Bill Bourne's rural urban blues
So Bill Bourne, grade 8 in 1967, living on a farm near Red Deer, saw Oscar Brand's Let's Sing Out on tv and thought, I can do this.
He is a relentless traveller, staple of the summer festival circuit, a rough, jagged blade of a voice. This video is from a gig in Vulcan, a real back of beyond town an hour and a half south of Calgary, where the town built a spaceship in honour of Star Trek, instead of the god of fire, Vulcan, for whom the town was named by the CPR in 1915: rails of forged steel and sparks and all, including all eight avenues and nine streets named after Roman gods and goddesses until they were renamed as numbers.
Anyway, whatever, Bill Bourne played there at the Vulcan Lodge Hall in 2010. Gordon Lightfoot, still on tour at 71 and interviewed on Q yesterday, was about to play the Casinorama in Orillia, the town he grew up in. Really? This is Gordon Lightfoot we are talking about. At 12 he sang at Massey Hall in the Kiwanis Music Festival. His mother said, you know Gordie, Bing makes a living at this.
All this continues a discussion in On Site 27: rural urbanism, the powerful relationship between the rural and the urban, and the kind of cultural production that comes out of rural areas, migrates to urban centres, but contains an insistent rural sense of completely open possibilities.