Picking Trilliums: Songs about Ontario (A Playlist)  

I've started up a new research project...mining songs that situate themselves within the Ontario territory.

This will be an ongoing project for the foreseeable future so click follow and stay tuned (if you're not on Spotify see the playlist below and follow along however you wish).

There's another 50 coming soon...












The First 50

1/ Stompin Tom Conners “Sudbury Saturday Night”

2/ Pukka Orchestra “Cherry Beach Express”

3/ Grievous Angels “Heartbreak Town”

4/ Willie Dunn “Charlie Wenjack

5/ Roger Quick “Southern Ontario Farm Boy

6/ Jean Leloup “Balada A Toronto”

7/ Allison Brown “Invisible Line”

8/ Jim Bryson “Ontario”

9/ Sarah Harmer “Escarpment Blues”

10/ Ron Leary “The Road in Between”

11/ Stompin Tom Connors “The Peterborough Postman”

12/ The Stephen Stanley Band “The Troubadour’s Song”

13/ Martha and the Muffins “Echo Beach”

14/ The Shuffle Demons “Spadina Bus”

15/ Lenny Breau “Taranta”

16/ K-OS “Crabbuckitt

17/ Georges Langford “Thunder Bay”

18/ Murray McLauchlan “Down By The Henry Moore”

19/  Run With the Kittens “Parkdale”

20/ Lilly Singh & Humble the Poet “Ivivi” 

21/ Stompin Tom Connors “Algoma Central No. 69”

22/ Neil Young “Born in Ontario

23/ The Tragically Hip “Bobycaygeon”

24/ James O-L and the Villains “Wild Goose Jack”

25/ Sunparlour Players “Point Pelee Is The Place To Be!”

26/ Allison Brown “Currents Collide”

27/ Gord Downie “The North”

28/ Shibastik “Thunder Bay”

29/ Corey Charron “Smoking Crack With Rob Ford”

30/ Tanika Charles “Parkdale”

31/ Stompin Tom Connors “Black Donnelly’s Massacre”

32/ Kyp Harness “Ipperwash”

33/ Neil Young “Ambulance Blues”

34/ Ron Sexmith “West Gwillimbury”

35/ Erika Werry “Ode To Ron”

36/ Rheostatics “Claire”

37/ Pat Maloney “Bruce County Power Trip”

38/ The Hidden Cameras “Mississauga Goddam”

39/ Grievous Angels “D Miner Reel”

40/ Emerson Woodcock “Jimmy Whelan”

41/ Stompin Tom Connors “Horseshoe Hotel Song – Live”

42/ Digging Roots “Hwy 17”

43/ Drake “Weston Road Flows”

44/ The Spy’s “Machine Shop”

45/ PUP “DVP”

46/ Dave Russell & the Precious Stones “Deep Talk in Shallow Water”

47/ Corin Raymond “Riding West on Dundas”

48/ Sarah Harmer “St. Peter’s Bay”

49/ Wade Hemsworth “The Blackfly Song”

50/ Gord Downie “The Lake”

I Was Born (Official Video)  

The lead off track from Tobacco Fields got the video treatment.

It was inspired by the classic City TV show Night Drive and features one of Canada's largest infrastructure developments of the past decade the Herb Gray Parkway right down here in the deep the south.

"I Was Born" Tobacco Fields (2017)

Ron Leary - vocals, acoustic guitar
Dean Drouillard - electric guitar
Adrian Lawryshyn - upright bass
Adam Warner - drums
Tara Watts - vocals

Produced by Andy Magoffin (House of Miracles)

Listen to the album here:

Bridging the Social Distance - An Interview w/ Jenny Mitchell on Guelph's CFRU 93.3 FM 

Grab a listen, here's an interview with Guelph's artist-in-residence Jenny Mitchell (Bird City) on CFRU 93.3 FM.

We cover lots of ground over the hour... Windsor-Detroit, my hometown, touring Canada (and the US), creating art during the pandemic, Stompin' Tom Connors, being an independent musician in the 21st century, the pandemic album I made with Dean Drouillard, Northern Ontario, van life, digital impermanence, and heck a whole bunch more.

Listen here (May 11th, 2021):

YouTube - One Song at A Time (Weekly Series)  

I've started adding songs to my YouTube channel.

There'll be hits, misses, unreleased and ones written for others. This past week's tune was "Lies," a song I wrote and recorded for my debut theroadinbetween (but it wouldn't make the cut).

Subscribe to keep posted on the latest.


LiUNA! & Bluesfest Windsor Presents... Ron Leary & Dean Drouillard  

New live video with my good bud Dean Drouillard, thanks to Bluesfest Windsor and LiUNA! 625.

# Power to the people!


Singer songwriter, folklorist Ron Leary’s smokey, rye-soaked voice is legendary throughout our region. Whether his songs touch on politics of the day, the downtrodden, romance or joy, he’ll raise your spirits and leave you wilfully optimistic. Don’t miss this special Porch Party featuring Ron Leary with special guest and longtime sidekick, musician, composer Dean Drouillard from Toronto.

It's a  special tribute to the region's healthcare and mental health professionals protecting our community during COVID.


The Making of "As Long As I Don't Think About the Future"  

June 6, 2020 

On March 14 2020, Ron Leary and Dean Drouillard played to a small but engaged crowd, tightly packed around the stage at Phog Lounge in Windsor, Ontario. The energy in the room was electric. Though they had performed together hundreds of times, it had been years since they took the stage as a duo. The next day the city, country and world began shutting its doors. Everyone locked themselves in their homes and consumed the news as the COVID-19 pandemic changed life as we knew it. 

Twenty-five years earlier, when Leary was a music student at the University of Windsor, the two met at The Coach & Horses, a downtown dive where Drouillard hosted a popular weekly open-mic night. The chance encounter led to a decades-long friendship, several albums and countless shows together. 

Barely into the shock of the lockdown, on March 25th Leary emailed Drouillard a phone memo recording of a song called “Bled to the Bone,” a song he’d written the previous night. It was a poignant and revealing folk song about the struggles that come with working hard to eke out a living as a performing musician – Leary and Drouillard’s vocation up until COVID-19 hit.  With no end date on the government-mandated isolation and all but essential businesses closed indefinitely, the lyrics strike an understandably heavy tone. The song is a reluctant surrender to the powers that can make living as an artist an unbearable challenge. “Bled to the Bone” would be the first in a series of reactive, emotional vignettes that Leary sent to Drouillard periodically over the locked-down spring of 2020. 

 “Frontline” arrived in Drouillard’s mailbox a week later. In it Leary expresses the need to appreciate the sacrifices medical practitioners make for the health and well-being of the public on a regular basis, but especially in the midst of the pandemic that was raging.  He also praises and sympathizes with the low-wage essential workers for their service – for putting themselves and their families at risk. Drouillard responded to the honesty and urgency in the song and inspired further fleshed out the tune by adding instrumentation and contributing to its atmosphere. 

Leary continued experimenting further in new pieces - translating his solitary experience into words. He laments the loss of normalcy and social contact in “Feelin’ It Tonight,” and catches up with a past romance in “First Love.” But in “Deserted Streets,” any previously unspoken creative boundaries were blown wide open. Ron’s spoken word delivery brings the listener on an eerie walk through the empty streets of Windsor – a ritual for Leary that had suddenly become utterly alien. The piece reflects on the absence of people and traffic, particularly in what was an already struggling downtown. Drouillard contributes abstract percussion while Windsor’s electronic inventor Mike Beauchamp layers atonal drones from synthesizers and his renowned musical invention, the Therevox. 

No plan had ever been discussed for these recordings. They were simply an outlet for Leary and Drouillard to exercise creativity and to ease the ennui of being stuck at home without paying work or hope thereof in the foreseeable future. But after the first few pieces were completed, they realized they were onto something exciting and necessary. They would make an album. 

Their modus operandi was to create from instinct and emotion, be in-the-moment, and not get hung up on rough edges or blemishes since each piece was meant to reflect the raw experience of life in uncertain and unprecedented times. 

They mainly kept the project as a duo, but it was graced with a couple of special guests.  Aside from Beauchamp, haunting harmonica was contributed to the biting, one-chord “Curating Death” by Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe.  The Windsor music veteran, who has toured the world with Big Sugar and spent countless nights on stage with Leary, also recorded his part into his phone. 

“Table 17” and “As Long As I Don’t Think” further explore spoken word and sound design.  The album concludes with a chorus of banged pots and pans – a nightly celebration that began in March and still continues in Drouillard’s Toronto neighbourhood to show support for the frontline workers. 

As Long As I Ain’t Thinking About the Future has an inherently low-fi sound for an album, largely due to the media (iPhone, 4-track cassette) it was recorded to.  But the practice of making this record flows naturally from the way Leary and Drouillard created recorded music together in the 90s when Ron would pass along cassettes of his original songs for Dean to add additional instrumentation, each welcoming the other to share their artistic choices. 

As Long As I Ain’t Thinking About the Future is a paramount creation in a still maturing partnership.

* Listen to the album on Bandcamp

- Post written by Dean Drouillard, with input from Steven Palmer and Ron Leary.

- Photo by Kenneth Mills (Phog Lounge, Windsor, ON, March 14 2020)

Ghost Artist Screens in St. John's 

Ghost Artist the documentary film by Steven Palmer is off to play the MUN Cinema Series in St. John's, NL after successful runs at WIFF and FIN. It also features music from Tobacco Fields, hello!

When a revolutionary film about medicine and the body is rediscovered after 50 years in an archival vault, it leads to its uncredited maker, Robert Cordier, still working in Paris at 82. Beyond making 20,000 faint at the Montreal world’s fair, Cordier’s 1967 movie was inspired by an unsung career of collaborations with such legendary figures as James Baldwin, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and Salvador Dalí. As Cordier helps to revive the original film, the great storyteller unmasks the film as a remarkable avant-garde creation for the masses, a strategic cross-over with spectacular results.