If you were to dig up a gem in a small town like Rimbey Alberta, you might first take a look around to see if someone’s playing a prank. Next, you might think “This must be a fake!” But when you find out the rock is the real deal, you’d exclaim “This is my lucky day!” Tyson Prior is that kind of musical find. Live and local, he’ll be at the Beatty Heritage House on Sat., Feb. 17 for an acoustic concert featuring original music from his recently released EP, new tunes from his upcoming CD, and covers from the thick songbook of Americana music.
Originally from Newfoundland, Tyson travelled Canada playing in various bands for the last fifteen years, eventually putting down roots with his young family in Rimbey. Inspired by his experiences growing up in close knit rural communities amongst down-to-earth workaday people, he says, “I write songs that are very genuine and authentic, that reflect everything I’ve lived. They’re portraits of me or of people I’ve known.” He mines the emotions and stories of real people and places, looking for meaningful songs which, in him, elicit a strong personal connection.
Like Ron Hynes, one of his East Coast musical idols and “Man of a Thousand Songs”, over years of performing, Tyson has mastered songs from many genres, from easy listening to hard rock. His true passion, though, falls under the stylistic umbrella of Americana music: a tapestry of traditional country, bluegrass, the blues, and folk, blended for a distinctive roots-oriented sound.
In 2017 Tyson signed with Volocian Studios to record his debut EP “The Homesick”. As a multi-instrumentalist he artfully uses guitar, harmonica, and mandolin to underpin his strong song-writing ability. Songs from the collection range from a blistering paced foot stompin’ song like “Coming Home”, about a far travelled Newfie joyously looking forward to seeing harbour and family again (a tune that sounds like it could be the love child of Buck Owens and Allan Doyle), to the wistful longing of “Lonely Road to You”, a full-on heartache song of unrequited love, George Jones style. He’s currently cutting tracks for a full length album to be released later this year. Musical influences include Townes van Zant, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Johnny Paycheck, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Guy Clark and Dean Brody, to name a few. “Waylon Jennings meets The Band meets Great Big Sea!” Tyson laughs.
A seasoned performer who commits to his audience, Tyson’s recent career highlights include opening for Rodney Crowell (to glowing reviews), being invited to showcase at the Alberta Men and Women of Country, and being named an honoree of the Independent Country Gospel Bluegrass Music Association. It’ll be a good night at the Beatty House, to hear Tyson up close and personal. For more information, call Teri at 403-843-6497.