCAP for most of his life, is survived by a son, Clayton, from his first marriage, and a daughter, Adelita, from his second. Donations in his memory can be made to The Ian Tyson Legacy Fund here. SOCAN extends its sincere condolences to Tyson’s family, friends, fans, and any who’ve ever enjoyed his music, worldwide.

On Dec. 7, 2022, the first SOCAN Connections cocktail party was held at WIP, on St. Laurent Boulevard, just steps away from SOCAN’s Montréal office. It was an opportunity for nearly to 200 SOCAN members, participants in the Québec music ecosystem, and SOCAN employees to meet in person, exchange ideas, network, and — who knows? — lay the foundations for future collaborations. SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown travelled to Montréal for the occasion, and Chair of the the SOCAN Board of Directors Marc Ouellet, as well as Chief Membership Officer Jean-Christian Céré, addressed the guests. They stressed, among other things, the importance of lobbying for the adoption of Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, as quickly as possible, and without any further modification. So did Jérôme Payette, Executive Director of the Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM), who also addressed the audience.  

Here are a few of the photos taken that evening. Visit SOCAN’s Facebook page to see more pictures.