Lyrics

From the album NORTHBOUND

NO WAY TO STAY WARM

Chorus:
No way to stay warm
No port in any storm
We sailed with our flag unfurled
For a sea route through the ice
To the land of silk and spice
Right over the top of the world

The word came back with the whalers
There are leads through the pack to the west
And we poor ignorant sailors
Signed on for the ultimate quest
For pride, and a place in the story
To puff up our chests and brag
For the grog, the gold and the glory
The captain, the crown and the flag…

Chorus

We made the tip of Greenland
Then battled Baffin Bay
Beyond us lay a mean land
With winter on its way
We hunkered in at Beechey
We’d lost three men by spring
Oh the times were far from peachy, lads
But we still had the strength and the spirit to sing

Chorus

Then died a noble notion
No passage could we make
Upon that frozen ocean men
Our ships we did forsake
In darkness did we stagger
In vain for a friendly coast
And gone was the sailor’s swagger then
And the captain’s courageous boast…

Chorus

Now the people of the Arctic
In their houses made of snow
Pagans poor and rustic
Thought we, what did they know?
Ah but we with our maps and our guns and our tools
Our lead-soldered tins and high tea
Well we soon proved to be but the greatest of fools
We gnawed on our boots, begged for mercy…

Chorus

And now they tell the old tales
With a frown and a shake of the head
Of men who braved the cold gales
And wound up lost and dead
Some would mourn our mystery
They seek our scattered graves
But we’ve all gone down in history boys
Like our battered ships, beneath the great waves…

Chorus x 2

POOR WILLIAM BRAINE

Poor William Braine
By the time the springtime came
It was too late to save him
And so they dug his grave
There William lay
There he’s still lying
Still we stand sighing
By the grave of William Braine

Did you know of William Braine
Or did you come to know him?
No photographs to show him
No souvenirs to save
Whom did William love?
What did William dream of?
Questions remain
By the grave of William Braine…

Oh William Braine
Gone but not forgotten
Spare his soul a thought
In the company of the brave
Oh Franklin’s men
They all went to their deaths then
No chance for them to rest
Like poor William Braine

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE

Wild are the winds that sweep over the snow
Deep are the shadows in moonlight’s cold glow
A ship tossed and stranded, cruel ice all around
Hark, hear the anthem: a fool has been crowned…

Here lies your commander by rank and by name
Glory abandoned, no prize left to claim
The spoils of the quest for prestige and for pride:
But an old empty chest with no treasure inside

I am a fool when it comes to love
No gold have I gained here on Earth, or above
Striving in vain for what fools dream of
I am a fool when it comes to love

Courageous companions, how grim is our fate
How helpless our landing, how hopeless our fate
Exiled explorers, we live in our graves
Alone in the Terror, amid frozen waves…

Dearly beloved, sweet suffering wife
Too far have I roamed to return in this life
No rest shall I know, no home shall we share
I pray for eternity—I will love you there

Nightfall has fallen with the moon from the sky
Daybreak is broken with the sound of goodbye
No breath from these lips, no grasp in this glove

And I am a fool when it comes to love
No gold have I gained here on Earth, or above
Striving in vain for what fools dream of
And I am a fool when it comes to love
I am a fool when it comes to love

BEAUTIFUL BEECHEY ISLAND

Everybody loves to take a trip
And the best way of all is to board a ship
For a marvellous vacation
In a faraway destination

Chorus:
Beechey Island, Beechey Island
Don’t it sound like a lot of fun at Beechey Island
Beechey Island, Beechey Island
You know they’ve even got a midnight sun at Beechey Island!

Everybody loves to stay in style
Northumberland House been around for a while
Many famous names have stayed there
Coming on the ships from everywhere
Now to reach it may be expensive
But the beach is pristine and extensive
And the water and the skies are blue
Talk about a picture postcard view

Chorus

Now they’re coming from all over the place
Seeking the fresh air and the sense of space
It’s the place the explorers frequent
Stopping by on the way to the Orient
Listen now what the sailors are saying:
If you go there, you’re gonna wind up staying
To rest forever beneath the highland
On that beautiful Beechey Island

Chorus x 2
You could take a permanent vacation – Beechey Island!

UNDER FOREVER SKIES

Sun and moon dance night and day
Ancient play of light and shadow
Tiny flowers bob and sway
Summer’s moment in the meadow
Open and close your eyes
Under forever skies…

Stone foundations on the land
Whalebone forms a heavy rafter
Footsteps echo close at hand
Restless spirits wander after
Open and close your eyes
Under forever skies…

Do you seek your history here?
Ghosts of men who came to plunder
They were lost, in fate and fear
Best to lose yourself in wonder
Under forever skies

The mountain looms, the engine roars
We are specks upon the landing
Distant falcon swoops and soars
Far beyond our understanding
See how the falcon flies
Beyond the great horizon
Open and close your eyes
Under forever skies

Dedicated to Ian Tamblyn, the master of Canadian landscapes in song.

OH WHAT AN AWESOME SIGHT

Oh what an awesome sight
Everyone’s out on the deck
Under the northern lights
Over the Franklin wreck
Somebody said it right
We’re steaming through heaven’s gate
Under the northern lights
Oh what an awesome sight

Oh what an awesome sight
Hiking above and beyond
Sun hanging high in the night
Loons on a tundra pond
Somebody said this stone
Was formed of the Earth’s first life…
Sun hanging high in the night
Oh what an awesome sight

The places that we’ve seen
Journey without end
Faces that we’ve been
Like a dream they seem to blend
Bears along the shore
Whales out in the bay
May they wander evermore
As we wonder on our way…

Oh what an awesome sight
Ice castles sail on the tide
The ache of the blue and the white
Gems of a hundred sides
Somebody said this ice
Would quench the eternal thirst…
The ache of the blue and the white
Oh what an awesome sight

THIS MOMENT ON THE SEA

Seabirds wheeling overhead, joyful voices cry
Roll the throttle and I’m flying free
Is it just the wind that draws the teardrop to my eye?
Never mind, there’s no one here to see
Just my Zodiac and me
In this moment on the sea

Standing at the gangway, cameras in their hands
Eager travellers wait impatiently
Keen as little kids to take that wild ride to the land
Climb aboard now, please step carefully
Come and ride my Zodiac with me
In this moment on the sea

Put me in the water and I’m breaking into song
All I need is a burst of speed and a coast to ride along

Yes along the coast of Greenland, out among the ice
Feels like you can touch eternity
Oh yes I’m going back again, don’t have to ask me twice
Trace my little trail across the sea
That’s my Zodiac and me
In this moment on the sea
That’s my Zodiac and me, and we’re free
In this moment on the sea

BOY ALONG THE SHORE

That boy along the shore
That boy along the shore
I wonder what he was looking for?

That lady sitting there
Lady sitting there
Her eyes were closed as if in prayer

I bought a carving from a guy
Had a twinkle in his eye…
Wrinkles in a weathered face
Like an old map
Of a northern place…

The kids outside the store
Kids outside the store
Laughing, joking, swearing and smoking
Then they held the door

But that boy along the shore
Boy along the shore
I wonder what he was waiting for


MONUMENT

There is a monument
Made of cold hard stone
A woman and a child
Together, alone
Out to sea they stare
Where a ship once went
And left them there
Like a monument

In a settlement
On a rocky ledge
Where the wind is cruel
On an island’s edge
Does anybody care?
What was done, what it meant
They took the people there
To make a settlement

Is it sentiment
That we shed these tears
For these hard lives lived
These long lost years
The flag still flying high
Flapping like a tent
What we occupy
Is it sentiment?

This is your testament
This place you’ve known
Where you lived your life
Where flesh meets stone
Where you stood, you stand
In this long moment
You are of the land
It is your testament
It is your testament

Dedicated to the people of Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord), Nunavut.

MUSK OX STEW

Musk ox stew, caribou
Arctic char & muktuk too
Better try a little, wouldn’t want to be rude
Traditional vittles, country food

Musk ox stew, Made for you
Better try a little of the homemade musk ox tew

Arctic games, if you wanna try
Arts and crafts, if you wanna buy-
Arctic life, what do people do?
We have our strife and our good times too
Musk ox stew, made for you
Better try a little of the homemade musk ox stew

Hey throatsingers sing and laugh
Everybody wants to take a photograph
Hey drum dancer dance your song
All the elders sing along…sing along

Here come the fiddles now hear them play
Children running every which way
Everyone together on the old gym floor
You dance and you swing and you dance some more,
Dance some more

Time to leave? Wish it weren’t so
Ship’s a-waiting, you gotta go
Gonna miss those kids, and the elders too
Miss that smell musk ox stew
Musk ox stew, made for you
Better try a little of the homemade musk ox stew
Musk ox stew, made for you
Better try a little of the homemade musk ox stew

OUT UPON THE LAND

I hear humming, coming from the land
I hear humming, coming from the land
Gotta follow that sound
Gonna keep me on the ground, some way
I hear humming, coming from the land
Alleluiah, out upon the land

I smell blood, blood upon the wind
I smell blood, blood upon the wind
Gotta follow that scent
Where my ancestors went, to stay
I smell blood, blood upon the wind
Alleluiah, out upon the land

I taste water, water from a stream
I taste water, water from a stream
Gotta follow that course
Gotta seek that source always
I taste water, water from a stream
Alleluiah, out upon the land

I see glowing, growing in the sky
I see glowing, growing in the sky
Gotta follow that sight
Gonna lead me to the light, one day
I see glowing, growing in the sky
Alleluiah, out upon the land

I feel spirit, spirit in the air
I feel spirit, spirit in the air
No need to fear it,
There’s spirit everywhere anyway
I feel spirit, spirit in the air
Alleluiah, out upon the land
Alleluiah, out upon the land
Alleluiah, out upon the land
Alleluiah, out upon the land
Alleluiah, out upon the land

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>