Gumbo Shop: Guest- James Gordon  11/04/99

A: My name is Angela Page and I am sitting in for Maris Hearn's Gumbo Shop tonight.  Live in the studios is a man who has driven down from Guelph, Ontario Canada. His name is James Gordon. He was 25 years with a group called Tamarack and is now doing a mini tour in the area. Welcome James!

J: Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here.  I was thinking how many years it has been that you have been pestering me to try to get down to your show.

A: I have!

J:  And here I am, and it’s not your show.

A:  True! (laughing)

J:  Its pretty close.

A:  That was the secret. That is it then.

J:  (to himself -joking) Well, as long as it is not her show....

A:  I was going to continue with all your credits. There are oodles and oodles of them, but you know I’d rather hear music. It is rather impressive though. There is little you have not done. You have done children’s cds and trio cds and solo cds...

J:  Can’t stop making those cds.

A: Why don’t you just play something,  kick off...

J:  Sing something live ...well the connection with cds and this song is that this is on my newest cd, but it is on my American based label which is called Wind River. The president of the record company lives in Chicago. In his garage is a beautiful old Canadian cedar strip canoe which has been sitting in his garage since he bought it in the 1950’s I think. It deserves to be set free, so I set it free in this song.

             2. James Gordon Live in WJFF’s Studio : Cedar Strip
 

A:  Well I don’t know about others listening but that makes me think about all the things I have tucked away that I have yet to do...and I am not doing them.

J:  I’ve been pleased with that song. I can see in the audience people going “Oh yeah I gotta get to that. My life is getting too short”

A:  That’s it. I love that “keeping the business afloat”, instead of floating in the boat.
It says here that this is your first solo cd, but it is not! Oh, your first "since departing from the band"..oh!

J: That’s it.

A:  I had to keep reading. I see. Cuz I know you have several solo.

J:  I have always moonlighted in the band with solo things. It is time to see what it will be like if I give it my full attention, and so far, I like it.

A:  And you brought your son!

J:  Yeah, brought my son Geordie, wrenched him out of school. (To his son) You didn’t want to do that right? We are going to have a few days together which is good. We spent the day driving.

A:  That is sort of like pulling your canoe out?

J:  Thats right. My son, the canoe.

A:  (Imagining his dream) Always wanted to spend time with my son on the road. So let us go to a new tune, or tell me something to cue up. I am armed here with a lot of...

J:  Well I’ll sing you something that is not on any album.

A:  All right! Good.

J:  This is the segue for ya. We need some sort of segue each time. We did spend all day driving, about 8 hours driving right Geordie? Yeah. I have a great repertoire of songs in which I grumble about the road, because I spend an inordinate amount of time on the road. However, I thought I better show that I don’t hate it all the time. Some things are nice about it. This summer I was in my minivan and I had good company and the weather was beautiful and I was in the vibe you know. Van Morrison was on the radio too. It was the minivan, and it was Van, and all too cosmic so Van snuck his way into this song too. This is called my “Minivan Rapsody”.
Oh! First I have to change harmonicas here. Very fancy.

A:  A lot less work than changing strings.

J:  Yes, thats true.

A:  (stalling..)  Well, it is 32 degrees right now.

J:  That’s farenheit probably.

A:  That’s right.

 J:  That means nothing to me. (they laugh)

          3. James Gordon Live in WJFF Studios: Minivan Rapsady
                 http://www.sentex.net/~gormorse/JamesGordon.html
 

A: Thats clever.

J:  Do you think he will get royalties from that tune?

A: I don’t think so.

J: You may have to make a special law for...

A:  No, I could play you....John Forster has a total song put together from Paul Simon licks and all, and ASCAP says it is his.    That song is typed there, and you said it was new. But I’ve seen you in Bethlehem Pa, taping a napkin onto the mike, something you had written in the van on the way and the band was like “Oh you really going to do that?” So I think it is the first time I’ve seen you play something new that was actually typed.

J:   When I get them home, I get them on the computer there so I can read them.

A:  Well how prolific, honestly, are you? It seems like you can write a kid’s tune...well I am looking here at a huge stack of cds! It is huge...how many songs....?

J:  This question leads very well into a segue because ...

A:  Because you have so many songs anything can lead....

J:  I have two sides of my songwriter brain that work these days. I have the songs like the one I just sang for you that filter down from the sky somehow and I write them. In Canada I have two regular songwriting gigs on CBC radio in which every couple of weeks I am required by contract to come up with a song. They are usually about a given topic, or for a certain situation. I have to be prolific with those; they pop out all the time. Only a certain percentage of them become keepers in my regular show. I find that I have to switch in my regular songwriter’s brain from art to craft a little bit, do you know what I mean

A: Well that is facinating because I have just talked recently with John Gorka, Pierce Pettis and Ellis Paul who all told me they can’t write about “jealousy” about “forestry” they have to have a phrase and they play with it and it gets somewhere. So I am thinking your Van Morrison thing where a phrase comes, a thought grows into a songs, but here the CBC is telling you “A week from today....Forestry!”

J:  That is right. Again, if they say they can’t do it , I bet they could if they switched to the other side of their brain. It really is...you have to examine the tools you use as a songwriter. One tool is inspiration from the gods, but if you take that one away and have it handed to you on a piece of paper instead you have to try to make that association. If this decended from the heavens, what would I ...

A: What form would it take?

J:  Yes, what would I do with it?  I really like it.  I have a lot of fun with it.  In some ways, if I were sitting around like a lot of other songwriters waiting for that penny to drop somewhere, I don’t think I’d write any more songs than anyone else does, but because I almost am constantly in songwriting mode, because of these two shows that I do, sometimes I’ll just keep motoring and songs that feel good to me will pop out for no excuse whatever because there I am doing it.

A: You have an assignment right now?

J:   I have two shows that I do and I brought two cds to demonstrate that to you. They are quite different. One is called “Hometown Tunes” and it on a programme available only in Ontario but it is the morning drive to work show, CBC radio. What happens with that is that people send letters to me with things about their hometowns. Seems to often come from small towns, things that they think are songworthy. Historical detail..or I do...”The fall fair is coming up in October, will you write something?” So they almost get to be comericals too. I had one guy say that his best friend was getting married ; “Here is all I know about him, can you write a song about him?”
So I said, “Sure” The neat thing is, the CBC is in fact paying me so people are commisioning me through the CBC to do this. What it has done for me is that every town in southern Ontario I have been doing this for 6 years now, I have a song about !  So I can tour through....

A:  and be a hit!

J:   ....well I have a personal connection.

A:   Yeah.

J:   The other show I do is called “Basic Black” and it is heard every Saturday morning nationally on hte CBC. I would say that it is the Canadian equivalent of the “Prairie Home Companion”

A:   OK. Basic Black.

J:   Very similar - sort of homey quirky...

A:    Who is the host?

J:    Arthur Black.

A:    Ahaa. Basic Black.

J:    Yeah, and he is sort of a raconteur and does interviews. But what I am required to do is be paid to listen to the programme, if you could get it here Angela you would not need to be paid you would like to listen to it, I know. One item per show I am required to take, to listen to the show and write about one of the subjects that he deals with and I actually listen to the show Saturday, write the show Sunday, record it on Monday and Fed Ex it to him in Vancouver on Tuesday.

A:  Talk about pressure!

J:   It really is, but the angle of that that I have learned a lot about is that they are supposed to be funny. The others are sometimes funny, sometimes they are sad, or sometimes just an historical ballad, but this one is a gun to my head, “Be funny by Tuesday”. I think I got the gig because I have been known to write humorous songs. But to do them on purpose on deadline....I have learned a lot about comedy. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Luckily I don’t have to do it every week. It is twice a month, sort of the deadline.

A:   It is almost like improv theatre..

J:   Kinda.

A:   Like, here is my friend, he looks like this....Go!

J:  (laughing) Yes, in a way. But I could get a book together. People write me such beautiful letters, often in real handwriting...

A:  I remember that.

J:   Yeah!

A:   Actual handwriting.

J:   They tell beautiful stories. I get some songs that are keepers from it. There are a few songs on my regular singer songwriter type guy album that derive from that.

A:   You were saying you could make a book. One page the letter, then the song that resulted..

J:   I think so!

A:   That would be kind of cool!

     (I re-introduce him at this point for people just tuning in)

A:   So you are prolific! That was a long answer.

J:   I think yeah. Yes, Angela (laughing)

A:   Very prolific, good with words. So, I ‘d love to hear something else.

J:   You could sample somthing from both these cd ‘s.

A:   That’d be cool.

J:   Why don’t you play one and I’ll play one. Play one off the Basic Black disc

A:   The funny one

J:   Yeah to see what I am able to do instantly recording wise. There is a tune on there, someone had come on who had written a book about household chores in the 90’s. So I wrote a song “Men don’t clean toilets” So you get to see what kind of fun I have in the studio in the one day I have to do it.

A:   The one day you have to clean toilets? No. Ok here we go James Gordon

4.  James Gordon - Men Don’t Clean Toilets
      Songs From Basic Black - gormorse@sentex.net
       http://www.sentex.net/~gormorse/JamesGordon.html

A:   Some chorous there.

J:   (Deep voice) Thank you very much.

A:   That was you overdubbed by you and you and you?

J:   I think that was 7 mes (plural me). That is how I got to be so prolific Angela.

A:   And not one of you cleans toilets.

J:   No.

A:   So let’s do the live one now.

J:   OK. This one comes from the “Hometown Tunes” There is almost a local connection to this one in that this one comes from up on the New York - Canadian border in Cornwall. This was sent to me by a decendant of the gentleman in the song named Carabou Cameron. He went to the Carribou gold rush in the 1860’s in Western Canada at a time when it was really hard to get there. There were no trains, no roads, but he went and took his wife Sophia with him who became ill. On her  death bed she made him pormise that he would return her to be buried in Cornwall. That was hard enough for a live person, but for a dead person this had never been done before. He endeavoured to keep the promise. The only way he could ship her body was steamship down the west coast of the US. The Panama Canal was not built then. So he went by train, got another ship up the east coast and the Atlantic Ocean, came up through the Hudson River and got her back to Cornwall 8,000 miles and many months later...

A:   Oh I was going to ask how...

J:   He preserved her body in the casket in 30 gallons of whiskey. When they got to Cornwall though he would not open the coffin leading people to wonder whether she was really there or whether he got thirsty on the trip or whether he was an alcoholic necropheliac or anything, it is hard to say. It is a Canadaian legend. The song has a Spanish flavor because of his trip through Panama. It is called “My Sophia” It really needs , who is that guy who plays guitar for Tom Russell? Andrew Hardin. It needs him to play along. So just...

A: Imagine

5. James Gordon Live : My Sophia
      http://www.sentex.net/~gormorse/JamesGordon.html
 

A:   I see on the cd you have in brackets (Cornwall)

J:   I have the towns listed on the cd. Another interesting thing that this project has done for me is that I sort of forgot about that song until 2 weeks ago when I was playing in

A:   Everybody.....Cornwall.

J: Well, I have a regional repertoire now. Wherever I go I have special ones that I can drag up. I have my cheat sheets because I don’t have a lot of these committed to memory but it is nice to make that personal...

A; Well there are just too dam many of them!

J: Everyone has a story!

A: When you were in Bethlehem you said “I wrote this tune about Bethlehem today”

J: Thats right. That local connection is one of the reasons that we people so what we do when we travel. You like to make sure that you have communicated something to them that means something. Singing about them is the easiest way for me, I am having fun with it.

A: Well I wanted to segue from you experimenting with different musical flavours and the fact that you are a hired.....pen....

J: Hired pen, thats good.

A: I am going to play soemthing from your “Awesome Environmental Adventure”

J:  All right.

A:  Jim and Dave, a blast from the ast, which is actually the first way I saw you I don’t know how many years ago, up at Owen Sound and you had to write something environmental for the Canadian Government is that true? Was that what it was?

J:  They had a special year, maybe your country did too, when we actually cared about the environment, did you have one of those? Six months maybe eh?

So they thought we should go around to schools and we got a bit of govrnment assistance to do that and write a programme instead of going into the class and say “Yes you kids should recycle” Do it in a less dry way.

A: It was fun.

J: My friend Dave and I got together, we have known each other since were in high school and whenever we get together we are still basically in high school.

A:  I noticed that.

J:  We can’t get over it.

A:  Well this is really fun. It is like a kid’s folk opera with an environmental theme and here it is.

6. On tape “Jim and Dave’s Awesome Environmental Adventure”
    “Don’t use what you can’t reuse, DOn’t buy what you can’t recycle
     If its something that you wouldn’t like in your backyard
     Nobody wants it in theirs.”

A: Cha Cha Cha. That was a different sound.

J: Yes. Fairly different. Those kids you know. You have got to have the grooves happening, you don’t want them to go “Oh, a folksinger!”

A: How old is that recording?

J: It is probably 8 years old now. 8 or 9 years old.

A: And Geordie, how old are you?

G: I am 13 years old.

A: So he arms you with a lot of kid stuff now for you to be contemporary.

J: Keep hip to the hipsters. It is hard though. Geordie’s big brother Even is 17 and he is in those hipster bands...

G: He is a hipster

J: In those bands so that is one of the reasons that Goerdie and I are stuffed into my wife’s Honda Civic right now. My sons needs the van for a gig.

A: (laughing) "But dad!"

J: Yeah I know.

A: "The guys are counting on me"

J:  That’s right.

A:   So there is a tune you wrote that I just love. I love the 3 part harmony on this cd. Would you introduce it for the folks?

J:   This song is, and I am very pleased that you like it, has been probably one of two or three songs most recorded and covered by other artists which I am also very proud to say, and it is called “The Lonesome Cowboys Lament”. I have recorded it myself more than once. It is on one of my solo albums, but in each case Alex Sinclair from Tamarack sings the lead vocal and I am on harmonies. On one version Gwyn Swick sings the female part and on another and I can’t remember which is which, Melanie Duone sings who now...oh there is the Gwyn version you have. Melanie is currently a rock star in Canada. She left, this is the strange journey that Tamarack has taken, she was only with Tamarack for about a year and a half, and left it to join the Mamas and the Papas when they toured.

A:   I saw her just as her, with her violin which she is sure good at playing...

J: She is yah.

A:  I really love her cd. The one I have must be 4 years old. Well I would love to air this “Lonesome Cowboy’s Lament” I love the harmony on it. You wrote it but you are not singing the lead that must be kind of strange.

J:  Well it is interesting sometimes in Tamarack I would write songs that did not work their way in the repertoire. I was singing this by ymyself and Alex started to sing it by himself because he does solo things. We were sitting round a hotel room one night and he started to sing my song. Cool. So I added harmonies and then we got the band in so it was nice the way it worked.

A: Here it is James Gordon’s tune with Tamarack:

7.   Tamarack - Lonesome Cowboy’s Lament
      Field of Rock and Snow - Folk Era
 

(I gave the time and reintroduced James at this time getting flustered at a label for such a flexible performer.)

A:  How do you label yourself James? What do like to be called?

J:  Do I have to label myself?

A:  I guess not....but how would you like to be remembered? (laughing)

J:   Ah.....I guess I am a singer songwriter.

A:  That just doesn’t do it.

J:  I guess everyone uses that because they can’t think of anything better.

A:  That is too bad. I like to think of myself of someone who could think of something better.

J:  Every now and then someone introduces me with a little thing and I go “Oh, gotta remember that!”

A:  And it’s gone.

J:  And I never do. Oh, in Canada they seem to call me a chronicler. Kinda stiff.

A:  I like that.

J:  I do tend to tell stories in songs about other people rather than myself as if I were keeping some sort of chronicle of the times.

A:  A towne crier.
 

J:  Sounds like a newspaper. "The Chronicle Times". I am the editor of the Chronicle Times.

A:  There are a lot of James Gordons. Christine Ahearn, our station manager knows one. There is one in Liberty on the old Woolworth’s buildingt.

J:  Do you know why it is that I am called James Gordon and not Jim Gordon?

A:  No. Tell us.

J:  Okay. When I started in show business, back in the forties, no in the early 70’s- I was often called Jim and thy would say “Are you Jim Gordon the drummer?” He was a famous drummer with a co-write on Layla with Clapton. He played with all those folk rocky albums of the 70’s. His name is there. It is like when Davy Jones had to change his name to David Bowie because there was already a Davey Jones in the Monkees.

A:  I didn’t know he did that.

J:  Rock history for you. I did not want that confusion especially because Jim Gordon the drummer chopped his mom up he did.

A:  And you didn’t write a song about that Jim?

J:  I think that is illegal in most of the United States so he is in an institution right now. I did not want that association. So James it was. I didn’t know there were so many others though.

A:  You could put an initial in. James “L” Gordon.

J:  Ok That’s good. yeah

A:  What would it be?

J:  “S”

A:  James S Gordon.

J:  I’ll work on that. That sounds very fancy.

A:  How about another live tune. From your purple file there?

J:  I have a purple file of new tunes. This is actually on the new album which is called Pipe Street Dreams after my little recording studio. It has a nice tale to tell, it is another Hometown tune. It got to be a keeper because it seems to have rung a univeralness to it somehow. Comes from the little town of St. Thomas, Ontario, famous for being the place well over 100 years ago, that Jumbo the Elephant was killed. He was killed by a train. The Grand Trunk Train came through and knocked him flat it did.

A:  It is hard to get an elephant flat.

J:  We can elephant jokes now?

A:  I was just thinking (laughing)

J:  (As if posing the joke question) How do you get an elephant flat?

A:  No, I just wanted a vision...

J:  Well it turned out that because I get all this cool stuff in the mail I got all sorts of background including the fact that Jumbo belonged to PTBarnum who, as you may know, invented publicity.

A:  Yes, as long as you don’t get the name...no it doesn’t matter how you spell the name..what is it?

J:   I think it is something like that. And a sucker is born every minute. He decided to buy this elephant from the London Zoo and they said “Fine”. Then before he made the transaction he said “Well wouldn’t it be better if they had said ‘NO WAY’” It would be better for publicity if a great fuss would be made about this elephant.

A:  Otherwise it is a one liner.... “P T Barnum ...

J:  Buys Elephant”. So he paid British people to complain and write nasty letters to the editor saying “You can’t take our wonderful Elephant!” They did not care about this elephant before this. So speeches were made in the House of Commons and a great alarm was raised. He eventually paid a king’s ransom for the elephant amidst all the protest. By the time he got to America Jumbo was huge. He was a star. He toured for about 20 years which is why I identified with him a lot I think. Some say it was not an accident that killed Jumbo because, there is a grassy Knoll theory. SOme say it was either murder because PT was tired about how ornary Jumbo ws getting and the reason they think it might be murder was that within a couple of hours in this remote Ontario settlement from NYC appeared the world’s leading taxidermost.

A:  For elephants.

J:  Yeah. They cut poor Jumbo up. They toured his bones for years for after. His skin separately which they preserved in Tufts University, not Tusks University.

A:  In whisky.

J:  30 gallons of whiskey. The other theory is that he was saving the life of his little elephant friend Tom Thumb at the time as a last heroic act. Or there is just the plain suicide theory. He had enough, he saw the train and thought, “here is my chance”.
When the person wrote the letter I thought “This is a gift” There is a song in here and this is it.

8.  Live in the studio  James Gordon - Jumbo’s Last Ride
 

A:  So you said you identified with him touring for so long. It made me think of all those hours. What do you do? Do you listen to the radio, performers?

J:  Books on tape. A real saving grace. Geordie and I have some of them on this trip with us.

A:  What do you have?

J:  Murder mysteries, Jack London, Call of the wild I think. Stuff I wouldn’t pick up to actually read. It is tough. I am not making a criticism about your country in particular her but what you can get on the radio when you can’t get WJFF is pretty pathetic. It really is. A lot of the time.

A:  So you go armed with your own..

J:   I can write a bit in the car. The thing about travelling solo now is that with the Band there is always chatter and companionship, by yourself it is hard to keep oneself amused but I can actually think and write and I can sing! Do you sing in the car?

A:  Yes!

J:   If I did that in the van with the band they’d go “Ok James”

A:  I sing along when I play a cd here, loudly, nobody knows.

J:  You are supposed to.

( I take a break to promo upcoming shows and do the weather)

A:  I was thinking James you could do the weather Canadian after I’m done (meaning celcius) What would that be....

J:  Snow, Snow ...

A:  (laughing) What would that be 45 - 50? Do you subtract 32 degrees first and then multiply it by 5 somethings?

J:   I can never do it. It is chilly.

A:  You already had snow up there?

J: Yes we were ankle deep when we left this morning.

A:  Oh my goodness. Is that coming our way?

J:   It was the first major one in Southern Ontario. The first of many is what they are saying. The farmers at any rate.

A:  Are there a lot of farmers up there?

J:   Yes.

A:   Are they selling their places?

J:   Yes.

A:   What is going on?

J:   We travelled today through, I don’t know if you know about what is happening in the Niagra fruit belt. North of Niagra Falls, because it is the southern most part of Canada it has the longest growing season and some reasonable soil so there are a lotof vineyards and fruit orchards which we just can’t do very many other places in the country. It happens to be pretty darn close to commuting to Toronto or Hamilton, or Buffalo New York. So the land is worth much more for condominiums than for fruit.
They are dissapearing really fast. It is the same pretty much anywhere. I just played a couple of weeks ago at a world wide conference for sustainability in agriculture and the general word is -no - it’s not.

A:   Wow.

J:   Pretty sad really cuz Canada and the United States too it had a resource based economy and those resources which was the land a lot of the times (that is what we Canadian songwriters tend to sing about so much- our land) it is going fast folks.
Interesting times for sure.

A:   It is really hard to fight that mentality of “We don’t need that land (for growing) we can just go down to the supermarket”

J:   Yeah. And we are under pretty big pressure right now since your nice country and my nice country agreed on this free trade deal it is a lot easier now for large American companies that already have the clout financially to come in and do major developements that us poor Canadians couldn’t quite do before. So that is a growing problem to.

A:   A growing problem (pun)

J:   It is not so much Americanization because it s not so much a cultural thing it is just a corporatization. We were not as corporate based as you were until recently. We are getting there. I can sing a crabby song about that if you like.

A:   Go for it.

J:   Crabby song about that. And after the song tell me if this is a problem in your neck of the woods.

9.   James Gordon Live : Back Before Wal-mart
      (Used to spend the money where it was made)
        http://www.sentex.net/~gormorse/JamesGordon.html
 

After this I played out station disclaimer.

J:  Oh, nice.

A:  I wasn’t thinking when you were singing that song, you didn’t need a particular town in brackets after it.

J:   No it is any town.

A:  We just had our elections here. One of the issues, in our call in talk programme tuesdays (which is where I got the disclaimer) people called up candidates and said “What are you going to do about main street in Liberty?” People drive south to Middletown to go to the huge Gallerias and Wallmarts. We have in Liberty, all these signs in the windows...”Please call Jim Gordon t rent this space”

J:  Yes. Yes. Well as a traveller, the thing that amazes me is -because I have written that song I often get reuests to appear in communities going through this fight - each time they can’t see what is down the road. There must be a biblical analogy that you can make here. What they see is cheap sweet pants. They are not so isolated that they can’t go to the next town and see what has happened to those main streets. They all say without exception “Well, that won’t happen to our main street, and we need those cheap sweet pants, so lets do this” It is very strange to see this process continuing. In Canada, one of the reasons I wrote that song is that we, as I mentioned before, up until a few years ago Walmart could not come to Canada.

A:  Oh yeah?

J:   It wasn’t the way our government worked. Now with free trade we can’t exclude them, and we can’t use our environmental laws that were once better than yours to kep pollutors out because that would be threatening free enterprise.

A:  Yeah, don’t want to do that.

J:   No. So we had to back off on the advances that we made with the environment too and we have had to swallow our pride a lot and accept this corporate world that was one of the things that I think, and you would be better than most at being able to identify this I think it was a bit of a Canadian characteristic that we weren’t quite as well....capatilistic and corporate minded.

A:   I moved to the States at 16 and I noticed quite a lot of differences, even in the last 10 years. But later tonight I will play you a song about Wall-mart coming to town and he has a line “I didn’t know what those cheap clothes would cost”

J:   Oh thats good. Geez I should have used that. (laughing)

A:   Well I won’t play you the song so you can say, “No I never heard that song”

J:   Yeah..do do do do do do do

A:  So you are playing in Liberty tomorrow night

J:   Rowayton CT the next night. Do you know where that is?

A:   Yes I do. It is on the sound.

J:   It is not on any of my maps. Then I am back up to Ithaca for Bound For Glory.

A:   Right. Good radio show.

J:   Almost as nice a radio show as yours.

A:   Neat. Then you have to get your son back to school. He doesn’t want to be missing all these days.

(His son laughs)

A:   Before you play again I’d love to know who you admire -Canadian writers. I see you at different festivals and that is probably the only time you get to see other people, sinc you are out playing.

J:   I know. Well I am a big fan of Willie P Bennet, do you know him?

A:   Oh yeah.

J:   It is a very strange Canadian thing, he tours as the side man for Fred Eaglesmith.

A:   I know that is strange.

J:   Willie is a much better know (whispering) and maybe a bettter....

A:   Where is that disclaimer?!

J: ...songwriter than Fred. I am a fan of Freds too. He does wonderful stuff. As you know we have a greater proportion of songwriters per capita in Canada than anywhere it is. One of my neighbours is Stephan Fearing.

A:   Oh really. Neighbours? I tried to get him here. He promised.

J:   Well he is a lyer and a cheat. A nice guy. Geordie don’t tell him that I said that.
We will get him here.

A:   A very talented guy. I like him.

J:   Very clever songwriter as well so. We have tons of them. It is interesting, it took until I came to the United States to perform regularily for me to take that perspective and identify a little bit about what a Canadian songwriter is that separates them from American songwriters and there are a few generalizations that you can safely make.
We tend to...how do I say this so it is not a criticism, we tend to be less introspective.

A:   I agree with that.

J:   You agree with that?

A:   Much more into defining terrian, talking about history, less touchy feely I and me love stuff. I think so.

J:   One of our known traits is modesty and insecurity because of this big thing right down south of us, you know. Huge, bigger than Jumbo the elephant. So we are less confident perhaps about why would someone be interested in the fact that I broke up with my girlfriend. We don’t do that we sing about other people - tell stories. I’m not, those of you hearing me for the first time may say “That guy writes weird stuff” I am not that unique in Canada. There is a tradition of people, Stan Rogers being perhaps the best know example, as someone who tells stories either historically or geographically based.

A:   Or Keelaghan.

J:    Keelaghan too ya. That has become a Canadian characteristic of which I am proud to be a member of that...

A:   Don’t end with a prepostition now...

J: (laughing)

A:  You were strugling.

J:    of which I have... I know that’s right. .. of which I am proud.

A:     Always liked that Churchill quote when someone said “You should not end a sentence with a preposition” He said, “Yes, this is something up with which we should not put”

J:    Yes that is right (laughter) Oh, a song. Ok. I did my cheery on the road song so I will do a crappy on the road song.

A:   Fair.

J:   I will play this since it is time to say goodbye.

      10. James Gordon Live - Isn’t it Time to Go Home
      They call it playing but it feels like work. (About the musician’s life.)

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