Lonely Heroes: Home Song Introductions And Lyrics

Haida Gwaii

Canada’s Galapagos…a chain of islands (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) is spiritually represented in this tribute song to the people of the Raven, and the People of the Eagle, the two clans of the ancient Haida. John was chosen to perform for two successive festivals (2008 and 2009) at Tlell, Haida Gwaii, BC, because of this work. “The Edge of the World” summer music and arts festival receives more than 1200 professional performer and artist applications per year from all over the world! The song was also featured in an article by Paula Simons, after she heard a live performance at the Edmonton Heritage Festival Amphitheatre. A video of this song being performed at the Canadian Native Friendship Center is available on YouTube.

There’s a place I long to be
And she’s calling out to me
Far away, but ‘ere I see
She’s my Haida G-wa-ii

Out on the edge of the earthly world
Stands an island faith unfurled
Where the raven teaches youth
[While the eagle speaks his truth]

When a wise one sails for thee
From his chains he must cut free
Then in his heart, he shall foresee
The lessons told near the totem tree
Near the totem tree, Haida Gwaii

And when I lay my body down
I will sing in silent sound
Sacred ground shall mother me
[On my Haida G-wa-ii] Chorus /Coda: Near the totem tree, HG…

Freedom Girl

I’m alone with you again, time that I do love to spend.
I can’t have you all the time. Freedom Girl won’t you be mine.

Like a white bird in the sky, you still keep me flyin’ high
I can see my paradise, when I gaze into those eyes.

I wanna stay in touch with you, too many midnights feelin’ blue
Can’t you work in out some how, I want to be with you right now

Aurora (Instr)

The Wild Wolves

There’s a ‘Lassie so fair, out there, somewhere
With a heart wide open to view.
She’s my warm, sweet friend, I’ll love ‘til the end
Sharing peace, sharing dreams, being true.

She runs with the wild wolves on the wide open plain
They glide through the forest so free
Dancing in moonlight, the starshine, and rain
She harbours aurora for me.

[So run with your wild wolves, my lassie, my love
Run ‘til your dreams can come true.
Run wit h Godspeed, and do what you need
And my heart shall forever abide you].

Come what may, one day, I’ll travel with her
No collars, no strings, and no pain
To a land where horizons and human hearts stir
And a timeless live will remain.

Take My Troubles Away

Goin’ down to big-hog town, take my troubles away
Make my pay on a sidewalk sound, take my music and play
Ride my thumb and play my strum, I’ll be leavin’ today
Have some fun and then I’m gone, lovers hear what I say.

I’ll be free and the rest will see, I’ll be doin’ ok
Stay in one place ain’t for me, livin’ tomorrow today.

[Gotta be movin’ on, you know I can’t stay long
So tell em’ I won’t be home…’til the fall]

Make ‘em happy singin’ my song, take my music and play
Keep on keepin’ on highway one, takes those troubles away

Passin’ through, and I won’t be blue, I’ll just be on way
See my view, its always new… tell my mom I’m ok.

Canadee-i-o (Trad)

Its of a fair and handsome girl, she’s all in her tender years
She fell in love with a sailor boy, and its true she loved him well
For to go off to sea with him, like she did not know how
She longed to see that seaport town, called Canadee-i-o

So she bargained with a young sailor boy, sold for a piece of gold
Straight way then, he led her, all down into the hold
Saying I’ll dress you up in sailors clothes, your jacket shall be blue
You’ll see that seaport town, called Canadee-i-o.

Now when the other sailors heard the news, well they fell into a rage
And with all the whole ships company, they were willing to engage
Saying we’ll tie her hands and feet me boys, overboard we’ll throw her
And she’ll never see that sea-port town, called Canadee-i-o

Now when the captain, he heard the news, well he too fell in a rage
And with all the whole ships company, he was willing to engage
Saying she’ll stay on in sailor’s clothes, her collar shall be blue
She’ll see that seaport town, called Canadee-i-o

Now when they came down to Canada, scarce ‘bout half a year
Well she’s married this bold captain, who calls her his dear
She’s dressed in silks and satins now, and she cuts a gallant shawl
She’s the finest of the ladies, down in Canadee-i-o

Come all ye fair and tender girls, from where-ever you may be
I’d have you to follow your own true love, when he goes out on the sea
For if the sailors should prove false to you, well the captain he might prove true
You see the honour that I have gained, by the wearin’ of the blue

Ice and Fire

She is ice and she is fire, everything that I desire
A promised land that is my home, warm and cool and not alone
She appears in Angel’s arch, beneath her wings my captive heart
Upon my soul she makes her mark, On this page an age will start.

[Then her spirit carries me, nothing in the world can be
She is all that I desire, she is ice and she is fire]

Through her world she takes my dream, can’t explain what I have seen
Falling, floating, rising higher. Cooling ice and tingling fire.

Pembina River Shinny

A light-hearted hockey song that has already been in rotation for CBC radio and hockey broadcast coverage. A personal recount of childhood memories and trips to the family farm at Dapp, AB, one hour NW of Edmonton on the picturesque Pembina River.

Malcolm stood in the fence-wood goal, with catalogues on his shins
5-foot high were the banks that stalled the game when the puck went in
Through the woods down to the river as a wester’ wind did blow
And a well-worn wooden shovel sheered the ice from the fallen snow

Skates tied on at the house porch, then slice down the old cow trail
Pick your favourite stick but you best be quick or yours comes with a nail
And ya’ better be fast on your feet or you’ll be head first for a ride
Deke real grand or the old guys plant you face-washed on the side.
Pembina River shinny, see the lights of Pibroch town
Pembina River shinny, folks from every farm around
Ol’ time river hockey, hear the din from Dapp on down
There’s rosie-red cheeks, and sparks in the eyes and I don’t recall a frown.

No one knows why the girls wore white skates who cared anyway
One side scored a dozen more but the next goal wins they’d say
Ol’ Bill was the Black-toques’ captain, keepin’ time and referee
Last-minute roared an hour or more and there wasn’t one penalty
Repeat Chorus x2
Coda: And I don’t…recall…a frown!

Mother Earth Day

Verse 1:
In the deep, where the tall ships sail
Hear the choir, rock-a-by baby whales
In the bright Canadian moon
Hear the wolf gang lullaby lonely tunes

Because we care for what will be
When we share our world is free
And we try in nature’s way
To abide her wisdom every day.

So fare-thee-well, young travellers, may your fortunes be clean
May you marvel at the mountains, the wild rivers and the streams
May you all be nature’s children in a world of blue and green
*{And may you meet at Mother Earth Day in a hundred years again}

In the wide Canadian sky
Tell the wild geese, keep flyin’ high
Where the golden prairies lie
Hear the whoopers ancient cry

Refrain (2)* {coda}

Memorial Mountain

Written by request from “The Last Tail-gunner”. Vern Flatekval, of Armstrong, BC, WW2 veteran Lancaster Bomber tail-turret gunner, who survived 36 missions over Germany. The average life expectancy of tail-gunners was seven missions! Sadly, Vern, who became a firm companion and advocate of the project, and assisted and was honoured at a number of Songs for Canada 2009, 2010, and 2011 shows in central and lower mainland BC, died at age 92 on April 20th, 2012 (Photos are available. Please google John Spearn “Tuesday in the Trees”, as assembled by the Downtown Vernon Business Association, a lunch-time concert series that hosted Songs for Canada shows at Memorial Park in downtown Vernon, BC.).

As kids we’d climb high on the mountain
Trails through trees, reach for the sky
Then looking down our golden valley
Feelin’ small, just you and I
The king did call across the ocean
All ye good men, freedom is nigh
We’re marching on, faith and devotion
Feelin’ tall, just don’t ask why.
(So)Take me back, (you big green) mountain (coda: memorial mountain)
Take me home across the sea (coda: Back to my hills of Spallum’cheen)
Just one more walk, before the snow falls (coda: down where the cross lies)
And I shall have you there by me.
She waits for me, home in the valley
They pray for me, ‘ere I am gone
We were good men, crossing that channel
Thy will be done, daughter and son.


This song is written about plausible events involving street people on Edmonton’s Churchill Square in the early morning. The lyric then portrays a traffic problem on the high level bridge, and another verse evolves into an experience of a PPCLI (Edmonton Garrison) soldier in Afghanistan. The song was chosen for the Edmonton “Heart of the City” Festival CD project, and is presently available for listening on the Fest’s Soundcloud site

Five o’clock in the morning, streets are still bare
A handful of homeless, down on the square
Warm wave of sunlight, the crowd is wired
Girl looks to the heavens, a streetlight expires
And a butterfly lands-on her hair
The butterfly landed-on her hair
Gridlock on the bridge, a siren’s alarm
Another hot commute, this used to be a farm
Nerves on the fumes rise, in the windshields glare
Bus driver cracks a window, to get some air
Then a butterfly lands on his arm
Yea a butterfly landed on his arm
Little butterfly, flew across a continent
Transformed from just a little worm they say
Is there a rhyme or a reason for a miracle
Is there something in the air this day
In the air this day
Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan
Can’t make up his mind is this a child or a man
Small lad on a bicycle smiles and rides away
Hot finger on the trigger time to breathe and to pray

The Last Man of Truth

The NWMP march west and subsequent handling of the Sioux- nation crisis is summarily defined. The tragedy of Sitting Bull, his people, and also the slaughter of the massive herds of millions of Great Plains buffalo. The song has been created in collaboration with Fort Edmonton and Fort Calgary event coordinators and Board of Directors. John frequently performs at both venues during summer weekends and special events. The song has been designed to be utilized in upcoming programs and for a Burnside Theatre presentation/production.

Where the whiskey runs in the late night sun and the drunk men scoff the law
And a million buffalo, each one ton, I swear that’s what I saw
We’re on our way all the long, long day, in a tandem column we ride
My name is Cecil Denny, on a Percheron in stride…on the Queen Victoria side
Chorus: Down a dusty trail of endless land, and the letter of law is in our hands
We’re the scarlet horsemen’s pride, on the Queen Victoria side.
Travelling north of the Medicine Line with the Sioux where the coulee’s wynd
Chase American scum down to Fort Benton, dump the whiskey left behind, rotten whiskey l.b.
And I saw Sitting Bull ride that night, everyone stopped and prayed
And he spoke right out in Lakota tongue and {we knew he’d been betrayed}
Hey-hey-ya, *Wik ak e’ sni
“The millions of Buffalo were wiped out… by hordes of American poachers, starving out the Sioux. Sitting Bull reluctantly returned to the American side on a promise of fair treatment. Soon after he was murdered by government hired guns-Indian Police drunkards. All we could do was shake our heads. The last man of truth was gone”.
(Repeat Chorus)
Now I watch the sun from Wood Mountain, where the Percheron’s tail no longer swayed…
I had to put him down dear Lord, down like the buffalo, {On the Queen Victoria side}.
Coda: {Hay-hay, ya}
*Lakota term for traitor/liar


A commercially viable song to promote the City of Edmonton as “The Festival City”, it portrays a young lady as seen attending a local festival. This song is capable of being networked very successfully, through a large number of Edmonton music industry personalities who have already been notified, if its production can be supported optimally.

She’s a drivin’ in, walkin’ down, parkin’ lot conversation
See the gate guy volunteers pourin’ on the admiration
She’s got her wrist band on, hears her favourite song.
Late last night told her daddy she’s gone…
To the festival
Ya the festival
She’s so beautiful
At the festival
She’s dancing 10 feet out from the wedges and the music is fine
Hips and hands for the band marchin’ choo-choo on the prancin’ line
It’s all jeans down low and tops tied high
Everybody here knows how to fly
Chorus: Refrain
(she’s got her tall boots on) (hair in the breeze)
(no she can’t go wrong) (doesn’t mean to tease)
(she sings an ol’ time song) (She’s for sure the bee’s knees )
(dancin’ all night long) (boys learn to say please), ya…
at the Festival (musical interlude)
See the sun goes down but the girls get hotter at night
Move the stage lights round cause she’s dancin’ in the pale moonlight