Songwriting inspiration strikes Red Deer musician Rob McIver like lightning — wherever he happens to be.
Sometimes he’ll wake up in the morning with lyrics already stuck in his head.
Other times, he’ll be at his night job, as caretaker at the Red Deer Public School District office, when a line or two of verse will pop into his mind.
He recalled once leaning over to smell a rose on somebody’s desk, when these words more or less materialized: “The wilder the rose, the sharper the thorn, the darker the night, the brighter the morn, they colder the winter, the more babies are born, the older the bull, the harder the horn…”
They ended up in the title-song of McIver’s new country-folk album, The Older the Bull, the Harder the Horn — which is about getting stronger with age and experience.
He will perform tunes from the recording from 1-3 p.m. on Friday, June 23, at The Hub. Everyone is welcome.
At 57 years old, with three CDs under his belt and regular performances at local venues, McIver is proving that you are never too old to follow your muse.
The Ontario native, who moved to Red Deer in 1984, didn’t grow up wanting to become a musician. In fact, he remembers that hockey was a bigger distraction than the piano lessons he started taking at age eight.
He spent three decades as rehab practitioner at Michener Centre before moving to the school district job.
But McIver’s also been writing poems and playing the guitar since his mid-20s. (He once won a prize for writing a radio jingle that included the title CKRD, along with the name of a local restaurant.)
While he considers music “a hobby” — it’s an important one, since he invests a lot of himself in the singing/ songwriting process. McIver credits local musicians/producers Mark Barnes and Rob Farion for helping him with his music, and the staff at The Hub for their on-going support.
“I know how I felt when I recorded by first album — scared — because you’re putting yourself out there…. You have these crazy ideas, and you write them down,” but can’t tell how other people are going to react, he said.
So far, McIver feels the feedback has been very supportive, which goes a long way towards loosening the stomach knot he sometimes feels before stepping on stage. Although he considers himself “a songwriter first,” McIver believes he’s gradually been improving as a performer, with the more gigs he does.
The Older the Bull — as well as his 2005 debut country-folk album, All Over the Map, and his 2010 children’s recording, More Crackers Than Cheese — are available at his show at The Hub, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.