Nickelodeon Music Club
Crescent Heights Community Centre
Saturday, January 14
Rock copped the anti-authority stance and punk thrived on indignation, but folk music was the original voice of the people. Ottawa singer-songwriter Terry Tufts grew up in an era when bands making strong political statements were the exception, not the rule, and the passion for change rubbed off on him.
"There was a war that people were going to, and all of a sudden for the first time we were watching our brothers and fathers and uncles getting blown up on TV every night at six oclock," Tufts recalls. "That was what spurred people on. Everybody got tired of losing relatives, so they stood up there and thought, hell, it could be me, my draft number is coming up."
While the current American war could provide plenty of fodder for protest tunes, the 51-year-old Tufts would rather speak out against what he feels is a more pervasive problem our lack of environmental consciousness. From fossil fuel consumption to overpopulation (Tufts advocates a zero population growth philosophy), the results of our thoughtlessness abound.
"You know why oil is so difficult to get at?" asks Tufts. "There must be a reason its so deep in the ground because its supposed to be down there. As soon as it breaks ground level, all kinds of weirdness starts to happen. You get the internal combustion engine, you get air pollution, you get plastic on every shoreline of every stream, river, lake, ocean in the world in parts per billion. And then it gets into the food chain."
He admits the problem isnt likely to change overnight, but Tufts insists it is important to move in the right direction. Still, as much as politics dominate his conversation, Tufts doesnt let it overwhelm his music. His latest release, the blues and jazz tinged The Better Fight, touches on themes of love and nostalgia, and most importantly, places songcraft at the forefront.
"Ive always figured that if you have a good beat to it, a good progression, and a melody that ran through it that matched the gait of someone walking down the road, at least theyd have this melody running through their heads," he says." And if you can add in some really great lyrics, thats the key to longevity."