Benalla, 19 April 2018
I had seen Corin Raymond briefly at the 2018 National Folk Festival in Canberra where he and fellow Canadian songwriter and troubadour Scott Cooke performed a set at the Bohemian Bar. But it was noisy and I wanted to listen carefully.
I would get that chance several weeks later when Scott and Corin ventured to, of all places, Benalla (not exactly a buzzing hive of music culture).
Scott had told me that Corin was a force to be reckoned with in concert and that Corin was a great inspiration to him. Scott was not wrong, it was a great little show.
A few friends and I travelled down from Wangaratta to the North East Artisans. What a top little venue for singers and songwriters: original art on the walls, old lounges, a bar, great sound. What else could you want?
Each songwriter did a set each, and then joined forces for the finale. One of Corin’s songs that really grabbed me (and others was) Hard On Things. The song speaks about how hard he is on everything. It is a tour de force in songwriting.
I’m hard on my body I’m hard on my bones
I’m hard on every tool I own
hard of hearing
I’m hard of taste, gettin’ all my teeth replaced
I’m hard on every tool I use, I strip the drivers and the screws
I’m hard on my soles, hard on my heels, hard on tyres
I’m hard on wheels hard on clutches hard on brakes
I’m hardest on my own mistakes
My suspension needs new springs
‘cause I’m hard on things…
The song reached in hard and touched me. I gravitate to good lyrics and this song is a killer. Corin nails so many things I can relate to. His set was full of great songs and stories.
That night I have a fan moment and purchase three of his CDs during the interval. I have another fan moment as I am invited to get up and play some harmonica with Corin and Scot.
Corin speaks of ‘the small time’ juxtaposed to ’the big time’ that many artists aspire. In the small time people are kinder and more supportive. Artists can make a modest living in the small time while staying true to their art and craft. I dig the idea of the small time.
Fast forward several tumultuous months…
As I ride my buggy to the hospital for rehab I try not to be hard on it.
I try not to be hard on my partner who has supported me as I recover from a stroke.
I try not to be hard on myself, as for the moment, I cannot do all I that want to do.
I try not to be hard on things.