“As we journey through life, we all carry dreams within us. Some dreams are realized early, others take time,” Logy Bay resident Ed Cadigan says.
Cadigan’s latest project is a dream — a bucket list item, even — realized.
At age 64, Cadigan, a husband, father and grandfather, has released his first-ever CD; a 15-track album of music called “Along the Way.”
Cadigan comes from a musical family and says he’s always enjoyed music, although he never picked up a guitar until he was in his 40s.
He first performed in public not long afterwards, and joined The Concert Crowd, an evolving group of musicians from the Logy Bay/Middle Cove/Outer Cove area that has been producing fundraising concerts for more than 40 years. He began “fooling around, writing songs,” and reckons he now has about 200 of them.
“I wrote some I really liked, and it seems to be going fairly well,” he explains.
“People were always saying to me, ‘That’s nice, you should record that one.’ It went on through the years and I always just put it off, because there were other things to fill my life. The kids were growing up, and not to use that as an excuse, but it was busy.
This past summer, Cadigan was chatting with Shanneyganock’s Chris Andrews — also a former Concert Crowd member — about the idea of recording some tunes.
“I turned 64 and I said, boy, if I don’t do this now, it’s not going to happen.”
Andrews introduced Cadigan to local country musician Craig Young, who also produces music, and together, the trio produced “Along the Way.”
Twelve of the songs on the CD are Cadigan’s originals, written over the years. It’s a good study in how his music has progressed, he says, grinning.
“When I was growing up, my grandmother and all Newfoundland, really, was singing along with the McNulty family, which were the Irish-American group,” he explains.
“My first songs had that Irish-traditional flavour, and then I sort of branched out and realized there are other things, more serious things, to write about. I experiment with styles, but everything sort of stays, in my mind, in a folk niche.”
There’s also a little touch of country, which Cadigan credits to the music he heard from the American military bases growing up.
Many of Cadigan’s songs are sentimental, reflecting on childhood memories, with titles like “Boyhood Dreams” and “Town of My Childhood.” “Granddaddy’s Knee,” was written about his own grandfather.
“He was a great storyteller,” Cadigan says. “We grew up in St. John’s, but valued our time with our grandparents; we’d go up every weekend and stay there. Every night after supper, he’d gather all the grandkids around and he’d tell stories. He’d usually take the smallest of the grandchildren and put him in the story and make him the hero. It’s just pleasant memories, and basically that’s what the song is about.”
Cadigan also uses the record as an expression of love for his wife, Mary. Not only is the CD dedicated to her, but there are a number of songs about her or inspired by her, sung in Cadigan’s perhaps unpolished, but clear and genuine voice, he sings in a song called “May Your Heart Always Hear This Song I’m Singing,” his favourite on the record.
“The night wind outside is gently sighing
The moon in the sky’s burning bright
While you and I lie by the flickering fireside.
Chasing moonbeams in the early morning light.”
“It was coming near anniversary time and we were at our cabin, which we love. The two of us are cabin people,” he says. “The inspiration came and I just started writing.
“Does she like it? She loves it. You know she does.”
Andrews and Young both perform on “Along the Way,” signing harmonies and playing mandolin and drums respectively. So does a group of other well-known locals, including Shanneyganock members Mark Hiscock and Bob Pike, Maureen Ennis, Sherry Ryan, and Great Big Sea’s Bob Hallett. Having experienced musicians play on the tracks was daunting, Cadigan acknowledges, but gave credibility to his work.
“It was really cool because those people agreed right away, so I knew there was some sort of validation of the work I was doing for them to take part and attach their names to it,” he explains.
“Having said that, a lot of them are also good friends of mine.”
“Along the Way” was released in December, and Cadigan held an official launch at Erin’s Pub on Water Street, the lineup to get in, he says, stretched past the door. He’s got enough songs ready to record a second album, but is focusing on playing this one around a bit before he considers that possibility.
“I’d never say never,” he says. “I’m going to go face and eyes into it.”
To see a video of Cadigan performing “May Your Heart Always Hear This Song I’m Singing,” visit www.thetelegram.com.
©Tara Bradbury photos