I was looking at the sky on a cold night and this song came to me in the peace and silence of a Haliburton winter night. The beauty, the stars leaping out of a pitch black sky. And I thought – that’s a lullaby. And it became my Highland Lullaby.
Lord, let me ride on a highway to nowhere….
I still feel the rush driving down that road, with the brilliant green of the trees and the white giants clouds slowly drifting across that special blue of the sky.
Ken Loney and I do three of my songs we did for a Christmas fundraiser.
Would Be Christmas Without You
Follow this link to check it out.
Hey, this is just for fun. I call it the Social Media Blues
Fair warning – you might not want to play this where young children are around or in presence of a Baptist Minister. It’s more naughty than anything else but it does take the Lord’s name in vain and mentions a few things that you’ll have to explain by starting with, “When two people love each other very much…”
And in case anyone thinks that I’ve lost touch with my feminine side, I am singing backup as my alter ego Dame Edna.
So here it is in all it’s gory, er… glory. The Social Media Blues.
Might be the best song I ever wrote. Carolyn and I tells the story of a fictional couple who live through the flooding of 2013 in Minden, Ontario. No, it’s not as big as Calgary and the Prime Minister never flew over it. But the individual tragedies were as big – sometimes bigger – as people lost all they had.
People ask me – “Who’s Carolyn?” I’ll leave that as a mystery. Yes, once again, there’s a lot of autobiography in this. This couple that had been married 31 years – coincidentally, the same number of years Linda and I have been together.
Yes, we just bought our house at Clear Lake after years of being cottagers, we bought the home of our dreams in Haliburton County.
But the song has a bigger meaning. It’s about more than us.
The inspiration from the song came from seeing the river slowly rise to engulf so much of Minden. It grew in my thoughts as I thought of the individual people and their stories – as we talked at the check out in the stores, as one will do in a small town. There are no strangers.
So I dedicated the song to the Minden Flood relief. Ian Pay let me record it at his studio and played bass on the track. My great friend David Bathe came in to play guitar with me. Tammy Rea, a local videographer did an astounding job on the video production. And the unstoppable Marie Gage and her equally incredible husband Don put together the project, the distribution, the publicity campaign and all the rest – oh, yes, did I mention that while they were doing all this Don and Marie were also coping with the damage to their own place?
Everyone donated their time. I donated the song.
I had real trouble ending this song. The tragedy was too great. I couldn’t leave these people as victims. They are not victims by any stretch of the imagination. So I struggled.
Then I played an open stage with Sean, who owns the Dominion Hotel. When he played his set, it was so amazing to see him joke about having “only swim up bar in the county”. He made us laugh – but it was laughter at the edge of tears. It was defiant.
I knew how the song had to end. With the hope and courage of these neighbours of mine.
POSTSCRIPT – I got to play this song as a warm-up to Blue Rodeo stars Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. Didn’t meet Jim, but what a fantastic guy Greg is. The song raised some money – glad to see that – but it has lasted as an enduring song in its own right.
Listen to Carolyn and I
“There’s instant coffee, there’s eggs and there’s toast – breakfast with Jake and Eileen.”
I can see this picture in my mind. I see them at the table with vinyl table cloth in that country kitchen. I see the white mug, slightly stained, that Jake drinks his Nescafe coffee from. I can feel the mix of crunch and softness of the toast. I can taste the jam – homemade strawberry from last year’s crop.
I wrote this as a gift for Linda on our 25th wedding anniversary. I fell in love with these two and their story.
Yes, it’s fictional. Yes, it’s autobiographical to the degree that one can write a future autobiography. Yes, I don’t drink (as much). I take out the garbage. And yes — I don’t dance. But on that night when we celebrated our 25th anniversary, whil, I held her tight and tried not to step on her toes.
Listen for yourself to Jake and Eileen
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