I’ve done several music videos over the years:
The first, All For a Loveless Night, was shot in Edmonton and Winnipeg, and represents the only time in my solo career I’ve made any real effort to try to make inroads into the general market. The video got a little airplay from CMT but otherwise not much came of it. I liked the video though… it told a story I felt needed to be told.
Watch: All For a Loveless Night
The next was the brainchild of my friend Jeff Lukin, who thought it would be cool to have Winnipeg rap artist Fresh I.E. do his thing over a song from my Devotion CD: Everything We Need. Personally, I didn’t think it would work, but Fresh did a magnificent job, and Jeff, with assistance from Daryl Hiebert, put together a compelling video to present the track.
Watch: Everything We Need
Around the same time, we shot a simple video of me playing the instrumental finger-style guitar piece Drumheller Circle. This was more to showcase the song for other guitar enthusiasts than anything. My son Jesse wrote the tablature (guitar notation) for the piece and we put it out for others to try. I’ll soon be doing some new videos like this for the two instrumental pieces from my new album: PopPop and the Lads, and Borrowed Shoes.
Watch: Drumheller Circle
The most recent was shot in collaboration with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and used film footage of a trip Nanci and I took to Bangladesh and India with concert footage of the song Deep Calls to Deep— performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at Edmonton’s spectacular Winspear Centre. Fittingly, Deep Calls to Deep was a song I learned in India back in 1992, on a trip that profoundly changed my orientation to the world and my faith. This video is the work of Colin Murdock and Larry Thiessen, who together produced my concert DVD with the Edmonton Symphony.
Watch: Deep Calls to Deep
So now we come to my new video.
Turn it Around is the single off of my new CD Pilgrimage. Co-written with Malcolm Guite, the song tells of travellers who have lost their way, and who need to return to their last place of orientation in order to reset and restart. For me, spiritually speaking, history’s still-point of pure orientation is Bethlehem, some 2000 years ago: a moment in time where humanity briefly saw that at the deepest core of things (material and immaterial) is a humble, self-donating love, which is the north-star of the purest pilgrimage.
Film director Andrew Wall set the video in Winnipeg’s infamous North End, a community Nanci and I and the kids lived in for about ten years. It is a colourful neighborhood for sure—multi-racial, economically depressed, and sometimes violent—yet filled with wonderful characters and rich history. To this day, one of our best friends is an elderly Hungarian woman, Rose, who then lived next door. Her late husband Nick was a retired security officer, whose gypsy-esque violin would often drift on the wind from his yard to ours on warm summer evenings.
There are a few fun coincidences in the video—details meaningful to me but arranged unwittingly by Andrew. The car, for instance, is owned by Rob Armstrong of Koil Hair Studio, a fellow who has cut my hair for the last 35 years. The young actress playing soccer turned out to be Jodi Kristjanson, the daughter of dear friends to Nance and me. The busker, singer/songwriter Jordan St. Cyr, is the son of Gerry and Jan St. Cyr. Gerry was best man at my wedding and I at his. We wrote and performed often together in the early years.
There are also three “easter eggs” that Andrew hid in the video just for fun, without my knowing. I didn’t notice till after the video was released. Andrew had to point them out after realizing I wasn’t picking up on them. See if you can find them… most folks find only two.
Finally, I’m just so proud to record the song and shoot the video with some of Winnipeg’s finest-ever musicians: Murray Pulver (guitar), Alexa Dirks (vocals), Joey Landreth (dobro, vocals), Daniel Roy (drums) and my own son Micah (bass).
Others who played on the recording but do not appear on the video: Mike Janzen (piano), Bart McKay (Hammond B3).
It was really fun to see this come together. Many thanks to Andrew Wall of Refuge 31 Films, and his great crew. Thanks to Paul Kroeker for the terrific camera work… and Jude Zeglinski for set-up assistance.
And here’s what came of the effort: