NEW VIDEO RELEASE - 2023 Solstice, Talk to Me
June 21 is a special day for me .. it is summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the start of summer, and it is National Indigenous Peoples Day. My song "Talk to Me" is a good fit for this special day because the song speaks to the ages of time and peoples from the perspective of ancient trees that have seen it all. If only they could speak! The song was recorded on Old Woman Bay on the east shore of Lake Superior, a beautiful and special place.
Close to Home is a song about a new 96 bed Long Term Care home that is being built in Deep River. This extended video promotes the project and encourages viewers to support it through donations at www.drdhfoundation.com. The song was initiated from a friend asking if I could write a song in support of the project about a year ago. "Close to Home" emerged a month later, then a group of local musicians were brought together to develop and record the song and this companion video. The song speaks to how wonderful small town living is, and how fortunate we will be to have greatly expanded capacity for long term care "just down the road". Please consider supporting this important project http://www.drdhfoundation.com
Stone Fences – The old stones fences throughout the Ottawa Valley inspire me, and there's nothing quite like the fences on the old farms along the Opeongo Colonization Road that runs from Farrell’s Landing on the Ottawa River near Renfrew to Opeongo Lake west of Barry's Bay. What I see in these fences is the decades of determination and hard work that European settlers had to endure in the late 1800s to turn forested stony hills into marginal farmland. With many farms long since abandoned, forests now occupy the fields, with moss-covered stone fences permanently marking this period of development of the Ottawa Valley. This song is part of the folklore show Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley, available as a house concert.
This video was recorded at the Upper Ottawa Valley Heritage Centre (Pembroke, ON) during a showing of the folklore show "Forgotten Memories of the Ottawa Valley" on 27 January 2023.
NORTH RENFREW PERFORMING BATTLE HILL
North Renfrew is a new folk music group from the North Renfrew district of the Ottawa Valley (Canada). The Ottawa Valley is known for its unique culture and traditional music, and this new group is another variant of Canadianna, rootsy folk music. The folk music group includes Marc Audet, Alastair MacDonald, Jessica Grace, Kurt Penny and Bradley Audet. We share a love for creating great music, and we are available for folk festivals!!
Battle Hill is a song about the construction of King's Highway 17 in 1925, when land surveyors had to battle a rugged section of the Canadian Shield to upgrade the Pembroke Mattawan wagon road into a road suitable for the earliest automobiles. Older topographic maps show the height of land between Bissett Creek and Deux Rivieres as Battle Hill.
On 12 May 2022, Marc Audet and Paul Weber shared a show featuring our songwriting interests, including songs about Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. BORROWED TIME, is the subject of this video, with accompaniment by Bradley Audet (in our prototype folk music group, North Renfrew). For more music, visit www.marcaudetmusic.com. Thanks for viewing this video.
North Renfrew is the newest folk music group from the Ottawa Valley, named after the district of the Valley where the members reside. The group first performed on a festival stage at Deep River Summerfest on July 31, 2022, with a view of the Ottawa River and the Laurentian Mountains off stage right. The song performed in the video, "Talk to Me", characterizes the unique historical features throughout the Ottawa Valley. NORTH RENFREW is available for folk music festivals!!
VIDEO RELEASE - The Ballad of Rose McKenna
1. Another Chance
Another Chance is an introspective song about somehow going back in time to make life decisions a second time, if that was somehow possible. This romantic folk song is intended to put your mind at ease, and to prepare you for a journey back in time to visit places and times concerning the settlement and development of the Ottawa Valley.
2. la Riviere
la Riviere tells the story of early travelers along the Ottawa River, starting with Indigenous People thousands of years ago, followed by European fur traders (coureurs des bois and Voyageurs), then men of the logging and river drive era. The song was inspired, in part, by gravestone carvings in bedrock at Slate Falls on the Madawaska River, where the names of river drivers that drowned in the river at the treacherous falls are carved into the bedrock (e.g., Joseph Bruelard 1881).
3. Half Way There
Half Way There tells the story of a depot farm and stopping place on a tote road that accessed logging camps in Algonquin Park. Xavier Pilon established his farm “Halfway House” in the late 1800s, growing food for the lumber camps and making repairs to sleighs and wagons that traveled the tote roads for decades. Shown on the oldest Algonquin Park maps, this was a very busy place for decades, but now it a secluded peaceful place with the old fields slowly growing in. Rhubarb plants still thrive on the old farm. This remote depot farm was one of many throughout the region. The story of the logging in Canada starts in the early 1800s with England being in conflict with France.
4. Holden Pond
Holden Pond is the story of hydroelectric power and how the development of this resource affected settlements and communities located along the Ottawa River. Settlement in the Upper Ottawa Valley started in the early 1800s, with the land being cleared hand tools and horses. For decades, the pace of life included trains, steamboats and horse drawn wagons. In the late 1940s, residents watched the reservoir lake Holden Lake slowly engulf the landscape that was home to them.
5. Not Forgotten
Not Forgotten tells the story of land expropriation in the 1900s as industrialization came to the Ottawa Valley, and in this case Garrison Petawawa and the nuclear research laboratory at Chalk River. Folks that settled in the 1800s cleared the land and built their homesteads by hand. Decades later, they were forced to move to make room for industry.
6. Battle Hill
Battle Hill is the story of early over-land transportation, starting with wagon roads. The arrival of automobiles in the early 1900s quickly lead to the need to establish more reliable roadways, and the development of the King’s Highways in Ontario. Battle Hill, a location marked on older topographic maps, is the story of land surveyors in the 1920s faced with routing Highway 17 through the unforgiving landscape of the Canadian Shield.
7. North Star
North Star tells the story of a German pilot from WWII who escaped from a POW (prisoner of war) camp in the remote interior of Algonquin Park (Nipissing River). What is remarkable about this individual is he traveled from the POW camp using only the north star to guide him. He traveled only at night and hid during the daylight hours. After 3 days (nights) he reached the CNR (Canadian National Railway) line, where he hopped onto a slow-moving train that was headed west.
8. Talk to Me
Talk to Me – at many historic sites, all that remains are crumbling ruins with giant pine trees overlooking. The people that settled or lived at these sites are long since passed away, yet those trees remain. This introspective song reflects on this … if only these trees could talk, and reveal all that happened before them.
9. Stone Fences
Stone Fences is the story of immigration and farm land development in the mid-1800s. There was a dire need for more farming to support the booming logging industry. Settlement roads were crudely built and incentives for immigration were established, drawing people from different areas of Europe. The Opeongo Settlement Road stretched across the Ottawa Valley, and from this road were plots of land available for immigrants to develop. Those that met the requirements for the incentive earned the title to the land, but not without unimaginable hardship from turning forested stony hills into farmland.
10. The Ballad of Rose McKenna
The Ballad of Rose McKenna is the story of a tragic accident at a homestead that reflects the perils of frontier living. Settlers had to build homes, clear forests for farming, and cultivate fields by hand (with only horses). Health care was very primitive and access to it was limited. This was a bad combination.
Newfoundout is the story of the plight of the Irish in the 1700s and 1800s, leading to a surge of immigration in the mid-1800s to escape poverty and starvation. As arduous as it would have been to turn the forested, stony hills of the Opeongo Range into farmland, it was far easier to survive (and thrive) with this settlement challenge than to remain in Ireland.
12. The Mayflower
The Mayflower is the story of the 1912 sinking of the Mayflower in Lake Kamineskeg, between Combermere and Barry's Bay. The sinking occurred during the last run of the year as a November gale beared down on the region. Nine people perished, but 3 survived by clinging to a coffin that was being transported to Combermere.
13. Trunk of Secrets
Trunk of Secrets is the story of an antique trunk bought in Westmeath that used to belong to the famous Everest mountaineer A.C. Irvine who died in his summit attempt in 1924. The song questions how the trunk made its way from England to the farming village of Westmeath.
14. Hear You Sing
Hear You Sing is a song about love and relationships; the ups and downs, the early times, the lasting times. This upbeat romantic song is included as the last song of the show to bring listeners back down from the historical musical journey through the Ottawa Valley.