35 years ago today, in 1983, folk singer/songwriter Stan Rogers, age 33, died of smoke inhalation in a flash fire on an Air Canada flight which had made an emergency landing at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
The flight had departed from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport destined for Montreal-Dorval with a stop-over in Toronto. He was heading home after attending the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, held annually since 1997 in Canso, Nova Scotia, honours his memory and is billed as "Canada's Songwriters Festival." It's an idyllic setting for a festival as I found when I shot the three-day event back in 2003 for a documentary film on Canadian singer/songwriters.
Stan indirectly got me through a very tense pull-over at the Windsor/Detroit border during one of my frequent driving trips to Nashville a number of years ago. It looked like one of the customs officers was going to refuse me permission to enter the U.S. when he suddenly looked at me and said, "You said you work in the music business?"
"Do you know Stan Rogers?"
"Do you like his stuff?"
Very much. He's a bit of a legend in Canada. He then informed me he had heard him one time on CBC Windsor and immediately went out and bought all of his albums. He paused for a second, shouted over to the other officer working there, asking him if he needed me for anything else. He said no. I got handed back all my travel documents and off I went, cautiously running all the red lights through that seedy part of Detroit, which you do when it's after midnight, to the safety of the southbound I-75.