Ian Tyson, Revered Canadian Folk Singer, Dies at 89

Ian Tyson, Revered Canadian Folk Singer, Dies at 89

In 1968, before the Byrds’ seminal country-rock album, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” was released, the two relocated to Nashville, where they recorded two country-influenced albums and formed the country-rock group Great Speckled Bird. The couple recorded 13 albums before they stopped performing. They divorced in 1975.

Mr. Tyson returned to western Canada, where he resumed ranching and focused on his solo career. He hosted a show on Canada’s national television network between 1970 and 1975, but he had almost dropped out of music before he reinvented himself less as a folk act than as a Western one.

First came his well-received 1983 album, “Old Corrals and Sagebrush,” which combined traditional cowboy music and songs of the West he wrote himself. In 1986, his “Cowboyography” earned platinum status in Canada. Over time, he became a familiar Canadian presence in his trademark cowboy hat and stiff-legged gait, ranching, recording and performing at concerts and events like the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev.

And he recorded a series of evocative, stubbornly unfashionable albums like “Songs From the Gravel Road,” about the allure and frustrations of the lonely ranching life. His own life remained complicated, too, including both an endless array of honors and awards and marriage in 1986 to a teenager less than half his age, Twylla Biblow, That marriage ended in divorce in 2008.

A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. Tyson badly strained his voice in 2006 at the Havelock Country Jamboree in Ontario, and a virus a year later caused further (and irreversible) damage.

He returned two years later, his smooth baritone reduced to a hoarse whisper, but his popularity remained intact with the album “Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories.”

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