Back to the water

Tara Bradbury
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Kim Stockwood visits home, and takes the whole country with her

Kim Stockwood

Like many other locals who’ve moved away, Kim Stockwood says she has an invisible elastic band around her when it comes to Newfoundland.     “I’ve never truthfully gotten too far away from home, wherever I’ve been,” she explained.

Stockwood is coming “Back to the Water” this weekend — and bringing CMT viewers with her with a television program based on her love of her home province.

Stockwood moved away from home 18 years ago to pursue a career as a musician out of Toronto. Since then, she has released three solo CDs and two CDs with the trio Shaye, been nominated for two Junos and multiple East Coast Music Awards, has had her music featured on TV shows like “Dawson’s Creek,” and has hosted morning radio shows.

On Saturday, “Back to the Water,” a one-hour documentary program inspired by her album of the same name, due to be released on Tuesday, will air on CMT.

“A year and a half ago, I had a couple little ideas for a TV show,” Stockwood said. “My manager and I had a meeting, fleshed them out, and then got a meeting with the head of CMT, and we went in. My second show idea was a show about Newfoundland, about why it is that we long for it so much, what makes it special in a general sense and from my personal perspective as someone who moved away for my career and ended up staying away for a long time.

“We pitched it and the president said, ‘Yep, that’s great, we’ll do that.’ We walk out and (my manager) is like, ‘Wow, I think we just got a TV show. You better get this record done.’”

The TV program features Stockwood singing songs from her “Back to the Water” CD, with guest appearances by Seamus O’Regan and Allan Hawco. Stockwood sings the “Ode to Newfoundland” with her Shaye bandmate, Damhnait Doyle, and is shown performing with Ron Hynes at the Duke of Duckworth.

The program also takes Stockwood to Carbonear, and the home of her 97-year-old grandmother, who plays the pump organ. Her father is featured, too, playing his button accordion in the backyard of the home where he grew up.

“I didn’t want it to be about the record, per se — it’s more about the beauty of Newfoundland. They shot it beautifully, and it really looks stunning. Maybe they’ll send it out with the tourism ads,” Stockwood said with a laugh. “I really think it does Newfoundland proud.”

As for the “Back to the Water” CD, the title track is Stockwood’s only original song on it — the rest are tunes she’s been singing since she was a child, including “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s,” “Squid Jiggin’ Ground,” “Feller From Fortune” and “Petty Harbour Bait Skiff.” Also included are two Hynes songs: “St. John’s Waltz” and “Atlantic Blue.”

“He’s kind of my current modern-day folk-songwriter hero,” Stockwood said of Hynes. “Obviously his songs are the newest on the CD, next to my original, but I think in 500 years, his songs will be like ‘Cape St. Mary’s.’ On a simple level, I just love to sing his songs, and I really could have recorded a whole bunch more.”

Recorded in St. John’s over most of last year (Stockwood went back and forth between here and Toronto), the CD features a huge number of some of the province’s most talented musicians, from a variety of genres: Sandy Morris, Duane Andrews, Bill Brennan, Chris LeDrew, Josh Ward (of Hey Rosetta!) and Theo Weber, to name just a few. The Once (Andrew Dale, Geraldine Hollett and Phil Churchill) sing with Stockwood on “When I’m 64,” and The Dardanelles (Matthew Byrne, Tom Power, Aaron Collis, Emilia Bartellas and Rich Klaas) play with her on “Feller From Fortune.” Doyle sings the “Ode” with Stockwood on the record like she does in the TV program.

Stockwood’s father, Leslie, performs on the CD, too, playing his accordion on “Thank God We’re Surrounded by Water.”

Stockwood admits she had to twist his arm to do it.

“There were a few rum involved, for sure,” she said, laughing. “He’s not shy, he just doesn’t play as much anymore. He was kind of like, ‘You’ve got all those professional players on that record now. Are you sure? You don’t want me in there, I don’t even know if I could play a note.’”

Ask her why she’s releasing an album of traditional Newfoundland tunes at this point in her career, and Stockwood, acknowledging that she’s come full circle, says it’s just the way it was meant to be.

“I took a couple years off singing, and I don’t know if I really thought I was done singing for good, but I felt like I was getting pulled further and further away from what I was doing,” she said. “Throughout your life, as you get older, there’s more urgency in things, and you never know what’s going to happen. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m over 40— the chances of me getting on commercial radio these days, even if I were to do the dance remix of ‘Feller From Fortune,’ are slim.

“It’s incredible to make a record for no other reason than for love, truthfully.”

The TV program “Back to the Water” airs on CMT Saturday evening at 7:30. Stockwood’s CD of the same name, released digitally earlier this week, will be available in stores Tuesday.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Toronto, Carbonear Petty Harbour

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Recent comments

  • Kathleen
    March 17, 2011 - 00:09

    I love the east coast. I feel like it's a little secret that no one gets. Have to say that Kim Stockwood would not be my first choice. Haven't been to Newfoundland YET. Have been to Nova Scotia & Cape Breton 2X, PEI 1X, amazing, there is just so much to see and feel I could never get enough of the east coast. Have to say it's the first time I have seen Seamus O'Regan as a person. He seems very personable and down to earth.....kinda like the east coast.....

  • LocalMusicLover
    March 14, 2011 - 09:02

    I can't believe how much negativity is here. It's so sad. I watched the episode of "Back To The Water" and thought it was absolutely fantastic. I was bursting with pride the whole time. It was shot really well and made Newfoundland look absolutely gorgeous. Kim does a great job on all the songs she covers, her voice is very unique and I loved all the different takes she has on NL favorites. I know there are many people away from home who could really appreciate her take on things. I hope the compliments start to drown out the negativity here shortly.

  • Political Watcher
    March 12, 2011 - 06:51

    Before I get attacked for not jumping for joy over Kim's new CD I will say that there is no greater fan of Newfoundland music and Newfoundland performers. I heard several songs on the CD and have to say that I don't like it; for some reason she just doesn't have the vocal strength to pull it off. Last weekend while listening to a local station, they interviewed Kim and played a coulpe of selections; it was the first time I can ever remember turning off St. John's Waltz. I think she is butchering the songs and only using this as a quick cash grab from home to help sustain her in TO. Again, sorry if I didn't like it and please don't tar and feather me for it.

  • Brenda
    March 11, 2011 - 14:31

    Mike, your ignorancy is showing. Did you get what I meant or are you just a critic. You and Jeffo should get together. To Kim: there are alot of critics in this world which shows what type of person they really are. Spelling is not a big issue for me like cutting someone down like Mike and Jeffo are doing. Get a life!!!!!!!

  • Frank Blackwood
    March 11, 2011 - 12:07

    Kim, I understand how you feel. I have been describe by many as being like a buoy on a lobster trap. The trap being Newfoundland and Labrador. I never want to cut the long rope attached to the lobster trap that prevents me from drifting away from my roots. Frank Blackwood Newfoundland Writer

  • coveboy
    March 11, 2011 - 09:46

    Hey JEFFO.... When is your CD being released. I'm looking forward to hearing it. Those who can......... do...... Those who can't........ are jealous of those who can.

  • Brenda
    March 11, 2011 - 09:18

    Jeffo, I am sorry, but you are very rude!!! Kim is good at what she does but trying to make it in that business is tuff in Canada. I really enjoy hearing her voice and also "Shaye". Kim and Shaye are not getting the exposer they deserve. Keep going, Kim, you are doing great!!!!! A Fan!!!

    • Mike
      March 11, 2011 - 09:47

      Brenda, I assume you mean exposure, not "exposer". I'll give you a pass on "tuff" but try tough next time.

  • JeffO
    March 11, 2011 - 08:16

    Sounds like "Back to the Water" is a desperate attempt to revive a career that's dead in the water.

    • pat janes
      March 12, 2011 - 04:33

      i agree with jeffo. and you have be pretty desperate if you have to rely on an old ron hynes peice of dribble to try and sell cds. I once saw hynes on tv where he said there is only 1 bob dylan and only 1 ron hynes. glad to know there is only 1 ron hynes .