McCoy Simonson's Jasper

by Sonic Landscape

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about

A testament to the history and beauty of Jasper National Park of Canada, this album is the first in a series of albums dedicated to each of Canada's National Parks.

The album was largely recorded at the Sydney Vallance Hut, a 21km walk from the highway in the beautiful Fryatt Valley. The band packed instruments, recording gear, food, emergency gear, and a portable solar power outfit up there to to the session.

Equal parts Neil Young, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Nick Drake, and Arcade Fire the music is tied together by McCoy's unique sensibilities and by the stories and history of the subject-Jasper National Park of Canada.

credits

released April 1, 2011

McCoy Simonson - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Percussion, Keyboards
Scratch McGhee - Harmony Vocals, Bass Guitar
Jebediah Beauchamp - Percussion
Maggie Simonson - Fiddle, Banjo, Harmony Vocals
Jhonny Balvennie - Master Woodcutter, Recording Engineer

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Track Name: The Fryatt Valley Suite
Where the forest breaks
The Valley opens below us
And the peaks in the East stretch skyward to the horizon

Where the water that falls from the mountain
Meets the river that flows to the sea
Where these two worlds meet
The edge of the Fryatt Valley
Where these two worlds meet
The end of the Fryatt Valley

As the sun sets
In the heart of the Fryatt Valley
The towers above us glow with a heavenly light

The creek we've been chasing for hours
Tumbles down the wall in the distance
The snow covered peaks beyond it
Beckon us on

We'll have to wait 'til tomorrow
Light is fading and the day is done
Have to wait 'til tomorrow to carry on

Fryatt lake is a waitin'
Tomorrow on up the headwall home
Have to wait 'til tomorrow to carry on
Track Name: An Old Snake Indian Tale
A time of peace
Was surely here to stay
The Chief from the South
Called a meeting
As a way

To settle all our quarrels
And forever put away
The grudges that we bear
Each day

We set upon preparing
For the feast that would bring peace
Put away our weapons
And opened up our arms
To the beasts

Later on
As the moon crept through the stars
The Chief from the South
And his People
Met with ours

And the food and the dance
And the laughter kept us high
On the promises of the future
And the Sky

Never saw the signal
Never saw them leave
Suddenly the warriors
Were all that we could see
Drawing up their weapons
Nowhere could we flee
Falling on us in the night
The blood
Of the Snakes
Ran free

Before the storm
Our hearts did beat as one
With the fire
Of a thousand suns
My love
My love

In your arms
A light did keep us warm
And as sure
As the heavens turn
My love
My love
Track Name: Big Bend
Down past the falls on a long, gentle glide
Through the trees and the white
Of the snow
In the fading winter sunlight

You can still see the path that we followed in the spring
Oh the joy that it did bring
To our hearts
On our journey down to Big Bend

As the night
Covers up the day
And the shadows lengthen
Across the snowy glades
Down the Athabasca river valley
Showing us the way
To point our ski tips
Drifting come-what-may
Down to Big Bend

Follow the trail
'cross the creek
Down the line

Leave the world we know behind
Getting lost in thoughts
the city makes so hard to find

In the dying light of the winter sun
we set off on our way
Back to Edmonton again
To our home
A long long way from Big Bend

As the night
Covers up the day
And the shadows lengthen
Across the snowy glades
Down the Athabasca river valley
Showing us the way
To point our ski tips
Drifting come-what-may
Down to Big Bend
Track Name: The Old Pocahontas Mine
Ol' Virginia is a long way away
but her children play in our park

Digging in the mountain for the rock they say
burns clean and clear and hot

Hundreds of miners working every day
putting blood and soul and heart

all aboard the Railcars Eastbound
for the city
so our sailors won't get caught

With your ear against the ground
you can almost hear the sounds of the hammers falling
in the shadows of these old abandoned tunnels I would swear
you can still see lights in the dark

On up the Fiddle valley
where the trees are tall
and the air is heavy with the
smell of the sulphur=
hot springs flowing

Lie down in the pool for a while
Rest your bones and let that smile
Wipe the sting from the coal dust
Gettin' in your eyes now.

With your ear against the ground
You can almost hear the sound
of the the hammers falling
In the shadows of these old abandoned tunnels
I would swear
You can still see lights in the dark

In this ghost of a mining town
You can see the past laid bare
On the ground before you
In the shadows of these old abandoned tunnels
I would swear
You can still see lights in the dark.
Track Name: John Moberly
All the fires are out
in the meadows
of the homesteads on
the Athabasca shores

And the lives that they built
in this wildland
are just a memory now
of the times that came before
all the plans that were laid
to make the valley more

John Moberly
can't you see?
the West's not as wild as it used to be
and the word comin' down from the city
is you've gotta leave.

All the hard times livin'
in the mountains
through the feast
and the famine
and the cold of the wintersleep

But there was always a hand
when you needed
never asking for more than a thanks
and a hand next week

oh the times that have passed
of which we never speak

John Moberly
can't you see?
the West's not as wild as it used to be
and the word coming down from the city
is you've gotta leave

So pack up your horses and your family
and pull up your roots
and head to the East
there's a railway comin'
and they don't want you to be seen
all your brothers and sisters are moving out
where they can be free!
Track Name: Jacques Lake
Jacques Lake, Jacques Lake
You'll never get a tan down on old Jacques Lake
Down in the valley with the shadows and the rain
Puttin' down your trap line at 'ol Jacques Lake

Went down to the water
Oh Lord what did I see
Big old pool of white fish
Starin' back at me
Oh what a sight to see

Goin' down to Jacques Lake following a line
Down in the valley where the sun don't shine
First summit second summit pickin up the trail
Down past the lake with the beaver tail

Went down to the water
Oh Lord what did I see
Big old pool of white fish
Starin' back at me
Oh what a sight to see
Track Name: Fitzhugh Station
In the forest of our dreams,
a sliver of steel works patiently,
through to the heart of the Rockies.

It is driven by power and greed,
for the timber and the coal seams,
that lie hidden by mountains and streams.

The rocks of the ridges yield,
to the blast of the dynamite crew,
and the railway pushes through...

To the base of the pyramid,
to the station called Fitzhugh.
A place that will open our eyes,
to something new.

Waiting for the whistle call
to Fitzhugh Station
gazing at the rocky walls
anticipation
rising up
dreaming of the mountaintop

Standing on the platform
for the Grand Trunk Westbound
Images of peace and escape
Still resonate

From the pictures and the postcards
our guides to where to go
our guides to the wilderness
that the lucky few know.

Coming to the mountains
Brule and the great gate
Inspire us all
to contemplate,

The ties and the steel that
have brought us to this place
that have opened up our hearts to something
to something great

Waiting for the whistle call
to Fitzhugh Station
gazing at the rocky walls
anticipation
mounting up
dreaming of the mountaintop.

Waiting for the whistle call
to Fitzhugh Station
gazing at the rocky walls
anticipation
mounting up
dreaming of the mountaintop.
Track Name: Chaba Imne
Started with a map from a memory defined
by a heart and a hunter and a culture
in decline

Now the time has come for the secret lake
to show itself to the Europeans' face
but it won't
be for man
to rediscover

They rode where Beaver and his people
went alone
to the valley that is hidden
where the wild beasts roam.

Over passes that the mountains raised
over hills through the valleys 'til at last they gazed
upon
the secret garden
of the legends

Oh Maligne
in my eyes
you're a mirror of the summer skies
will the silence
that they found here
be forgotten

Now the trees
speak of times
before the tourists
cast their lines
on the still
and lovely waters
of Chaba Imne.

Three years past 'til the park reclaimed its prize
when a man from the city made a call to the wise

With a log and a compass true
a raft in pieces
and a purpose and a clue
She set off with her party for the valley that she rediscovered

Oh Maligne
in my eyes
you're a mirror of the summer skies
will the silence
that they found here
be forgotten

Now the trees
speak of times
before the tourists
cast their lines
on the still
and lovely waters
of Chaba Imne.

They mapped out the shore and they named the place
from the hills of opal
to the towers of the rampart's face

With the work of the survey done
she returned to the city and they cast into the sun
all the thoughts
to leave the lake
beyond the borders

Oh Maligne
in my eyes
you're a mirror of the summer skies
will the silence
that they found here
be forgotten

Now the trees
speak of times
before the tourists
cast their lines
on the still
and lovely waters
of Chaba Imne
Track Name: The Heart of David Thompson
Standing at the end of the line.
Where the maps can't shine a light
There are only the stars
And our line of sight.

Following the words of a guide
Through forests deep and the rivers wide
Following the voices inside.

Bound by the Company's call
To find a break in the endless wall
The passage West that will make us all

Following the footsteps
Calling on the past to light our way
The Heart of David Thompson
Beats within each one of us today.

Trying to do what is right
For the people here for their way of life
Try to keep the evil outside

Take the hand of a bride
Hold her close keep her by your side
Until you're called to the endless night

Die with a dime to your name
But the memory of your life remains
In the history that runs through this place

Following the footsteps
Calling on the past to light our way
The heart of David Thompson
Beats within each one of us
Who wanders in the mountains
Looking for a place to hide away
From all of the distractions
We face in all our day to day.
Track Name: Jasper Lake
In the spring time
not a lot of water to see
but a river still
flows beneath our feet
I know it's hard to believe

Summer's coming and the river fills up
we escape from the moan of the
transport trucks
with a dash across the desert
out on the water

And in the early autumn when the lake is high
we'll throw our boat out on the water
and we'll say goodbye
to all the worries and the troubles that we try to forget
in the world that we're leaving behind

Last summer on the mud flats
you challenged me to a death match
and we wrestled in the shallow waters
of Jasper Lake
with a post card at our backs

When the frost falls
down from the mountains like leaves
and the wind whips
all across the valley to freeze
what's left
of the lake
we remember

Running out on the plain of the mud flats
sun overhead and the sky and
looking at the highway behind
and falling
and falling

And in the early autumn when the lake is high
we'll throw our boat out on the water
and we'll say goodbye
to all the worries and the troubles that we try to forget
in the world that we're leaving behind

Last summer on the mud flats
you challenged me to a death match
and we wrestled in the shallow waters
of Jasper Lake
with a post card at our backs

It was just before the sunset
on our way home from a day-trip
and the sun was casting shadows
on the mountainside
and the wind swept
through our hair
Track Name: Swift's Place
Instrumental
Track Name: Mighty Athabasca
I can see what these words can't find
in the rocks
and soil of this land
from the verdant creeks
to the mountain peaks
we are left
with a part
that lingers gently resting
in our hearts

Oh mighty Athabasca
tumbling to the sea
rushing river
carving water
cloaked in mystery
from the tip of the icefield
to the shallow plains you see
what's come to be
from the sky to the sea
your ever-changing realm
the legacy
that you've left for me.

In the night
you're a thousand-million shadows
lit by stars and the moonlight
In the daytime
you're a silver ribbon
stretching for as far
as my eyes can see
through oceans of green

If we could live each and every day
as the river flows to the sea
we would find our time
is not as short as we make
it to be
we would find that time is
on our side
on our side

In the night
you're a thousand-million shadows
lit by stars and the moonlight
In the daytime
you're a silver ribbon
stretching for as far
as my eyes can see
through oceans of green

In the night
you're a thousand-million shadows
lit by stars and the moonlight
In the daytime
you're a silver ribbon
stretching for as far
as my eyes can see through oceans of gre
Track Name: The Black Bear of Jasper
Hiding away in the valley
far from the eyes of the people
I met by the river

I lie awake wondering what I did
to warrant that volley of howls and upset

Bringing back thoughts of the time before
sounds in the darkness
that faraway shore its been
weeks since my homecoming
not this again
I hear the voices of men

Breaking down
a lifetime of trust in this town
and the fear
it drowns
all respect that we had
for the life that we shared on the ground.

Scraping up berries and grasses
the flora and fauna of life that I
hunt in the forest but
picking up scents of the masses
of campfires and cooking
entices me onward

Laid out before me on tabletops
a feast for a king I dig in
and then
the howls and the insults
I'm running again
I hear the voices of men.

Breaking down
a lifetime of trust in this town
and the fear
it drowns
all respect that we had
for the life that we shared in the woods
I prowl
now you've taken away
all the land that I called home
and run
me out
when I come out to live
on the mess that you're leaving
around

Now comes the sigh of an ending
the careless and foolish have cost us
the wandering soul
the hunters have captured their quarry
who takes the blame for the fall
of the Black Bear of Jasper?
Track Name: Horseshoe Lake
Leaving town
on the South-bound highway
that leads us down
past creeks and streams that we know so well
to be part of the spell

It's not far now
we've past by the five lakes
and Cavell
and the Iron Mountain rises and swells
in our window

For all it's worth
this tiny lake by the river
calls our names
again

Standing here
on the rocks
over the water
I hold your hand

It's a long way down
to the cool deep blue of the water
and the only sound
is the wind
in the leaves
and in the mountains

We leave the ground
with a scream and a leap and a countdown
and the wind rushes up as we're falling
down
and down and down

For all it's worth
this tiny lake by the river
calls our names
again

Sliding through
the thin skin of the water
we hold our breath
and then

light opens up our eyes
the darkness in the lake beneath our thrashing feet
swimming to the shore we kiss
another leap of faith
has left us reeling
in its wake.
Track Name: Whistlers
Walking to the top
of the Whistlers peak

Flowers and your thoughts
you leave
to sleep

Gentle footsteps fall
and a soft word spoken

Distant mountaintops
and the valleys open

Standing at the top
of the Whistlers peak

Makes me wonder
why we never
why we never...