Stephen Harper: The Musical

Stephen Harper: The Musical

 Guelph, Ontario, CAN
BandJazzCabaret

Veteran Canadian Songwriter. Known for his songs dealing with Canadian heritage, social justice issues, the environment. For many years he was resident songwriter on CBC Radio's Basic Black program so he has a sack full of comedy material as well. New CD out fall of 2012 and booking for it now!

Biography

The historic Trent-Severn Waterway is a beautiful 386 km long series of rivers, canals, lakes, and locks running through Central Ontario connecting Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. It’s been my summer home for a number of years now; at Big Chute on the Severn I keep “The Eramosa Belle”, a home-made eco-friendly houseboat with solar power and a stage on top! I’ve been collecting stories and memories of this great water system, and this project is a dream come true for me. 13 songs written on the river, ABOUT the river, and designed to be performed along the waterway with a series of ongoing summer concerts.
If you know my music, you'll know I'm obsessed with rivers. They run through many of my songs and I've got 1000 of those!
In the summer and fall of 2010 and 2011 I'll be touring the waterway with my riverboat stage- performing the songs from this album and telling tales of the river's fascinating history.

I've been touring around the world as a solo artist or with the folk trio Tamarack for over 30 years. for about a dozen of those years I was a songwriter-in-residence for CBC radio, and my songs have been recorded by over 100 artists all over the world. With Tamarack I did television specials about the Rideau and Grand Rivers, and was commissioned by the Canadian Heritage River Society to produce "The Song The River Sings"-- about 12 of Canada's Heritage Rivers. I was also a contributor to "Canoe Songs Vol 1 and 2", - a fundraiser for the Peterborough Canoe Museum.
Here are the songs:
1. Whistlewing- about a beautiful 19th century steamer that plied the eastern section of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Reading about her gave me pause to think about how the river has been altered over the years by human intervention.

2. This Canoe Runs on Water- The Canoe in my view is the most perfect, eloquent form of human transportation ever created. Many of the finest were built along the Trent-Severn in Peterborough

3. The Maritime Excursion of the Mariposa Belle- based on a story by Orillia’s Stephen Leacock, this tells the tale of an excursion from Orillia through the famously shallow Lake Couchiching

4. The Uneeda Rest- This old hotel still exists along the shores of Sparrow Lake, and this story would have been a common one in its heyday

5. The Song The River Sings/Ojibway Water Song- “The Narrows” between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching has been a gathering place for our first nations peoples for centuries. We have a lot to learn from the stewardship and honouring of the river that they have always shown

6. Nobody’s Rushin’ in Russian Bay- Russian Bay is near the Swift Rapids Locks on the Severn, an idylic spot in the summer; a place to lose the tensions of the city

7. They Don't Call it Pretty Channel for Nothing.- Near Big Chute on the Severn, this is a favourite anchoring spot for our little houseboat “The Eramosa Belle”

8. Does It Come With The Blonde On THe Bow?- Tell me if you’ve noticed this boating phenomena along the waterway!

9. Slow Down! - Sometimes boaters forget that they are not in rush hour traffic anymore!

10. Little Go Home Bay- A Lower Severn Song about a lovely stretch of water that always feels like home

11. Catherine And Susannah- about Canada's famous writing sisters Catherine Parr Traill and Susannah Moodie.. pioneer neighbours along the waterway near Lakefield

12. River Country- about the section of the Trent river that ends in Lake Ontario

13. You Can’t Put A River In A Box--- well, engineers keep trying!

Lyrics

Lyrics from the album

Written By: James Gordon

Whistlewing The Whistlewing was a beautiful 19th century steamer that plied the eastern section of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Reading about her gave me pause to think about how the river has been altered over the years by human intervention.

On the Whistlewing, through the Kawarthas in the spring
Up on the deck you’d hear me sing a steamboat song
On the Whistlewing, surely there could be no finer thing
From Stoney Lake to Couchiching, so come along

And I will take you on a memory ride,
Down the river back in time
When this waterway was pure and clean
Before we started filling it with poisons that are killing it
phosphates phosphorous and gasoline

Back to when the giant white pines stood
Along the shore we thought they would last forever didn’t we?
Let me take you gently down the stream,
Back into the age of steam,
Before we sacrificed these waters to our greed.

Before the martin, lynx and wolverine
Were driven north by our machines,
And pollution took our fishery.
Come with me it’s not too late
To learn the lesson of its fate
The future’s in our history

This Canoe Runs On Water
The Canoe in my view is the most perfect, eloquent form of human transportation ever created. Many of the finest were built along the Trent-Severn in Peterborough
This canoe runs on water
Doesn’t need no gasoline
This canoe runs on water,
Prettiest thing you’ve ever seen

Made in Peterborough out of love and cedar wood
Run your hand along her gunnel and
It feels so good

She floats on dreams and wishes
And tonight I’ll dream of you
You’ll be in the bow, we’ll be paddling down
Into the blue

No one on the river
It’s only you and me
This little paddling song
Carries us along
The sweet Otonabee

The Maritime Excursion of the Mariposa Belle
based on a story by Orillia’s Stephen Leacock, this tells the tale of an excursion from Orillia through the famously shallow Lake Couchiching
See the Grand Knights of Pythias stand proudly at the pier
And the fearless Mr. Smith he is now leading them in the Maple Leaf For-
Ever; Absolutely everyone in town is here except the ones who are not
And the ones who have forgotten It’s Excursion Day on the Mariposa Belle
Excursion Day on the Mariposa Belle

Year’s from now there’s some who’ll tell
Of how they got there late and thus escaped
The fate that befell the Mariposa Belle, but Wait!
I shouldn’t make the mistake of giving the ending away
About Excursion Day on the Mariposa Belle

See the Happy Campers as they scamper
Up the ramps their hampers for their Indian Island Picnic
In their hands the steamer steams
The passengers seem oblivious to the impending danger
That will overcome them soon, but that’s later in the tune
About Excursion Day on the Mariposa Belle

A jolly time was had by all but as the night began to fall
The call went out a shout of “Help, the Boat is Sinking”
I know that you’re thinking
Now the final act of this sad tragedy should play
About Excursion Day on the Mariposa Belle

Straight to the bottom went the Mariposa Belle
Oh well, I guess I didn’t mention that Lake Wissanotti’s
Only six feet deep in the rainy season
And that is the very reason
That our little boat
Was soon once more afloat
Another Excursion Day on the Mariposa Belle

The Uneeda Rest
This old hotel still exists along the shores of Sparrow Lake, and this story would have been a common one in its heyday

See this old postcard, it's from 1938,
That's a picture of a steamer
Out in Sparrow Lake.
That's his writing on the back,
It just says "All the best"-
See you next summer, at the Uneeda Rest

Remember when September simply didn't exist,
And summer was as endless as that first real kiss,
That night behind the boathouse, when I said to him "not yet"-
Is a moment I've had more than sixty years to regret.
But there seemed to be no hurry, whoever would have guessed,
That summer was our last at the Uneeda Rest

Here's the hat I wore when we met at the Port Stanton Dock,
I was playing with it nervously on our first moonlit walk,
Once he teased me, saying that it didn't match my dress,
then he threw it from the verandah of the Uneeda Rest.

Waltzing across the lawn,
Lantern reflections on water,
Photographs frozen in three-quarter time.

I cried all that winter, told my mother how I missed him,
More tears in the spring when I learned he'd enlisted,
I returned to that hotel, but it meant a little less,
My summer was over, at the Uneeda Rest

The Song The River Sings/ Ojibway Water Song
“The Narrows” between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching has been a gathering place for our first nations peoples for centuries. We have a lot to learn from the stewardship and honouring of the river that they have always shown

My ancestors, the Chippewa
Would gather where Couchiching meets Ouentironk
At those sacred

Set List

We play all original material, and can play till the cows come home