Courage Highway – Songwriting 2010
Just wanted to write a short blog pertaining to my new offering of original tunes, demo style. My second release of tunes is now ready. I’ve called the release “Hardrock Acoustics” which is not “Hard Rock” as the title might suggest, but rather is an acoustic representation of all the selections of the CD that are simply presented with acoustic guitar and vocals only. Actually the Hardrock reference pertains to the goldmine head-frame that appears on the cover. The head-frame is the last of the many that existed in this wee gold mining town where I grew up. BTW, I took a shot at designing my own cover in Photoshop and I am quite pleased with the results. Whadaya tinks eh?
As per the title of this blog, I am featuring one of the last additions to the CD offering – Courage Highway. Prior to listening to the tune however, I’d like to give a little history of the song and its title. For many who live in my area near Thunder Bay, or often travel that part of the Highway 11/17, you will know that Courage Highway is the 100km stretch of highway that commemorates the courage of Canadian Hero, Terry Fox in his Marathon of Hope run that sadly ended near Thunder Bay when he lost his battle with cancer. Courage Highway starts at Nipigon Ontario on to Thunder Bay where a Scenic Lookout that bears his name exists. It is at the end of the 100 km stretch, a statue in Terry’s likeness stands tall facing west toward his intended destination to the Pacific. Much more can be read about Terry’s effort and the annual run that bears his name toward the run to cure cancer here.
“I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.”
Terry Fox, October 1979 ”
COURAGE HIGHWAY – THE SONG
More specific to the song, however, I have to say there is some direct references to Terry’s Run, but I also view it as a general statement as to how we determine our own destiny. In my thinking, whatever passion one aspires to, there will always be hardships and maybe even failures along the way that will test our will. With faith and perseverance we at times have to muster up our courage, stay the course and carry on. I think an old Chinese proverb says something to that affect, if I recall correctly, ” Fall down seven times. Get up eight.” I think falling down is just a part of life that we simply have to contend with and it tests our determination and courage time and again to get up and start all over again. With the “highway” as the metaphor as to the experiences we encounter along the way to our dreams, I think is fitting because we have to know the destination and if observant, we watch for “signs” along the way that help get us there. I have often traveled the real Courage Highway that exist between Nipigon, Ontario and Thunder Bay, because of my close proximity and am often reminded of the courage of Terry Fox. However, no matter where one lives, I’m sure we all have our own race to run out there on Courage Highway. I think a few lines of my song, Courage Highway, pretty well sums up my thoughts about courage. Hope you enjoy it!
“Ran a lot of miles out there on Courage Highway
There’s time my heart felt tired and torn
There’s a lot of dreams there out on Courage Highway
That’s where legends are born”
COURAGE HIGHWAY – A Song Tribute to Terry Fox
As a further testament to the courage of Terry Fox. Here is a YouTube video. It depicts me and my brother this past winter as we chased down the Winter Olympic Torch Run. We were literally coming back from Thunder Bay and met up with them at Nipigon, so we swung the vehicle back west to chase them the full 100km stretch of Courage Highway. In the end, we finally caught them at Terry Fox Scenic Lookout. I just happened to have my video camera with me and filed the following short video about that event.
ANOTHER NEW TUNE – SO GOODNIGHT
A short tune about a pool hall that closed down in my home town. Seems I’ve been listening to a lot of Guy Clark lately. Very much non-fiction, but some fiction involved, however, as I did exercised some poetic licence. The old man in the song does exist btw, and is very much alive. Hope you like this one too!