Bachelor of Arts, English, 1988
I’ve been able to do what I want to do and what I admire in performance.
As a “roving troubadour” Al Tuck is hard to pin down, but he’s content with that.
“Since King’s, I’ve become the kind of performer I hoped and imagined I would be. I’ve had varying degrees of success, but I don’t care—I’ve been able to do what I want to do and what I admire in performance.”
Tuck has been described as “one of the sharpest and most deliberate songwriting minds in music today.” He is an encyclopedia of popular music, familiar with the inside of nearly every bar and club from coast to coast. With a discography spanning nine albums and 20 years, Al has also been called one of the country’s greatest singer-songwriters by some of Canada’s biggest names—Feist, Jason Collett and Joel Plaskett.
Tuck has come a long way since his first days at King’s where, he says, his early singing efforts would have “made it difficult” for his Chapel Bay peers. He started singing and writing songs for the guitar and playing old-school acoustic blues in the Wardroom. He played his first shows at coffee house nights in the campus bar, and says that’s where he grew up musically. Although Al’s education was not intended as foundation for a music career, it brought historical richness and depth to his work. “My liberal arts education at King's and Dal helped me very much with a studious attentiveness to our recorded past” Al muses, “purloined or genuine, it is the thing upon which a young thing feeds, if the wish is to make a mark.” Tuck’s school marks may not have been A’s, but his studio album, Stranger at the Wake, was long-listed for a Polaris Music Prize in June 2013.
Al’s advice to high school graduates in our often career-driven and anxious world? “I would like to recommend maybe a minor in dance, if you're at all like me.”
*With lines from Adrian Lee. Read an earlier article about Al by Adrian Lee in the summer 2012 edition of Tidings.
Posted: Apr. 2016