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Have you ever had a question for a folk musician but were afraid to ask? Of course not. Folk musicians are the most approachable and friendly people on the planet.
We posed a few questions to Ian Tamblyn, our November performer and he was gracious enough to answer.
- How does being in nature inspire you? Being in nature has several dramatic effects on me. Because nature simply is, any landscape or state of nature will inform me of my state or balance within if I am open to experience it. Being in nature can also have the effect of balancing me if I am willing to slow down, acknowledge her rhythms and wait awhile within her arms. Once being in nature yourself – your self can get out of the way and go deeper. Inspiration flows more freely here and I seek it.
- What or who has been the big love of your life? Amanda Shaughnessy has been the big love in my life. However, she would say my creative life has been the driving force in my life.
- The song that evokes the strongest memories for me is . . . The song that evokes the strongest memories for me is a difficult question to answer in that it might change as different angles of my life come into focus. However, I remember listening to WLS as a teenager in Chicago. I would stay up until 4 a.m. each night waiting to hear The Cascades “Listen to the Rhythm of The Falling Rain” one more time. The memories around that song are troubled and confusing for me still, but that song and the desperate need to hang on to the dial on that tube radio remain.
- What is your favourite place on earth? My favourite place on earth is usually where things are scraped down and elemental – the Arctic, the Labrador coast, the coastline of Superior, the north shore of Georgian Bay – the desert around Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. In their raw elemental state, a clearer vision of one’s own spiritual relation to place and space is possible. In complete contrast to this, the absolute fecundity of Haida Gwaii or the cloud forest of Costa Rica offers the same thing in an entirely bountiful way.
- What historical event do you wish you’d been alive to witness? I doubt the veracity of most historical events because it seems to me the past is no more fixed than the present or the future and- those who recorded those historical events had either an axe to grind or were propagandists for the victor’s press. Given this, I remember visiting the ancient village of Scara Brae on the Orkney Islands several years ago. It was a brilliant day and looking out over the turquoise sea, I couldn’t help but wonder if on a good day such as this 5,000 years ago, life was, like the day I stood there, as good as it gets! The people of Scara Brae had built incredible structures for homes, there was fresh water, there were fish in the sea, and they had time to consider art and time itself in their circles at Brodgar and Steness. Yes, the average life expectancy was 25 years but I still wondered on this glorious day if their best day (such as this day) that life might have been as good as it gets.
- You’ve done so much with your life. What is left on your bucket list? I don’t feel I have done that much with my life. Much of the time I feel like a lazy bastard or that I have gotten away with murder. As for a bucket list, I don’t have one. I will continue to be a lazy bastard and continue to get away with as much as I possibly can in the time that remains.
- What’s the biggest piece of advice you give to young songwriters? The biggest piece of advice I could give to a young songwriter would be to write when the Muse is with you, and also when she is not. The Muse appreciates hard work and craft as much as she appreciates the writer acknowledging her presence when she is there. I would also add to put in the hours on your instruments when you are writing – voice or instrument – because once in the business, time will be taken from you and your discipline threatened. Build on a good foundation. Hmmmm, that was more than one bit of advice.
- What’s your proudest accomplishment? As for my proudest accomplishment, I must confess I struggle to answer this question. In some ways I leave it to others to decide. However, I have tried to surround the country with songs through 38 quite different recording projects as well as plays and soundtracks. I have worked with environmental and social groups much of my life. But probably the best thing is that which is invisible to most people. By good fortune, I have been able to do this while raising a family and for the most part, living a healthy vibrant life. I don’t think I destroyed myself for art but rather lived for it.
- If you could have a conversation with someone who has passed, who would you choose and what would you say? I would like to have a conversation with my father. The last five years of his life were troubled by Parkinson’s and dementia and that time was taken away. He was not an easy man to have a conversation with but I would like to give it a go. What we would talk about – that’s between me and him.
- What are you most grateful for? I am most grateful for the good fortune in my life. I have had the many advantages we all have growing up in North America, just to begin with. The circumstances of my life have given me opportunities and I had the good luck to take them and then make something of them. I have been most fortunate in those I have befriended in life and in those who have tolerated me. I am most grateful for the fact that I have been lucky enough in life to pursue my artistic passions and that I have been able to do this for my entire adult life. For this I am very grateful.
The Barrie Folk Society was formed in response to the wants and needs of the local folk music community in and around the Barrie area.
The main goal of the Barrie Folk Society is to bring Folk music to the masses through a not-for-profit organization that cares about the growth and nurturing of the folk music movement.
Countdown to Ken Whiteley and the Beulah Band!