Background

“Paddle stroke and glide – boys – canoe begins to slide” – words fell from my head that February morning to join the “two chord harmonies” I strummed back in 2010. It was just another random comment at the time, inspired by the winter olympics in Vancouver. I had no idea that it might initiate a string of 8 or 9 “Canadian” songs in the following 4 years. The writing of Voyageurs and Men, like no other, urged me forward to “traverse” Canada’s storied past.  Weaving through my thoughts, while writing this song, were the images of the rivers, trails and lake systems around Grand Lake, Algonquin Park, and Thomson’s iconic painting – “Jack Pine”.

Credits

Writer/composer – Pete Thorne
Acoustic Guitar – Sean Roberts
Electric Bass – Alex Paris

Lyrics

Well it’s still the old old story
Of those voyageurs and men
Who took a chance on glory
Now we call them Canadian

Paddle stroke and glide boys
Canoe begins to slide
Out across the blue St. Lawrence
River long and wide

Up the Great Lake waters
Wind and rain and snow
Past the haunts of habitants
Long years ago

They headed for the northland
And they opened up this land
Some settled down on hallowed ground
That’s how it all began

A windy hymn through twisted pine
A Voyageur sings out in time
And native sons who helped define
This land

Through the great tall timbered forest
Where the mighty raging rivers roil
They came to claim and stayed to tame
The precious virgin soil

It’s who they were
Not why they’d come
That opened up this land
Those voyageurs and native sons
In bold exuberance
The men who took a chance upon
This land

Now the Iroquois, the Chippewa
The Huron and the Cree
Shared their woods in brotherhood
I wonder where, without them, we would be

In the deep wood spruce tree forest
Find the coureur de bois
Who ran the trails and spun tall tales
Once or twice or trois

A windy hymn through twisted pine
A Voyageur sings out in time
And native sons who helped define
This land

Lift those paddles high boys
Drive ‘em down and draw
Portage round or run aground
Along the Ottawa

Down the rivelin’ stream, now
Rollick in the flow
Batten down the cargo boys
And let ‘er go

Cause the men who chased the otter
Faced the water and the wild
That sweet allure of beaver fur
It had the men beguiled

It’s who they were
Not why they’d come
That opened up this land
Those voyageurs and native sons
In bold exuberance
The men who took a chance upon
This land

The Assiniboine rose to join
Ojibway and Metis
And came to ask “Oh Canada –
I wonder what your future holds for me?”

Now they’re gone and on we travel
Over trails that went before
We still hear them on the woodland forest breeze

A windy hymn through twisted pine
A Voyageur sings out in time
And native sons who helped define
This land

Early morning sunrise
Linger long then go
Northern nation, slowly rising
In the misty glow, ya know

It’s still the old old story
Of those voyageurs and men
Who took a chance on glory
Now we call them Canadian