Embracing the craft of songwriting.
The marriage of music and language has created a conduit, a well-spring for human expression.
Since recording my first LP in 1984, I’ve recorded 14 albums of original and adapted traditional music across a broad range of the Roots Music genre. I’ve recorded songs with some of the most legendary names in Acoustic Music including Sam Bush, Cia Cherryholmes, John Cowan, Valdy and Wendy Waldman.
Bruce seems to be concerned with and committed to is “the song”. In the same regard that Lyle Lovett, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and folks like Darrell Scott are. He works at it with discipline, a sense of wonder, and trying to honor the very craft of it. I think his results speak for themselves.
– John Cowan (John Cowan Band, Doobie Brothers, Newgrass Revival)
Thanks John, for lending your incredible voice to my songs!
A History in Song
I’m probably best recognised for composing historically-based ballads. I’ve specialized in preserving Pacific Canadian history through music and have received commissions to pen several commemorative songs, among them The Ghost of Simon Fraser (BC Coast and Mountain Tourism), Robbie McBeath (Village of Kinlochbervie, Scotland), Friendly Harbours (Port of Vancouver) 23 Camels and The Ghost of Kitty O’Rielly (Heritage BC).
November 20th, 1917. World War 1 was raging in Europe. Entrenched in bitter warfare at the Battle of Cambria in France, a regiment of Seaforth Highlanders was pinned down by intense machine gun fire. Lance-Corporal Robert McBeath, from the small Sutherland village of Kinlochbervie, Scotland volunteered to attack the guns alone, armed only with a Lewis gun and revolver. Joined by a tank, McBeath attacked five machine gun nests in succession, capturing three officers and thirty enemy soldiers. For this heroic action Robert McBeath was awarded the Victoria Cross. McBeath returned home to a hero’s welcome. He married Barbara MacKay and soon after, emigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where he joined the Vancouver Police Department. October 9th, 1922 Constable Robert McBeath was fatally shot while engaging in an arrest.
Pioneer Days was inspired by a visit to the BC Farm Museum in Fort Langley, BC, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. For 25 years the BC Farm Museum Association had been run entirely by volunteers. They insist they were ‘standing on the shoulders’ of all those who volunteered before them. Each adding what they can by using their experience and knowledge. This pioneering spirit is just one reason why the BC Farm Museum could be aptly termed the BC ‘Pioneer Life’ Museum. This song is dedicated to those who’s shoulders we are all standing upon; Our pioneers!
In 2015, Tiller’s Folly released Stirring Up Ghosts, a CD collection of 24 historically-based ballads, written on Pacific Canadian themes.
Songs With a Cause
Bring Lolita Home
February 2017 Tiller’s Folly, The Wilds and Spirit Studio joined forces to raise public awareness and education to protect the Salish Sea and all the life it supports. By bringing together history and ecology to create Voices for the Salish Sea, about: watershed and ocean stewardship; restoring wild Pacific salmon runs and their habitats; saving Orcas in the wild and freeing them from captivity and sharing the fascinating stories and history of Indigenous peoples and European settlers, who populated and built the communities around the Salish Sea.
The first project of our cultural initiative was the release of Bring Lolita Home. The Facebook post of the video received over 100,000 views.
Let The River Run Free
In 1855, the United States signed a treaty granting sovereign rights and privileges to Indigenous peoples for all time, among which are hunting and fishing privileges in “usual and accustomed places” throughout the Northwest. These “usual and accustomed places” are now buried under slackwater.
The lower Snake River Dams pose the single greatest threat to wild salmon recovery and the Southern Resident Orca population.
In May of 2016, a federal judge ruled that the government’s current wild salmon and steelhead management and restoration plan for the Snake River violates both the federal Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, by allowing continued operation of the lower Snake River dams which are a threat to the existence of native Salmon populations.
Carried Away was adopted by Tesoro in 2011 for this safety video.