Not short of a year ago, we lost a Canadian legend. The passing of Stompin’ Tom was a tremor felt by an entire nation. He was a staunch supporter of our distinct nationality and a true-blue working man’s musician — blood as thick as maple syrup. So, the fact that a year after his death a compilation of unreleased songs appears is nothing short of expected.

Unfortunately, there’s always something vaguely unsettling about these bloated, rushed and overstuffed posthumous compilations that make their way into the hands of consumers as soon as it’s deemed “long enough” after an artist’s death. Sadly, in a big way, issuing a compilation of a deceased artist’s work is society’s way of refusing to acknowledge a loss, but in a much larger way it’s simply a cash grab.

What makes this compilation so unpalatable is ultimately not the fact that the songs are pallid and half-baked, but that someone chose to release them just because they could. For an artist as prolific as Tom, who released countless albums of knee-slapping sing-alongs and politically charged rabble-rousing, it’s depressing to see these songs that he deemed unworthy for release creep out into the public. It’s a move that seems cold and opportunistic, and it’s one that Tom himself surely would have been pretty pissed about. The kicker, however, is that this is just volume one.

By Nick Laugher

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