Red Deer’s travelling musician Charlie Jacobson comes across some odd-ball places on his tours.
While driving through Dead Man’s Flats, for instance, he became curious about how the hamlet south of Canmore got its name.
He discovered, from an off-highway information kiosk, that it goes back to a 1904 murder. A dairy farm worker shot his brother in cold blood and threw his body into the Bow River.
But the killer was later was acquitted of the crime by a jury, by reason of insanity.
“He was paranoid. He believed his brother was plotting to kill him,” said Jacobson, who used strands of this tragic story in his songwriting.
The rockin’ blues country singer plans to recount the tale musically in Dead Man’s Flats, which is slated for Jacobson’s upcoming new album, to be recorded early in 2017. Red Deer fans could get an early preview, however, when Jacobson performs with his band on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Elks Lodge in Red Deer.
“I’ll be singing some tunes in support of my last album, Alberta Flood, but I’ll be doing some new songs, too,” said Jacobson, who’s gathered inspiration by crossing Canada six times over the past 12 months.
“I’ve only had my ‘92 Buick ‘Bluesmobile’ for a year but I must have put 100,000 kms on it,” he said, with a chuckle. “I like seeing news places.”
Some of his latest tunes were inspired by the Frank Slide disaster in the Crowsnest Pass, busking opportunities on Toronto streetcars, and the cross-Canada CN Rail journey (Train Whistle). Jacobson was one of the artists-on-board last summer, entertaining passengers between Edmonton and Toronto.
The idea of plane journeys also sparked some of his creativity. Jacobson wrote Cow Town Cowgirl after being introduced to a former Ontario flight attendant, who’d moved to Calgary later in life and became enraptured by the rural lifestyle. “She was living with friends on a ranch …”
This sort of chance meeting makes the Red Deer-raised blues musician rise above his road exhaustion to embrace his mobility. “It’s my job to be a travelling musician. I live in a motor home… and I like meeting new people …”
He looks forward to performing with bassist Andy Hamilton, drummer Kent Cadman and guitarist Bruce Wayne at Red Deer’s Elks Lodge. “It means a lot to have your friends and family there. It’s like, let’s party and celebrate!”
Jacobson will take the stage at Edmonton’s Commercial Hotel around Christmas time. After doing the same stint for the past two years, he was inspired to write Christmas at the Commercial Hotel, which will be released next month as a single.
The bonus, said Jacobson, will be getting to spend Christmas Day in Red Deer with his family.
For more information about the Elks Lodge show, please visit www.centralmusicfest.com.