Over a decade ago, a shy 16 year-old Diana Pops knocked on my manager’s door and handed him a CD with a song she hoped I would listen to. The song was called “Subtle Shiver.” It was beautiful, and I remember being quite amazed a young person could write a song with such lyrical and melodic depth. My daughter Sarah ended up singing it on our Sons And Daughters album later that year.
Since then Diana has gone on to record an album at my studio, tour with me across Canada, and eventually meet and marry my son Micah. Who knew?!
What I also didn’t know then was how deeply ran her creative skills and drive. In past years Di has become a rising star in the art-jewelry world in Winnipeg, creating incredibly unique designs: storied, whimsical artifacts—the likes of which I’ve never really seen before. (see: Diana Pops Fine Handcrafted Art Jewelry )
Di’s work as an art-jeweller has dominated her time over the last couple of years, meaning that she’s been less able to devote time to her music, which is the answer to the question I was asked at a concert in Edmonton a few months back: “Whatever happened to Diana Pops?”
Happily, however, Diana recently contributed a song to the Good Company CD, which is disc 3 of my new Pilgrimage project. You must hear how brilliantly she (and producer Adrian Bradford) took an old song of mine and made it new.
Good Company is a disc of my songs covered by other artists. Honestly, it’s my most prized possession. It’s the coolest thing when another artist covers your song, and I am astonished how different a song can become, while still remaining itself. I’m equally in awe of the imaginative talent each artist brought to the various contributions.
Diana chose to cover “Never Mind,” a song that first appeared on my 1994 Burning Ember album. I wrote the song shortly after a friend died of cancer. He was a young man with a young family. The loss was staggering. But ironically, at the same time, my younger sister Dodi gave birth her first child, Aleah.
One hand suffered loss / the other gain
It was a strange experience to feel the loss of a friend and the joy of a newborn child at the same time, and the song came, I suppose, to help me deal with the emotional conflict.
In the end, all I could say with any confidence was that life itself is a mystery “much too wonderful for me.” And so I wrote:
So never mind what I thought when I was young
Never mind what I think now
Never mind what tomorrow might become
As long as I can sing
As long as I can love
My version of the song was upbeat… Diana’s is darkly brooding. It’s so intriguing to me how each treatment draws something almost entirely different from the song without disturbing the song itself…
…and I wanted you to hear what my beloved daughter-in-law so beautifully did:
…and just for fun, here’s the original:
Other contributors to the Good Company disc are Jon Buller, The Bros. Landreth, Mike Janzen, Carolyn Arends, Glen Soderholm, Bob Bennett, Ego Spank, Gayle Salmond, Jacob Moon, David Jennings, Don Amero and Malcolm Guite.
Over the next months I’ll write a blog about each and let you hear their work.
“Never Mind” can be found on disc 3 of Steve Bell’s PILGRIMAGE project. To sample, read customer comments, and to purchase, click HERE…
To see a website dedicated to the PILGRIMAGE project—including Press files, articles and reviews, photos, and the video single—see: PILGRIMAGE…