"People have been talking about the demise of the cowboy for the last 120 years but he's still there." -- Ian Tyson

Canada's best known cowboy was born in Victoria, B.C. in 1933. As the son of a working cowboy, Ian Tyson grew up reading Will James' wild west books and started riding broncs in local rodeos as a teenager. Injured at an Alberta rodeo in 1956, he learned to play guitar while his ankle healed. At age 24 he went to Toronto and met Sylvia Fricker. They formed "Ian and Sylvia", married and had a son named Clay. Tyson hosted a national television show from 1970 to 1975. After musical successes that included classic Ian Tyson tunes such as 'Four Strong Winds' and 'Someday Soon', as well as Sylvia Tyson's 'You Were On My Mind', they divorced and he moved to southern Alberta to work as a ranch hand. Singing at a cowboy bar in Calgary, he met Twylla Dvorkin and they married in 1986. They have a daughter named Adelita and now live on the T-Bar-Y ranch in Longview, south of Calgary. Encouraged by his second wife, Tyson has revived his recording career, preferring tradtional cowboy songs. Sylvia Tyson has written her memoirs and Tyson co-wrote an autobiography called I Never Sold My Saddle. It provides 48 color and black & white photographs, never-before-published lead sheets for 11 songs and a complete discography of Ian & Sylvia and Ian Tyson recordings. It's seldom recognized that Tyson is from British Columbia.


I Never Sold My Saddle (Gibbs Smith, 1996; Douglas & McIntyre, 1997). With Colin Escott.

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2003] "Music" "Biography"