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Various Artists

The Gift: A Tribute to Ian Tyson – 2007 (Stony Plain)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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Rodeo rider, rancher, folk singer and talented songsmith, Canadian icon Ian Tyson has worn many cowboy hats over the years, so it's about time some of his modern counterparts and grizzled compadres pay homage to this songwriting hero.

Canadian country-rock vets Blue Rodeo open this timely tribute record with a roots-rockin' rendition of "Four Strong Winds" - the classic Ian and Sylvia hit, which Neil Young covered on "Harvest." With the trademark harmonies of Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy replacing the duo of Ian and Sylvia, a song covered so many times over the years is given a fresh take again.

The rest is filled with hit after hit that stand the test of time - 15 songs that are taken from each of the 5 decades Tyson has recorded in. Forty years on, these songs still resonate. Other standouts include Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Chris Hillman's cover of "What Does She See" - giving this tune a Byrds' sound, Ramblin' Jack Elliott's take on the great story song "Will James" and Corb Lund's rollicking rendition of "MC Horses."

Aptly titled, overall this disc is truly a gift for music lovers and a long overdue tribute to a living legend.