When Smithers-based singer-songwriter Mark Perry heard about the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan last April, he felt numb.
The former up-and-coming hockey player and rural hockey coach went to his shed to deal. He wrote a song called Cold Road.
“Like so many Canadians, I was heartbroken. Years ago I played hockey with guys from the Moosejaw Warriors, Saskatoon Blades and Humboldt Broncos, among others,” said Perry. “I played as a kid along with my four brothers. My son played hockey. I coached a lot of teens … Everything felt really close to home.”
The Northwest is similar to much of Canada’s sparsely-populated landscape where sports teams need to travel far and wide, back and forth along icy highways, to get to their games.
Cold Road will be released Monday, March 18 when it gets premiered on national online magazine Roots Music Canada at rootsmusic.ca. Online viewers will be able to listen in and feel a little bit of what hockey means to Canadians.
“I have played Cold Road live in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal this year and the response has been a little emotional.
“Hockey is so much a part of our fabric here in Canada. People relate to really going for it … following that dream of making it to the NHL.”
Perry was encouraged to record the song, called up producer Jordy Walker from the Yukon and musical comrades Tobin Frank of Spirit of the West, Mark Thibeault, Ian Olmstead, and Mip to record the track this winter.
Perry is not new to the recording and performing world; he has 12 albums out, performs frequently in his northwest Canadian region, and has begun to broaden his reach.
His songs are getting a new rush of international airtime and favourable review in places like New Zealand, the UK, and across North America since he made his debut this winter at an International Music Conference in Montreal.
Perry’s manager Sandra Smith is a new addition to Perry’s “mostly solo” team, and is pleased to see his music finally leak out.
“It’s very cool to watch the rest of the world begin to discover him,” she said.
In the past two months he’s been played on radio stations from Alabama to Alaska, New York to New Zealand, and England to El Paso, Texas.
“When it comes to Canadian singer-songwriters, he’s one of our best but, until now, he’s been a well-kept secret, quietly doing his thing fairly close to home.”
Perry is known for his storytelling style and often makes legends out of local characters and events in his rural northwest region.
Smith refers to music reviewer Frank Peebles who she says “nailed it” recently when he wrote, “New Jersey has Springsteen. New York has Billy Joel. Northern B.C. has Mark Perry. These are the storytellers of their time and place.”
– Submitted Story