Ian & Sylvia

Canadians Ian Tyson and his wife Sylvia Fricker met in the coffee houses of Toronto. With Ian already established on the scene, he quickly realised that Sylvia brought with her a quite different repertoire from the early 60s norm. Immediately attracting a following with their mix of English, Celtic and American ballads, they began to add their own material, including ‘Four Strong Winds’ and ‘You Were On My Mind’. Signing to Vanguard Records, they released seven albums between 1963 and 1968. On the sixth album they gave Joni Mitchell one of her earliest covers with ‘Circle Game’ and went on to offer the first cover of Dylan’s ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’. At their height they were second only to Peter, Paul & Mary in popularity terms with their gentle and heartfelt delivery influencing acts such as Fairport Convention, Jefferson Airplane and Gram Parsons.

Following the duo’s personal and professional split, Ian Tyson set out to re-establish himself as a solo artist. 1975 found him trying to make it inNashvillewithout success, leading to semi-retirement and a return to his ranch, but in the early 80s Columbia Records showed interest and released two albums. He followed with the self-financed “Cowboyography” which became an unexpected hit in 1986. Staying with songs about cowboys, cattle and ranching, a world he knew and lived, he cut a series of fine albums during the 90s, demonstrating his writing maturity and well-established vocal talents. He now works within cultural and environmental fields, heading a movement to reclaim the purest aspects of the West from mainstream American culture, while still releasing albums on his own label.

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