An essay by Greg Keelor

On a cold day back in March 2010, filmmaker Mike Bolland phoned Travis Good out of the blue to ask him if he’d like to meet Gordon Pinsent. Strange, yes, but even more so because Travis did not know Mike Bolland – had never heard of him. Bolland had been the cameraman on Gordon’s bio-pic Still Rowdy After All These Years and they had traveled all over Newfoundland filming Gordon as he went about the business being Gordon. Up in the hotel rooms, after long days of shooting and a couple of single malts, Gordon would be encouraged to read his poetry. Bolland loved it. Gordon suggested to Bolland that if he knew any musicians he’d love to see these poems set to song. So Mike Bolland’s partner Ann Margetts is friends with Travis’ wife Joanne and by the bye Joanne tells Ann about Travis. Ann tells Mike. Mike calls Travis. Travis meets Gordon and leaves with about 20 poems under his arm. The next day Travis calls me with this great tale of going to Gordon’s, having a couple of beers, Gordon reciting poetry and then asking if he’d help turn these lyrics into songs. Well, I like all of this and volunteer my services as co-writer. It would be a while before we could actually get together – Travis had tours with The Sadies and I had commitments with Blue Rodeo. So a few months later I’m driving over to Travis’ not really expecting very much. When I arrive, Travis is already a little drunk. He’s sitting in the dining room at the table, scattered with wine glasses, ashtrays and a stack of lyrics. Across the room is a piano that Travis will visit many times during the night. The first lyric we did was “Night Light” and I’m just sort of blown away. It’s not easy to make another man’s words sound like your own, but I know this place, I know these people. It was like the song was writing itself. Gordon had told us we could edit his poems as we pleased and this one changed a bit, but for the most part the metre and the mood of his words inspired the melody and the feel of our songs.