At 92, Eric Edwards, more famously known as Alberta Slim, the last of a generation of singing cowboys, can still hit the high notes. In the living room of his Surrey, B.C., home, he ignores the ringing phones of his investment business to warble through the chorus of She Taught Me To Yodel, one of his signature tunes. He demonstrates his window-rattling “echo yodel,” and the years seem to fall away. “It’s a lost art,” he says.
Not entirely lost. Edwards, who rode the rails as a Depression-era busker, is still writing songs, recording and travelling to occasional gigs, most recently to Victoria’s Rootsfest this summer. Though he never had the U.S. breakthrough tunes of Canadian contemporaries Wilf Carter or Slim’s
SPORTS I 89
Stojko’s not exactly slacking off After 24 years of competition, this 30-yearold Olympian from Richmond Hill, Ont., is still spinning. This week, Stojko starts a crosscountry tour with fellow Canadian skaters, including Jamie Salé and David Pelletier.
Only this time, it’s for fun.
BOOKS I 90
When a piledriver’s not enough A look at Canadian amateur wrestlers who get paid maybe 20 bucks a night, and sometimes not that.
Edwards—now and in 1938 (below), his cowboy heyday
For more information on Alberta Slim, visit his Web site at
friend Hank Snow, he had a series of Canadian hits, including his favourite, When It’s Apple Blossom Time in Annapolis Valley. A relentless tourer, Edwards, as his fortunes improved, didn’t travel light. During the ’50s, he had a travelling circus that included a 400-person tent, a high-diving dog, a mind-reading horse, a harmonica-playing elephant and Edward’s leggy wife, “Pearl, the Elephant Girl.”
Fans who collected his first 78 rpm recordings now download music samples from his Web site. Technology changed but never his storytelling style. He left “the love-song business” to Snow, preferring to write about places, people and local legends. “I tell the people, in song, about the history of Canada,” he says. After seven decades of song, he’s part of that history, too.
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