Well another year has come and gone. The pandemic has become commonplace and the horror of the Indigenous unmarked graves is fresh and infuriating. Today is a day that's going to be one of thought and reflection, and a commitment to do what I can to make this country the 'Canada' that we want it to be. Wear orange and speak truth.
In Newfoundland and Labrador today is already a day of mourning, a time we remember the young men who died far away, fighting in World War One, in the Battle of the Somme, at Beaumont Hamel and in Gallipoli.
Today is Heavy.
Here's a song I try to post on Memorial Day, from my first album 'Migration Songs', it's called Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies.
You would think that a year in a pandemic would leave loads of time to be writing Blog entries, upkeep and construction of website, etc. or at least I would have thought so. Turns out, in my case, that is not the case! There was a lot of outdoor activity, a lot of going for drives, a lot of reimagining how to stay connected with others…but aside from a comment here and there, not much computer activity. Seems Facebook and Twitter can keep me occupied long enough to get fed up with them, and that’s on my phone. I rarely open them on my laptop.
Now we’re into year two and the pandemic drags on. It’s time I believe to do a bit of reconstruction on the randomsoundstudio.com website and bring up to date.
Watch this space for updates!
Also, both my albums (Migration Songs and Migration Songs, Too) are available for download on most streaming services. Just search for me…Snowden Walters
The time has come...to share a little more of my mind (these days it seems there's less and less of it to share lol!)
What follows is part of the 'Media Package' I've put together to compliment my music as I promote my efforts. Every word of it is true...except of course it's not a REAL interview! It's a real FAKE interview which I made up to field answers to questions I've not been asked!
For the record, of all the media I have contacted thus far, the only 'real on air' interview conducted was with Darrell Power (@DarrellPowerNL) and the crew of the sadly, now defunct, Radio RIAC, for which I am grateful. I've yet to hear one of my songs on NL radio though I've been told CHMR has played some. However, a shout out to MartinHickey@hfxmusicphile at www.communityradio.ca in Halifax, NS for featuring my music regularly on his 'East Coast Rising' show. Thank you Darrell and Martin.
The Fake Interview: Snowden Walters
The Fake Interview: By Snowden Walters
“Stompin’ Cash with a side of Grungy Country”
(My ‘style’ as described by Scottish Guitar Hero Stun Buns)
FI: Describe your approach to your art?
I see my work as a multimedia comment, or interpretation, of the place and time that we find ourselves in. I’m formulating a sonically visual and thoughtful reaction to the social, political and natural environment that is our world. Through my efforts I’m looking at time in a restraint-free chronological order, meaning to say that time and space are bridged in thought. This permeates throughout all my work, be it the artwork, the writing or the music.
FI: What separates your work from the work of others?
In one sense the answer is nothing if you’re speaking of one artist’s catalogue stacked against another’s, that is, simply as a body of work. We are all reflecting and reacting to stimuli around us. In that case it is all equal art.
But if we look closer and analyse what’s happening in the development of that work itself there are differences that colour the outcomes. That’s why one person’s painting or song or story cannot possibly be the same as the next person’s painting or song or story even though they are interpreting the same, or similar stimuli!
In my case I see this as the possible difference, I am approaching the work driven by an environment where I have been living and working apart from the artistic world. I have not been cloistered by the community that brings support and inspiration to other artists. This is neither a good nor a bad thing, just different from the mainstream. Our past situations and decisions have led each one of us to the very different places we are in our heads. That in turn leads to our varied approach to our art. My own comes from a workplace of technical toil, political interventions, varied and international cultural influences, a yearning for escape and an irrepressible drive to create. My work is coming from a place ‘outside’ of the norm, and hence will have a subtly unique flavour, adding my interpretations to the combined library of the community.
FI: What is it that you bring to the table at this point in life where many are looking at stopping work, you seem to be starting out?
Musically I must admit, I am not an instrumental technician. My guitar playing is a style developed over many years of pounding on the strings looking for musical and rhythmic combinations that are pleasing to the ear, yet not incredibly difficult to produce. I envy the skills of a ‘real’ instrumentalist.
FI: You titled your first album ‘Migration Songs’, released in the fall of 2015. This was your first venture into the public eye as a singer/songwriter?
First ‘official’…I’ve done several RPM Challenge recording projects over the years under the band name ‘Alive Underground’ but yes, this was my debut so to speak. This is a collection of songs I’ve had following me around for a long time, with a few newer tunes as well. I was lucky enough to enlist the photographic skills of Terrence Hounsell to produce the cover and liner photos. The boat and the gulls. He’s my pick for the best photographer around. You really should check out his work, if you haven’t already. I worked with Dave Fitzpatrick as the producer and band on that one.
FI: Your next album, ‘Migration Songs, too.’ continues along the migrant theme…is this deliberate?
Yes. We’ve all come here from somewhere. As far as I’m concerned, unless you still live in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, somewhere along the line, your people are immigrants. All this negativity around immigration I’m hearing these days is doing nothing to improve matters. For me it’s our differences that contribute to our strength.
FI: So, you are a proponent of ‘Inclusion’ then?
Yeh, you definitely could say that. I grew up in the sixties and seventies in a small mining community in Labrador West, isolated from the whole world. The only links to the outside were sporadic air service, the Iron Ore Company’s railway, or foot and canoe travel through the wilderness, south to Sept Isles on the Quebec North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But, the interesting thing about this experience is that this tiny collection of humanity was representative of the planet as a whole. Every kid in town knew every other kid. Because the Iron Ore operations were underway, at that time one of the largest State of the Art engineering projects in the world, we had at least two families from every continent, plus several from every province and territory! The Iron Ore Company attracted a highly skilled and multicultural workforce, and so my peers and I had the unique pleasure of exposure to cultures, music, food, religion and societal norms that were vastly different from the ‘…around the Bay fishing and logging…’ journey that my lineage had been on up to that point. You might say we were cosmopolitan before ‘Cosmopolitan’ was a thing.
FI: Tell us a bit about your new album. The songs have a bit of a different feel to them this time around.
Well, for a long time I’ve been formulating my own ‘Story of Newfoundland & Labrador’. That’s been a product of my working life. As a result of my growing up where I did, I’m removed from the ‘Islander’ identity somewhat, and truly feel I am BOTH a Newfoundlander AND a Labradorian. During my life I have worked and lived away from home, in cities around North America. Everywhere I went I found myself fielding questions regarding my origins, what’s it like? Where is it? What are the people like…all of those cliché inquiries.
At first subconsciously, and later consciously, I started to play the part of an ambassador of sorts for my part of the world. My artwork, cartooning and music, more and more reflected on presenting a picture of our province, and its place in the world.
All artists draw (pardon the pun!) on what they know. I’m no different. This album addresses some of the things I saw as a youth riding the railways into the interior of the Ungava Peninsula. It touches on aging and mortality, it expresses emotion and thought resulting from long periods of time living and working ‘On the Road’. All my work is in some way a commentary on the human condition I suppose.
FI: There’s a historical aspect being introduced on this album as well, isn’t there?
There certainly is. One of the focal points that has evolved in my music is our history. I’m fascinated with how we got to where we are today. How it is that we have the provincial and national identities that we do, how it is that we have the horrendous inequalities that are so evident when we look to how our First Nations are dealt with, why it was that we lost a generation of young men on battlefields on the other side of the world…all that jazz.
FI: You’ve started to piece together a story haven’t you?
Yes. I’m working on a project that I’m hoping to turn into a stage production in some manner. One part of me wants a full-blown Musical, while another part of me is looking at a collection of songs that in conjunction with some historical dialogue is able to be performed solo (and with the Hellcat) accompanied by guitar and/or with a band. To this end I am writing some short dialogue to present during performances that will assist anyone listening who is unawares of the history of this part of the world.
The actual story itself centers around Eric, a young man whose disillusionment with the Old World drives him to leave his home and loved ones to take employment on a fishing vessel, prosecuting the fishery on the newly discovered Grand Banks of the New Found Land. The music and dialogue tell the story of how, as the years go by Eric’s descendants appear in song, to bring us through the centuries up to the present day.
FI: Fabulous. So, what’s next for you?
Well for the last few years I’ve been writing and practicing my songs. Now, with several RPM recordings as well as two full length CDs, I hope to get in more public performance and do some marketing of the music. In the meantime, I’ll be concentrating on some other projects I have in the works.
FI: Other Projects? Such as?
I work in several separate threads of creativity. While I’ve been preoccupied with my musical ventures, my artwork and writing have taken a backseat. I’ve been keeping steady in my long term illustration partnership with The Downhome Life Magazine but beyond that I’ve not been doing much drawing or other artwork. At present I have two cartoon collections to complete, one, entitled ‘Treesn’ is a reproduction of a strip done way back in my past. The other ‘Sculpin Tickle’ is a more recent account of life growing up in the 60s & 70s in Western Labrador. Also, I have a novel in a third draft now entitled ‘Cocoa Pelley’ that I’m looking forward to getting back into. As if that’s not enough to keep busy I will fill some time with painting and continuing to write music.
Thanks for reading and staying with me here! Both these albums are available in St. John's NL at O'Brien's Music and Fred's Records as well as for download on streaming services. Until next time, take care and smile.
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!!