It’s a hoe down. A showdown. And hell no they won’t slow down.

Among the most anticipated workshop events at this year’s folk fest is Gravel Road Travellers pairing Alberta folk mainstay Ian Tyson with his old pal (and youngblood) Corb Lund who will close the fest’s mainstage on Saturday July 24. Tyson headlined the fest seven years ago; this year he’s opening for Lund. When they meet eyeball to eyeball a few hours earlier on Stage 4 — where the workshop will be held — who will be standing tall and who will be left back in the corral? Has the master become the apprentice? Read on.


Tyson : Label Cornerstone of respected Alberta label Stony Plain.

Lund : Jumped ship from Stony Plain to hip American label New West home to Steve Earle and Kris Kristofferson.


Tyson: Traditional tuneful songs that magnify the arcane details of ranching and life spiced by the occasional wry twist.

Lund: Epic songs but any drunken farm boy can sing along to these quirky novelty tunes.


Tyson: Former rodeo rider; buckarooed on the big American circuits before buying a ranch near the foothill-town of Longview Alta.

Lund : Comes from a multi-generation ranching family that homesteaded near Cardston. Rode in the boys’ steer riding event at the 1981 Calgary Stampede.


Tyson: A Canadian Country Hall of Famer and one-half of the 1960s folk duo Ian and Sylvia. He fronted Great Speckled Bird hosted a TV show reinvented himself as a spokesman for the vanishing West both in song and in person. Released 13 solo albums including a live and a “best of” compilation. Has one gold and one platinum record and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Lund: Played with Edmonton punkers The Smalls who invited everything from jazz to country into their music. As a solo artist he adopted old-school narrative-driven country before hooking up with his band The Hurtin’ Albertans (who will also join him in the workshop). Has released six solo albums and is the reigning Canadian Roots Artist of the Year.

Notable songs

Tyson: “Four Strong Winds” was voted best Canadian song by CBC Radio One listeners in 2005; also check out “Navajo Rug” (co-written with Texan cowboy-songwriter Tom Russell).

Lund : “Truck Got Stuck” was his first chart success although he earned plenty of fans prior with “Five Dollar Bill.”

Hangs with

Tyson: Russell when he’s in town and vaquero artist Shannon Lawlor.

Lund: Ian Tyson. Check “Alberta Bound” for a video of them riding their horses together.

We’re betting on…

Tyson. He has nerves of steel from years of working livestock. And in revenge for being denigrated to opening act on the mainstage he’ll kick Corby’s punk ass.