If you see musician Brett Wildeman bicycling on the highway this weekend, give him a friendly wave. He’ll be towing a small trailer filled with his guitar, ukulele, harmonica, foot tambourine, a few clothes and as many cereals as he can eat from his food sponsor, Bob’s Red Mill.
Wildeman has embarked on the In a Blink, 700-km carbon neutral tour of coastal communities performing his latest recording, Mother Earth, at mostly small venues from a first gig on Texada Island this Saturday to his last in Vancouver at the Tangent Café.
It’s the second recording for the Roberts Creek musician — the first was the five-track Portraits.
Mother Earth has original compositions with thoughtful lyrics and what Wildeman calls “raw Coastal folk music.”
Some of the tunes, for example, Brooks Alberta, that Wildeman describes as “not a fun place” disclose his concern for the environment.
Foreign Affairs is an anti-pipeline song that he recently had the opportunity to play in Prince Rupert and on Haida Gwaii after crossing the stormy strait near the route of the proposed oil tankers.
These regional tours to Terrace and Smithers up north and a lengthier cycle down to California last year are what he loves. It’s life in the slow lane, being aware of the weather and the sounds and sensations of nature.
“A huge part is about the communities that I meet while on the road,” he said.
After playing for 300 people in a park in Williams Lake, selling T-shirts and CDs, he continued to connect with some of the fans later on social networks.
And why on a bike?
“I like music and I like bikes. The best of both worlds,” he said simply.
For recording backup, he had the help of life-long friends, particularly the album’s engineer James Law. Graeme McGillivray and Sophie Heppell also perform on it — recognizable names from Coast String Fiddler days.
Wildeman describes himself as a closet musician while growing up, and he only took on the fiddlers in the last years of high school. Also on the album is Davis Dalgleish, formerly from the Coast, who now lives in Victoria and will supply vocals to Wildeman’s performance there.
“James and I used to race mountain bikes together,” Wildeman said. “Now our focus together is on music.”
They went to the Creek’s Strait Sound where Ray Fulber turned them loose for four days to make the album. Mother Earth is available for streaming and download at http://my
nameisbrettwildeman.bandcamp.com/ and more about his focus is on www.brettwildeman.com.