Bruce Childs has been a musician his whole life. He wrote his first song – about an Arctic owl – when he was 12 years old.
“By the time I hit my teens I was writing about things that inspired me in literature and in life,” he said.
Mr. Childs spent his career as a music teacher at J. A. Laird. He wrote songs and played them wherever he went.
But his songs lived only his head and in the air as he played them, not on an album. When Mr. Childs turned 65, his friends gave him a birthday gift that sounded like an insult.
“Some of my musician friends asked me why I was being so selfish,” he said.
When he asked what they meant, they told him: “We know what your songs sound like and they’re really good but you don’t share them with a lot of people.”
Then they said: “Get in the studio and we’ll help you out.”
That was the beginning of a “long, wonderful” three year collaboration, in which he, his friends, his son and some of his exceptionally-talented former music students got together to record the songs that used to exist only in the moment.
“I’ve forgotten some of the songs, but some of the songs have stayed with me my whole life,” he said, adding that his album Far & Near includes songs that span from the ‘70s into the present.
One of the songs he wrote in his 20s – Tumbleweed and Daisy – was his mother Viola’s favourite song. Even after she suffered a stroke, the song would always bring a smile to her lips.
Many of the songs on his two-part album are real-life stories, like one about the people he met on a trip to Scotland, and another about playing guitar for a seagull on the beach in Oregon. Other songs are tributes to adventures past, to family, to relationships and to the wonders of nature.
His album includes everything from cellos to harps to electric guitars and up to five-part harmonies.
When Mr. Childs opened the first box of his album in late May, he was deeply pleased with the result and was eager to share the album with his collaborators and the wider community.
Far & Near is available at Bavin Glassworks, at Balanced Heath Acupuncture Clinic and by reaching out to Mr. Childs directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Childs plans to have an album release party in the fall.
After three years recording his existing arrangements, he’s more than ready to unleash a stream of new ones.
“It’s time to write more songs,” he said.