Category Archives: News

Willy Rides Again

Singing our way across Canada

What a delight to be asked back by Via Rail Canada.  An iconic Canadian experience, riding the rails across this beautiful land, singing of history, characters and landscapes.

Rockin’ It Up at Historic Hollyburn Lodge

Yes, a Canadian band called Willy Blizzard actually had to snowshoe into a gig on top of a mountain.  How iconic is that?  Seeing so many people dancing gives a band so much energy, and it was indeed gratifying to know that our show was sold out. Looking out the window directly across from the stage, we could see couples literally dancing in the snow.  What a great end to a BC winter.
Hollyburn Lodge, Cypress Mtn.

Rockabilly, Gospel & The Delta Blues : Willy at The Crossroads

The Crossroads
Indulged in authentic pit-cooked southern BBQ at the Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  Located at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, it witnessed the birth of the Delta Blues. Legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil here, paving the way for Muddy Waters, BB King, John Lee Hooker etc.

Along the way we also paid a visit to the birthplace of Elvis himself, the town of Tupelo.  The humble origins of the King of rock’n’roll are a reminder that new ideas come out of the old and the authentic.

Gospel, Country, The Blues and BBQ.

What’s not to love?

St. Pierre et Miquelon? Incroyable!

Le Cabestan, Ferry to FranceLeaving behind the tour van at the very bottom of the Burin Peninsula, we walked on a ferry and ended up  . . . in France! After 8,000 km, what a treat to ride our own Vancouver bicycles on the small French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, off the south coast of Newfoundland.  So awesome to experience an authentic blend of French culture, complete with wine and baguettes, in a Terre Neuve setting.  C’etait magnifique!

Return to Maritime Blue

Greetings from Fogo Island, off the north east coast of Newfoundland.  We have finally returned to Newfoundland, after many decades.  A return visit for both John and Andrea, we are delighted to spend time on Fogo Island.  Because Newfoundland was the original inspiration for the song “Maritime Blue” we have decided to include the lyrics below, at the request of a friend who recently heard it played live in a folk club in Ontario.  Being here on The Rock, how can we not reflect on the images and lyrics from such a rich piece of Canadian history.  The folks here are exceptionally friendly, and helpful.  This song is our gift to them.

Blizzard on The Rock

Maritime Blue (words and music by John Hough)

A young boy watches his uncle and father
Cleaning the cod on the rocks by the water
A lifetime of lifetimes are his on this day
As the boats return into the bay
He’s red-haired, barefoot, free as the wind
That blows strong and hard from the eastward again
He’s a link in a chain that is centuries long
And a part of this rock where he’ll always belong

Maritime blue, on the water so cold
Colours our lives ‘til the days when we’re old
Ran through the veins of the ones we all knew
Even my heart runs maritime blue

Eileen is just twenty and part of this life
At eighteen she wed to be a fisherman’s wife
She’s a treasure, a beauty and just wants to be
With her family and close to the sea
There’s a dance in her step as she hums out a tune
And a cove that she thinks of when there’s a full moon
There’s a love all around her like wind ‘round a sail
And a shower of stars in the sky is her veil

Now the east coast brings heartache and sadness untold
If you find yourself drivin’ down Old Kingston Road
The St. Lawrence Valley is a long way from home
But there’s a promise you won’t be gone long
So you hold dear the laughter, the faces, the friends
As the road unfamiliar seems never to end
The face of your loved one and how she loves you
Keeps driving you homeward to maritime blue