I’m going to attempt to do something today I have never done before; namely, run from the office. That means actually get up, leave my desk sometime before lunch, get changed into my running duds, go for a jog, come back, change back into my office clothes and resume working. I know, it’s crazy. But today, being as time crunched as it is I have little other choice as I can’t bare the thought of running on a treadmill later on; -16° (feels like -26°) weather be damned! The second goal is simply on getting some short interval (5k) mileage in (picking up the pace along the portion of cleared pavement and then slowing down when it wasn’t), as my legs are still a bit chewed up after Sunday’s hard slog through the crap (click HERE). So I have my running kit set up by my desk getting all warm and cozy and, to boot, I have the ‘Days Into Years‘ album by Elliott BROOD cued up on my iPod ready to go.
This album released in 2012, was actually inspired by a side trip the band took during a European tour back in 2007. Faced with five days to kill getting from Barcelona from Amsterdam, they chose to take the back roads on the southward journey and they soon found themselves winding their way through the Belgian and French coastal landscapes. They were drawn to the picturesque seaside ports, quaint villages and secluded fields in the countryside, where they were compelled to stop and explore. They visited historical battlefields and cemeteries along the way, all culminating in an early morning stop at Juno Beach. On these excursions they found countless Canadian names carved on WWI-era headstones. It wasn’t until weeks later, caught in the midsummer Paris rush hour traffic, did the band begin to discuss the effects of that journey. As they reflected upon their experiences, they came to an understanding that they would one day write an album that was inspired and influenced by that five-day trip. ‘Days Into Years’ is that album. How apres peau then that today’s battle through the frigid winter weather down Bunting and Canal Rd. is set to music inspired by the battles of World War I and World War II (not that I am in any way comparing my runs to the horrific atrocities of war and Naziism).
The songs on ‘Days Into Years‘ deal with universal themes of grief and loss and despite what you might feel about it’s pretty dismal mood, it topped Canadian radio’s roots music chart after its release in September of 2011. The album’s first single, ‘If I Get Old‘, a slow dramatic rocker that contrasts the serenity of a life in the countryside with the disturbing memories that haunt even the strongest survivor, was inspired by a visit to the Étaples Military Cemetery in France, where many dead Canadian soldiers from World War I are buried. When Sasso sings, “I’ll never be the same again without my youthful heart,” it’s a heartbreaking moment – not unlike the moment I turned onto Scott St. an directly into the bone-chilling wind; I think I might have actually felt my heart stop for a moment. They also explore the tragedy of young men coming to terms with the realities of war on ‘Their Will‘, where shrieking guitars mimic the sounds of battle while the vocal harmonies wail with anguish. Dissonant guitars and tremulous vocals also add drama to ‘Will They Bury Us?‘, a song for dying men struggling to come to terms with the growing darkness that surrounds them.
On an entirely different note, the album also includes the band’s song ‘West End Sky‘, originally composed for the soundtrack to Adriana Maggs’ film ‘Grown Up Movie Star’ and was nominated for Best Achievement in Music – Original Song at the 31st Genie Awards (it lost).
So, much like the struggles to preserve our freedoms, I successfully completed my run and my fingertips have finally thawed out enough to type out this post. And with this first workout in the bag (not to mention a touch of frostbite), it’s back to work with a hard earned and well deserved salad.