Oh Canada

Missy Higgins – Oh Canada – Spotify

This song will bring tears to your eyes, especially if you read along with the lyrics here:

Missy Higgins – Oh Canada – Lyrics

Inspiration… It hits you when you’re not looking. But it’s this spark that lights the fire of the artist, that results in a creation that touches us.

This is Missy Higgins’s reaction to the death of the Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, you know the small boy carried from the water after the boat that was supposed to deliver his freedom did not. You can read her story here:

Missy Higgins – Alan Kurdi

I lost track of Missy. I loved her 2007 track “Where I Stood,” but then she disappeared from the American radar screen. She went back to college, got writer’s block and did a cover project, and then had a baby and did this. She identified, she’s nursing.

We’re all human underneath. We have compassion, but too many don’t make the effort, for fear of loss. Australia has a bad record when it comes to boat refugees and America is stirred up by immigration. But can we close the doors after we’ve gotten in?

You might think it’s a political question.

But artists come from an emotional viewpoint. They encapsulate pain and wisdom. And when you hear what they have to say…your opinion is changed.

Read the credits of today’s hit music. You’ll be stunned by the plethora of writers. Seems that no one can do it without help. But it’s insurance more than aid. The end goal is not to get it right, but to make it profitable. Too many rough edges are shorn off. And it’s the rough edges that hook us. How did music become the movie business, where everything’s done by committee? Music blew up because it was the unfiltered vision of artists.

Oh, how far we’ve come.

And I’d be lying if I told you what hooked me was the lyrics, that came last, they were hard to make out, until I went to the website I could not understand most of them.

But the sound, the changes, they were majestic, they immediately grabbed me.

Not that “Oh Canada” is the equal of Neil Young’s “Ohio,” another song written in the wake of tragedy. “Oh Canada” is shy of perfect. So that means in today’s world it tends to go unheard, or it hits a wall. And the end result is those who would be moved by it will never hear it.

But at least Missy Higgins was not reliant upon gatekeepers to get her message out. Today the means of production are within the hands of the proletariat, distribution too. You don’t hype in advance, you just release, and then you wait for traction.

In this case I heard about “Oh Canada” from a reader. Being a Missy Higgins fan I checked it out and was immediately hooked.

He was running from the terror with his father
Who once believed nothing could be worse

That’s what they don’t tell you, that risk everybody keeps advising can leave you worse off, can devastate you. Sure, charge up your future on your credit cards, but for everyone who breaks through to success, there’s even more who go bankrupt.

So he’d handed a man two thousand precious dollars

Are you willing to risk everything you’ve got?

When it’s life or death you will.

And he told his boys that Canada was waiting
There was hope upon her golden shores

We all have hope, it’s what keeps us going. Otherwise we get depressed, become drug addicts, take our own lives. We want to believe if we roll the dice we’ll win, that things will work out. But this is not always the case.

There’s a million ways to justify your fear
There’s a million ways to measure out your words
But the body of Alan being laid upon the sand
Tell me how do you live with that?

How do you live with that? Do you turn a cold shoulder? Do you even know what happened? Artists are messengers, who speak truth and impact us.

And art is not about money, not about chart success, but touching souls.

In “Oh Canada” Missy Higgins touched mine.

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