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Fort Macleod’s Tim Isberg returns to home town for concert

Fort Macleod’s Tim Isberg is coming home for the opening concert of the town’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Isberg, who was raised in Fort Macleod before a distinguished military career took him around the world, with perform songs from his new album Prairie Fire.

“I’m elated,” Isberg said of performing at the Empress Theatre on Thursday, June 27. “It’s all very serendipitous.”

Isberg, whose concert starts at 7:30 p.m., was in the parade held in 1974 to mark Fort Macleod’s 100th anniversary.

On Thursday the singer-songwriter takes the stage of the historic Empress Theatre for a performance that draws from Fort Macleod’s past.

“The album Prairie Fire has songs related to Fort Macleod’s history and I just happen to be performing a show for the 150th anniversary in an iconic, historic theatre of my youth,” Isberg said in an interview Friday. “I mean, how cool is that?”

Isberg’s 2024 history-themed album Prairie Fire has 12 story songs about the people and events from the late 19th century Canadian Prairies and Western Plains.

Isberg’s songs explore such diverse topics as the arrival of the railway, iconic scout Jerry Potts, steamboats on the Saskatchewan River and letters from an early Mountie to his fiance in Toronto.

The songs on Prairie Fire are all about real events and people on the Canadian prairie in the late 19th Century.

The album began to take shape while Isberg was doing research for a paper as part of his studies toward a university degree.

Isberg combined knowledge from his own family history — his great grandfather was an early pioneer in southern Alberta who had an uncle that was a member of the North West Mounted Police in Macleod in 1877 — with what he learned in school, from working at the Fort Museum as a youth, and from what he had learned on his own to feed his interest.

His song Devil on Your Back of revenge on outlaws on the western Blackfoot Plains was a past finalist in the Best Song of Alberta for the Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Fire Canoe is about the steamboats that carried goods on the Saskatchewan River. Letter from Fort Macleod is based on a NWMP surgeon writing his fiance. Country Wife Lament is about an Indigenous woman abandoned by her fur trader husband. A legendary NWMP scout is celebrated in Ode to Jerry Potts.

Isberg wrote about his own great grandfather in the song, Hugh Christie Lancaster, who arrived in this area in the 1800s at the age of 14.

Scattered Bones explores the well-known Cypress Massacre. Steel Wheels is about the impact of the railway. Manitoba’s First Outlaw tells the story of Metis Gilbert Godon.

The title track, Prairie Fire, is about the call to arms in the 1885 North-West Resistance. The final song, Better Times Ahead, provides a hint of optimism.

Isberg recorded his first album Tears Along the Road in 2015 and followed with the album Running on the Edge in 2019, which nominated as Best Album of the Year by the Alberta Country Music Association.

The song Jerusalem Road was selected as a Top 10 song among international songwriters.

Isberg’s 2024 history-themed album Prairie Fire is based on captivating story songs of the people and events from the late 19th century Canadian Prairies and Western Plains.

Isberg will perform all the songs from Prairie Fire, along with some of his earlier work.

A souvenir booklet with the lyrics from songs on Prairie Fire, along with some other information about the people and events Isberg sings about, will be available at the concert.

“I’m excited about bringing the show to Fort Macleod,” Isberg said. “This is huge for me. I’m super excited to stand on the Empress Theatre stage, again, and put on a show that has songs that everyone in the audience will be able to connect to in some way.”

Tickets to see Tim Isberg are at www.macleodempress.com or 403-553-4404.

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