by Bruce Mason
My finest live-music experience in 2017 was singing – or make that screaming – and sharing We Don’t Believe You Anymore with Will Varley and tens of thousands of others at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
This year, the best so far has been joining in the audience recording of Bob Bossin’s equally anthemic, We Don’t Want Your Pipeline, now readily available as a video on Common Ground’s website (commonground.ca), Facebook and YouTube
Backstage, after a workshop featuring both song-writers, Varley explained, “Writing is cathartic, done it for as long as I can remember. There’s no agenda; when something’s on my mind, I write. Weddings and Wars was a challenge to capture world history in a song. To Build a Wall, We Want Our Planet Back and Self-Checkout Shuffle are among titles that are self-explanatory.
“Songs are like wild animals; you can’t predict when, or how, they’re going to come at you, how they’re going to behave. And they no longer belong to me when I’m done. I include a little bit of everything, wouldn’t make a record that never made anyone smile, let alone think. And it would be crazy not to comment on current injustices,” he added.
The foolhardy and reckless Kinder Morgan pipe dream is an injustice which has been very much on Bossin’s mind. His explosively effective video, Only One Bear in a Hundred Bites, but They Don’t Come in Order, went viral. Among those who keenly shared the compilation of endless, terrifying global fossil fuel fires were the Green Party, Council of Canadians, the late Rafe Mair, Dogwood Initiative and myriad like minded protectors.
Bossin, co-founder of the legendary Stringband, pioneered crowd-funding and independent, artist-controlled recordings with Canadian themes. His anthemic Sulphur Passage helped save Clayoquot Sound, where the mass arrests of 800 protesters was the largest in Canadian history, and brought down the BC NDP government of Mike Harcourt.
We Don’t Want Your Pipeline is another arrow in the quiver for the battle against the deadly Kinder Morgan ‘Black Snake.’ Here are the words:
We don’t want your pipeline We don’t want your pipeline
We’ll take the sunshine, water and wind.
We’re gonna put a stop sign on Kinder Morgan’s pipeline.
Go tell your neighbours, go get your friends.
Alberta’s on fire, there’s floods Down East,
Polar bears in trouble, dying coral reefs.
The whole world is heating up by two or three degrees
And still they want to build another pipeline.
Boil-overs, blow-outs, sink-holes too,
A fiery inferno someplace, every year or two.
But Trudeau says it’s safe. Man, he hasn’t got a clue!
He wants to go and build another pipeline.
The suits all say, the deal’s gone down.
What’s good for oil is good for all, you can’t turn it around.
But if we could end apartheid and we saved Clayoquot Sound,
We can stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Expect to hear Bossin’s song at upcoming anti-KM rallies. The proposed pipeline expansion is a monstrosity and more and more Canadians are repeating Varley’s words to those responsible: We don’t believe you anymore!
Bruce Mason is a Vancouver and Gabriola-Island based five-string banjo player, gardener, freelance writer and author of Our Clinic.