“Northern River” (1989) [As published in Field Of Stars (Volume 2)]
(Music and Lyrics by Jim Betts)
From Colours In The Storm (book by Jim Betts)
Piano/Vocal Arrangement by Ed Henderson and Stephen Woodjetts
Piano Performance by Bob Ashley
Vocal Performance by Jim Betts
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This song is inspired by the “Northern River” painting by Tom Thomson, which now hangs in the National Gallery Of Canada. This is a thumbnail of that painting.
The song was written for Colours In The Storm, my musical about Tom Thomson. I remember writing the song in Muskoka, not far from Algonguin Park. I was part of a musical theatre Writers’ Colony, part of that year’s Muskoka Festival. Michael Ayoub was the Artistic Director of The Muskoka Festival at that time, and he went on to produce and direct the premiere of Colours a year later.
I wrote two other “Northern River” songs during that time before I came up with this one, which I knew almost immediately was the one I wanted to use. It’s possible that this is not the best song I’ve ever written, but it is in many ways my favourite; and when I established my own company a few years later, I named that company Northern River Arts & Entertainment.