I was in my late teens when I spent a summer driving Route 105 to Gracefield, Quebec as often as I could get my hands on the wheel of my parents’ car. I’m not sure how many trips I made that summer, but the 4 hour drive always felt like an anxious eternity filled with teenage daydreaming and cassette deck sing alongs.
Though I’m sure there was a formidable stack of tapes for each trip, it was the Grapes of Wrath’s Treehouse that I remember playing to death. While I don’t even think I knew what I was chasing up and down the 105 in that Pontiac Acadian, I clearly remember belting out songs like A Very Special Day as effortlessly as if I had penned them.
Many times those distant memories of the 105 have popped up in my songwriting and it’s kinda fun when I get to revisit them during shows. Songs such as Guilt Trip Fashion, Coax The Ending Day and my ode to lost summers, Summertime Out, all have anecdotes from those trips. And when I travel back to Wakefield, those lyrical sequences always seem to get amplified.
Wakefield was a milestone to me back then, a mere mile marker. The little town was an indicator I was getting close, or still had a long way to go, depending on the direction I was traveling.
As I got older and eventually moved to Ottawa, Wakefield became much more than a pit stop on a road trip; it became a home for many of my friends. Known for its beautiful scenery and for those city-escape day trips, I discovered Wakefield was a gem of fab restaurants and quaint businesses. Its entire aesthetic, I would argue, is encapsulated by iconic music venues like the Black Sheep Inn and Kaffe 1870. And because of them, many traveling musicians have gushed it is their favourite place in Canada to play live music.
This Saturday night I make the trip back to be among friends for a solo show at the Kaffe. It’s the first time since last summer, I feel guilty admitting. Yuma County rounds out the bill and we’ve got some special treats planned for our audience. Hopefully you can make it out.
Maybe I’ll take the extra time on Saturday and forego the express Autoroute 5 to spend some time on the old road again. It feels a bit melancholy to me that the 105 now seems to be a bypassed trail. It was some time ago now I realized it was the journey on that road and not the destination that I fondly cherished on those warm summer solo trips so long ago.
Thanks to a few gifted songs, I’m thinking their effects will last a lifetime.
Rocking out the camp site in Gracefield during one of those trips, though this one not so solo. Note my old cherished Three O’Clock Train ‘Wig Wam Beach’ shirt… and Doug’s wearing a classic one from The Stand GT. Minute Rice?!