But, before there was a Canada Day, we in Newfoundland and Labrador had Memorial Day. I'm posting a review I wrote on another Memorial Day, with a few edits. The message is still the same...a senseless waste.
"The Danger Tree: A Review
I’ve just finished reading David Macfarlane’s book ‘The Danger Tree’. Unexpectedly, I found it incredibly touching and emotive. Why ‘unexpectedly’? Well, books rarely have much of a long lasting effect on me emotionally, aside from an occasional buildup of suspense during the development of the plot, or sometimes a chuckle when I find something humorous. But this book is different. This is about where I am from; about my homeland.
The book tells the tale of the Goodyear family of Grand Falls, and points beyond, around the Bay. At first I thought the story was a work of fiction set in a framework of historical accuracy, written by a Newfoundlander. I was well into it before I realized that this was a personal account of several generations of a very real family, written by a mainlander! The tale took on a whole new seriousness after that epiphany. In fact, in some instances I went back through passages I’d already read and was rewarded with a deeper appreciation for just what Macfarlane was writing.
For anyone interested in an account of life in Newfoundland that encompasses the turn of the 20th Century, the First and Second World Wars, Confederation and the years following, this story is a great start! It was however Macfarlane’s description of the suffering in and out of the trenches of France that pulled at me. His words describe in no uncertain terms the futility, stupidity and complete waste of life, limb and mind that war most certainly is. He discusses also how the loss at Beaumont Hamel of so many of Newfoundland’s finest young men, affected the Nation [of Newfoundland]. I have often pondered this myself, how has the tragedy affected our relatives and homes, and our economic development? They had so much potential stolen away from them by the stupidity of mankind. We may have had great leaders, great minds, but we'll never know! I can’t reflect for too long on these thoughts without feeling a mixture of deep sadness and burning anger at the insanity that grips humanity over and over and over again!
In respect to David Macfarlane’s work and certainly to the sacrifice made by those involved in the many conflicts Newfoundlanders & Labradoreans (as we are now termed) have been thrust into, I’m making available for download, a song I recorded in the fall of 2015.
“Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies” is my heartfelt yet woefully inadequate tribute to all those affected by military conflict, then and now, as told through the eyes of a Blue Puttee. "
They will not be forgotten.
Like I said...
We've completed the album but can't access the site...so...here it is on this site!!
Well then! 13 January, 2020 has come and gone...long gone, and a couple of blizzards later, here I am, updating my site, (which is about all my arms have the strength for after all that shovelling!)
A full year has passed since I took the stage at the Black Sheep on Water as my descent into the madness and chaos of the Open Mic continues. I’ve had a dozen public performances since then, so I’m starting to get used to it…thankfully!
As I was saying…13 January, 2020 has come and gone. On that particular night I had the thrill of HOSTING the Open Mic at The Ship Pub, so that’s a benchmark for me! All went well and without a hitch, at least until nearing the end. The session was due to end at 11PM but by 11:30PM there were still people signed up! I was unable to stay but the bartender said all was good and that it was ok for those people to continue playing. Ah. Good then. (My apologies to Carol and Donald for my having missed their performances!)
All in all, I am happy with last year’s activities, including the release of my second Studio Album, Migration Songs, Too. Now I’ve got to set more goals and go after them! Until next time, take care and stay well!
...and good luck with the winter!
I've been meaning to update this site with some comments on the songs on 'Migration Songs, Too" (For those who are unfamiliar with this album, it is my newest collection of songs released on CD in July).
I know that I really enjoy when artists talk about their songs and stories, their inspirations and influences. So, I figure that's something I can do to promote the music, and perhaps generate some dialogue...let's see...
All the Way to Sept Isles
When I was a child we regularly travelled by train to and from Western Labrador to the St. Lawrence River town of Sept Isles, Quebec. This ride embodied the blending of distinct cultures, the First Nations peoples, the Metis, the French, English and other nationalities. Global demand for Iron Ore had cut the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway hundreds of miles into the Wilderness. I started early on to contemplate the personal relationships that develop when societies meet. I especially remember watching native people walking along the rail lines and feeling very odd with the whole scenario. As a youth I didn't understand the things I understand now.
As I pondered the events that might have led these First Nations people to be there, walking along the track I got to thinking about how cultures mix and blend over time. What if these two kids, one the descendant son of European settlers, and the other, the daughter of Nascopi parents ('Nascopi' is the name of one of the groups of native peoples that lived and traveled around Labrador West) a few years on, were to meet and fall in love? What if? I'm certain that some form of this scenario has played out countless times across our country. I like to think that this thought is a part of the fabric that I hope will help to heal the wounds between our peoples.
Hey...is there anyone out there that has not been worried about the direction politics and society seem to be leaning? Nationalism, Racism, hate politics, lies, deciet, bigotry...and on and on and on!
Well, it's been bugging me for years. What's this 'Race' stuff anyways? there's only one race...that's the Human Race. So get over it!
We are all together.
We are all the same.
Here's a song from the new Album delivering my message of inclusion! Hope you like it.
Hey there, well it finally made it! The new recording CD 'Migrations Songs, Too' Has arrived and we went to Bonne Bay for a boat tour/CD release...and an incredible few days of singing and laughing with the very talented Parsons Family and several other friends.
Here's a pic of us singing and playing aboard the Bonne Bay Boat Tour, which the Parsons Family had arranged for a private cruise of a hundred people. A great time was had by all!
More exciting news!! We are playing an afternoon matinee 03 August at Sharky's Pub in Conception Bay South, 120 Conception Bay Highway! Come one, come all! It's gonna be a blast!!
Hey there! It’s here!
My newest CD collection of songs entitled “MIGRATION SONGS, TOO.” I’ll be making available through O’Brien’s Music, Fred’s Records and of course, through myself!
Contact me at email@example.com or through my website, www.randomsoundstudio.com
$15.00 each ($20.00 if requiring postage).
Here's a cut from the album for your enjoyment. It tells the tale of Eric, a young man deciding to leave his native land to engage in the newly discovered fishery on the Grand Banks of a New Found Land.
Also, watch here and Social Media for notices of Public Performances!
Whew! It’s been a crazy past few months! Between working, recording, performing, drawing, writing and generally staying busy with a plethora of activities, there hasn’t been much time for website reconstruction (a phase I’m into now!) but with luck and favour, that will change. I’ve got some great ideas for getting the site back into the swing of things!
But first…Do you remember that weekend last summer, you know, the one where the Hellcat and I went into the hinterlands up behind Avondale with recording phenomenon Larry Hennessey? Well I’m delighted to say that just last week I approved the final proofs for the production of the CDs AND I just got an email that they've been shipped!
Woo hoo…album number 2!!
As with all things, there have been changes to this piece of work. Initially it was going to be a story concept loosely built around the settlement of the New World…and in some ways it is, however, there were some tunes I wanted to include that weren’t particularly in that theme. I realized that what I had was in fact more songs that led to the title change of the album to “Migration Songs, Too.” The history lesson can wait.
On this album I have the considerable skills of Larry Hennessey, radio star, recording engineer, producer, musician and ‘friend since High School’. In addition, on three of the songs the masterful fretboard technician Danny Casavant lends his talents to my delight. And as always, I have the voice of the Hellcat bringing out the feminine edge and giving me the sweet backups. I am honoured to be in such company.
Despite the similarity in album titles [Migration Songs (2015) and Migration Songs, Too. (2019)] the album artwork could not be more different! For the first album I had the photographic strength of perhaps Newfoundland and Labrador’s most interesting Photographer, Terrence Hounsell, provide the wicked clear shots of the seagulls in flight (and the boat!). On the second album there’s a capture of an Infrared Snowden in full flight, bold and colourful, and glowing in the heat. The Hellcat took those, and I took a shine to them.
I like that both albums are in some ways very different and yet, similar in context. Different Producers, different design, same artist’s interpretation. Watch this space for an update when the album lands!
Here it is ... March month, or as the elders would say (and still say, now that I am approaching 'Elder' status myself - some would say I'm already there!) the "Long, hungry month of March".
Such an endearing description to describe the time that historically meant your food stores for winter have depleated!
Anyways, these days we have grocery stores! Praise the farmers and fisherfolk!
Here's a plug for East Coast Rising 97.5 Community Radio (#EastCoastRising) (@EastRisingCIOE) (communityradio.ca) in Halifax Nova Scotia, who have been playing East Coast Music regularly, and have featured some of my work. I am humbled to share the lineup with so many musicians and songwriters I admire!
I'm including this song, 'Old Irish Wake' from my first album, 'Migration Songs'. It's a song that means more to me than the sum of the words. In case you're wondering, the lovely children's voices at the end are from when mine were much younger, and we sang around the table!
Thank you Dermot!
As an added treat I'm also posting for the first time ever, a brand new song! It is a song with a message of inclusion. With the way things are these days I feel compelled to comment. We are all together. We are one.
Here is 'Shine on Me Shine on You'. Enjoy!!
Feel free to leave comments or simply say hello!
All the best for all of your days!