Ian Tyson

Half of the early-'60s folk group Ian & Sylvia, Ian Tyson retreated from performing and recording after the duo disbanded in the mid-'70s to become a rancher in the foothills of southern Alberta, Canada. He quietly returned to music-making in the 1980s, releasing a series of albums that focused on detailed songs about the concerns of the working cowboy. Tyson was born in Victoria, British Columbia. As a child he was involved in rodeo, not music -- he didn't learn to play the guitar until he was recovering from rodeo-related injuries. In the late '50s, he began performing as a folksinger. In 1961, he met singer/songwriter Sylvia Fricker and the two musicians began performing together; they also married three years later. Ian & Sylvia and their band, Great Speckled Bird, became popular on the folk scene and released their self-titled debut album in 1962. In 1963, they released Four Strong Winds; the title track, written by Tyson, became a folk standard. Ian & Sylvia successfully recorded together through the mid-'70s. The duo also began hosting a television show, Nashville North, which became The Ian Tyson Show when the couple split up in the middle of the decade.