Ian Tyson lyrics featured in Calgary public art project

A tribute to longtime Western singer and songwriter Ian Tyson was unveiled today in downtown Calgary.

The Calgary Transit public art piece features the lyrics to Land of Shining Mountains, displayed in glass and stone.

Ald. Druh Farrell says the art project, which is on a transit utility building wall at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street S.W., was part of a plan to bring poetry to Calgary’s downtown.

She says when they decided on cowboy poetry, it was clear that Ian Tyson was the right fit.

“We went through the lyrics together of all of his songs and, of course, the Land of Shining Mountains really stood out for us. It is a quintessential Alberta song. It's a beautiful song.”

Tyson says this is the right song to pick because it reflects a modern urban Alberta. The song is off of his 2005 album Songs From the Gravel Road.

“When Ald. Farrell called me, I guess it’d be year ago now or more, I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of what we were doing,” said Tyson, laughing.

“Of course, now that I see it, it’s wonderful and it’s very clear, but I kept thinking New York Subway and graffiti or something.”

Local musicians Chris Gheran and John Rutherford sang on the C-Train, while Tim Hus performed at the event.

Tyson's Land of Shining Mountains lyrics are below the video.

In the land of the long roads

High, lonesome prairies

Dreamin' of the springtime

First crocus in the snow

Coffee in a go-cup

He's headed for the oil rig

Land of shining mountains

Big Alberta sky

The old man in the castle

Red deer and the battle

Rivers in a dry land

Feed the cities of the plain

But nothin' lasts forever

On the Great Divide

Land of shining mountains

Big Alberta Sky

In the night, I have heard the thunder roll

In my days, I have felt the wind and rain

Like the cowboy said, I wish I'd seen the buffalo

Maybe they'll come back again

He's gonna get up early

Try and make a dollar

The only girl he wanted

Took the Greyhound for the coast

But she was bound for leavin'

She will not forget him

Or the land of shining mountains

Big Alberta sky

Land of shining mountains

Big Alberta sky