Wildwood/ Through Toms Eyes
Wildwood/Through Tom's Eyes a new CD release by Don Charbonneau Don Charbonneau is a singer/songwriter and recording artist who resides in Wawa, Ontario. His experience as a wilderness guide and his reverence for nature contributes to the creation of this exciting concept album. Wildwood/Through Tom's eyes presents a compelling narrative of the life of one of Canada's most prominent wilderness landscape artists namely Tom Thomson a friend a major influence of The Group of Seven. This collection of songs features Herschel Payne on violin. Payne brings a wealth of experience to this project. His credits include a full symphony and solo career with as many as two hundred performances a year as a concert violinist with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and as a solo violinist with C.B.C. Radio Canada. The richly textured musical arrangements are combined with a fictional account of Tom Thomson's life in Algonquin Park. The settings described in the songs, however, include actual characters, places and events which significantly influenced the life and work of the artist. Charbonneau's band The Lost Guides bring a combination of musicians with diverse musical styles together. The ensemble includes Charbonneau with his folk roots influence, his son Noel a rock musician and recording artist, playing bass and taking charge as producer and Herschel Payne on violin. The group also includes Don's daughter Dawn Charbonneau, who makes an impressive contribution with background vocals. Rock musicians Mike Lavigne on drums and Dan Michaud playing electric guitar also perform on this album. Wildwood/Through Tom's Eyes was recorded, mixed and mastered by Billy Bruhmeller at Easter Island Studio in Sudbury Ontario. This article was written by Brenda Grundt of wawa-news.com on May 23/06 Don Charbonneau's Northern Highway It's been just over a year since I listened to Wildwood 'Through Tom's Eyes' a CD written and performed by local resident Don Charbonneau. In that CD, Don gave listeners a glimpse into what he believed Tom Thomson may have felt as he explored and painted in the Algonquin Park area many years ago. Tom Thomson, a truly gifted Canadian artist, painted with members of the Group of Seven, and helped inspire them with his paintings of Algonquin Park. That album was an unique collaboration between Herschel Payne, a concert violinist and artist in residence at Pukaskwa Park (2005) and Don. This year, Don has refined his musical talents with his new CD 'Don Charbonneau's Northern Highway', a musical journey from Agaway Bay to Thunder Bay via the Trans-Canada Highway. It opens with Agawa Bay, a song that Don explains began with a conversation that he overheard at the MHS 50th Reunion a few years ago, 'I overheard a conversation about a father asking his son to scatter his ashes in Agawa Bay once he had passed away.' That conversation and the experiences that Don had while he worked at Agawa Bay Park in the early seventies inspired that song. The Mary Jo was inspired by local historian/author Johanna Morrison-Rowe and the two passenger-supply boats (the Caribou and the Manitou) that made regular trips to Michipicoten Bay before the highway was built. These boats docked at 'Government Dock' on Michipicoten Bay, an arrival that was welcomed by residents who would ship their cars in and out of isolated Wawa to go on holidays (Wawa may have had 30 miles of road in total at that time). After a big storm, you may be lucky to see part of the old dock remains after the waves tear away the covering sand. Mystic Isle (or Michipicoten Island as it is officially known) was dedicated by Don to all the mariners that travel the magical waters of Gitchee Gumme in their fragile craft. A special treat is the background vocals sung by Don's grandaughter Alex Charbonneau. In another song inspired by a Lawren Harris, member of the Group of Seven, The Hills of Agawa is wonderful piece of music. The last song on the CD, Running Free was written after a trip to Thunder Bay Don and his wife took in spring of 2005. At that time there was a lot of news about the 25th Terry Fox Anniversary. After my wife shared some stories about Terry Fox's stop in Wawa, she asked if I could write a story. That very night, we watched the news, and a video clip of Terry running up a hill in the early morning and the fog was lifting. It appeared as if he was really struggling, and I realized that he was trying to accomplish an almost impossible task, and that he was quite determined to just that. Don relates, 'I really enjoyed writing this song, and never tire of performing it.' If you visit Don's website you can listen to the new CD (and others as well), print lyrics and purchase all of Don's musical work. 'Northern Highway' is a wonderful album to listen to and features some of the most beautiful spots along Superior's North Shore. This album has some of the best music to listen to as you drive this 'Northern Highway' and you are certain to find yourself singing along. This CD also features the many talents of Don's family on it; from Noel (son - electric base & background vocals, co-producer), Dawn (daughter - background vocals), Alex (grand-daughter - background vocals). Don lives in Wawa with his wife, Jude; and continues to enjoy the outdoors as he works as a fishing guide. ----- copyright 2005-06, all rights reserved, wawa-news.com.