David Solway’s Musical Debut: Blood Guitar and Other Tales

Solway the social commentator also makes an appearance in the first song of the collection, the very charming “Gananoque Lake.” It’s about a young man, an army veteran who is “hard as flint” and “thinks laziness a crime,” who does some yard work and thanks his temporary employer “for working me hard.”

As the song goes on to comment:

Well there’s no other way, to be a man

But labour all day, like Gananoque Dan

Don’t cheat or steal, or act like a crank

Put shoulder to wheel, and money in the bank.

The contrast with another sort of person couldn’t be greater:

And now I think, of that other bunch

Who Occupy things, and want a free lunch…

Those lyrics, by the way, are simple, supple, homespun, and yet very rich. That quatrain starting “Well there’s no other way” gives one of the bedrock truths that you have to internalize if you’re going to get anywhere in life. And in that regard, apart from their specific import, such words are representative of this whole trove of songs.

In them Solway the poet, winner of two prizes for collections of literary poetry, has applied his word-making wizardry to a more popular genre and succeeded wonderfully. You can do yourself a great favor by printing out and reading, or following on your android, these songs’ lyrics (available at the above-linked website) as you listen. They pass the ultimate test of inexhaustible richness and subtlety.

You won’t listen to this CD once, think “That’s nice,” and forget about it. A fine distillation of profound thought and emotion, it draws you in deeper and deeper. Not to be missed.