It’s time for Tommy Hunter to say goodbye.The legendary singer and staple on CBC television for almost three decades is touring one last time.
“I just felt that I wanted to get out while I could still sing and entertain,” Hunter said. “I’d rather say goodbye when I’m still on my game plan.”
Hunter cut his teeth and honed his chops playing guitar on the road from his teenage years. After establishing himself on the touring circuit, he was a regular on the television program Country Hoedown and invited to host a weekly radio program.
After Country Hoedown ended, Hunter was asked to lead a new television program, called the Tommy Hunter Show, a 30-minute black and white program that lasted for 27 years.
“It was a total of 36 years I was coming into people’s living rooms,” Hunter said.
It’s that relationship that Hunter, who turns 74 this week, will be revisiting as part of his farewell tour.
“Our whole show is a trip down memory lane,” he said. “People grew up with me in the early days of television.”
Hunter shares stories from his decades in show business, which includes interactions with his fans.
“They’re funny, just funny, funny stories,” Hunter said. “I have no writers – I just tell you what actually happened.
“I like making people laugh – it’s a good feeling.”
The tour brings Hunter to Nanaimo, which holds a lot of memories and stories for the singer as well. The abundance of palm trees readily springs to mind and he often told his American fans about the balmy climate in parts of Canada.
“That always knocked me out,” Hunter said. “They were the best palm trees – they could live through anything.
“They get a lot of great weather in B.C.”
He also took his first floatplane ride out of Nanaimo harbour, after watching them land the day before from his room at the Malaspina Hotel.
With so many memories on the stage and among his fans, retiring may be the biggest challenge of Hunter’s career.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to say goodbye.”
Hunter performs April 2, 7 p.m., at the Port Theatre. Tickets $52.50; $47.50/members.
Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.