It’s Monday, and we’re back to talking about music. HUZZAH! (Okay, maybe not really, for you. I’m a geek. Sorry.)
If you remember, back before the vacation-induced hiatus, I had started making my Desert Island Discs list of songs because… why not?
FUN FACT: I was reading Dawn French’s autobiography Dear Fatty over the holidays, and she was talking about making a DID list too. So I am not the only one!
Anyway. On to choosing my second disc. It was a little more of a challenge than my first disc — I think they all will be — but this song met two important criteria: first, it’s a Canadian artist, so it would remind me of home while I was on my desert island, and second, I could not imagine ever growing tired of hearing it.
But I think it will be a surprising choice to many, given my oddball tastes in music. It’s by the late, great Stan Rogers, and it’s called The Witch of the Westmoreland.
There had to be a Stan Rogers song in my list. As I come from Maritime stock, there was always Stan Rogers and other East Coast-influenced artists’ songs being played in my home. I grew up with it, so it’s very close to my heart.
But this one is not your usual Stan Rogers choice. He has great songs which speak of the sea, and of Canadiana, and tell great stories, and many much more famous than this one. And this one is a Scottish folk song, so it’s not even really Canadian.
Some would say Northwest Passage would be a better choice, for its beautiful harmonies and its tale of Canadian explorers that speaks to where I live and who I am. Or some prefer 45 Years From Now or The Mary Ellen Carter because of their themes of love and perseverance. They’re certainly much more well known.
I was waffling, honestly, between this one and Northwest Passage. But I think listening to Northwest Passage all alone on my island would make me miss home too much, whereas The Witch of the Westmoreland will transport me from the desert island to other places. And I think that will be a good thing to help while away the time, don’t you?
This song gets inside my head and my heart in a way that the others don’t. I love that it tells a story, a classic sort of knights-and-damsels type of story, and Stan Rogers tells it with such passion and power. The music builds so beautifully and rises and falls in power as the story progresses. The hair on the back of my neck stand on end whenever I hear it.
I am transported to another place and time whenever I hear this song. It captures my imagination as a good story should and I think, on my desert island, I will need to have someone telling me stories and allowing my imagination to drift and dream. And I think this song will do that.
So that is the second song in my list of Desert Island Discs. Not a well-known or popular choice, but a beautiful one.