A year ago today was the Cobourg release date of my album NORTHBOUND, my most encompassing artistic endeavour to date.
NORTHBOUND is an album of original songs and traditional folk sounds, recorded live in Cobourg in collaboration with Inuit, southern Canadian and global musical artists.
The album was a high point in an artistic journey that has lasted seven years, beginning when I joined Adventure Canada in February of 2013 and lasting until the COVID-19 lockdown began in late March of 2020.
After over a dozen trips to the Arctic, countless hours of writing, rehearsing and production, and innumerable public performances, I now have no musical gigs on the calendar, no trips to the Arctic,. And I have| no idea when, or if I will do any of those things again.
Still, I’m proud of what we did. The album was well received, and has sold well in a tough time. It’s on its second pressing. It was reviewed very positively and nominated for Album of the Year at BluesAndRootsRadio.com.
More importantly, people have been contacting me from out of the blue to tell me this project has meant a lot to them, and is helping see them through a difficult time. And that’s the most significant indication we succeeded.
I believe we did because we worked together in creating NORTHBOUND to offer a fresh way of imagining something that meant a lot to a lot of people. We helped imagine a new way of telling the story of the so-called Northwest Passage, one in which Inuit presence and perspective was honoured and cherished.
With everything that’s going on in the world today, I believe the imagination matters more than ever. And I believe we’re going to have to continue to work together across cultures, from different world-views, to reimagine stories that matter to all of us.
I don’t know what comes next for me, artistically, other than my podcast, Goodness Knows. I hope to transcend the distraction and the despair of the current moment sufficiently to do earnest and worthy work again, in the fields of the imagination. It would be a blessing to finally complete my book, which is what I was in the midst of when I first went north in 2013. We’ll see.
I may be homebound, but I can still read my compass. I pray it will always point true.