See Also

 

Down The Horseshoe Valley Road

With “Down the Horseshoe Valley Road”(2015), Anne Walker returns to her roots. In this collection she has “gone deep”—mining not only her own heart and experience, but also the rich history of the rural community in which she was raised. Coulson, Ontario is a small hamlet located in the gently rolling hills of central Ontario. Walker, who has familial roots that run several generations deep in the area, has captured the spirit and vernacular of the culture.

 

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Track Listing

Click on the speaker to hear a sample of the song:

  1. Horseshoe Valley Road
  2. Bill and Doll
  3. Kittens in the Barn
  4. Carley Station
  5. Skating On Warner's Pond
  6. Parlour Days
  7. You Can't Beat Jennie At Crokinole
  8. The Women's Institute
  9. Coulson General Store
  10. The Turning of the Millwheel
  11. School Closing
  12. Sticky Buns
  13. Grandma Harris in Her Own Words
  14. Cullybackey

The title track, “Horseshoe Valley Road”, describes the beauty of the region and traces Walker’s deep familial and emotional roots in the community. It’s a look back to the days of horsepower and a lonely farmer’s life in the poignant “Bill and Doll”.

 

Walker captures every farm kid’s delight in the playful “Kittens in the Barn.”

 

“Carley Station” tells the story of the legendary bonfires that greeted King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when their train stopped at this tiny village in 1939. Backing vocals provided by Anne’s daughters, Erica and Katie Lem.

 

The millpond at Jack Warner’s sawmill, on the 7th Line, saw many community gatherings for “Skating On Warner’s Pond”.

 

In “Parlour Days” Walker takes us back to an earlier era. She speaks as her great grandmother who, in her advancing years, found her much-loved parlour had been put to more modern uses. At the same time, this is a personal story of aging, change and loss that speaks to each of us.

 

 

“You Can’t Beat Jennie At Crokinole” --here meet Walker’s grandmother and celebrate this a quintessential rural board game. Great fun.

 

“The Women’s Institute” pays tribute to a world-wide organization of rural women that originated in Ontario in 1889. Walker’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were life members.

 

“Coulson General Store” is a rollicking celebration of the heart of a rural community, into which Walker has woven colourful tales of local characters.

 

In 1967, the community lost a century-old tradition when the grist mill was destroyed in a flash flood. This event is poignantly rendered in “The Turning of the Millwheel”.

 

One-room school houses closed across the county as rural education was consolidated in the central school system—“School Closing”.

 

Your mouth will be watering during the rousing “Sticky Buns”.

 

On Track 13 hear the voice of Walker’s maternal grandmother as she speaks of her emigration from Ireland in 1919 and her life in Canada. This vintage recording beautifully introduces Walker’s tribute to her “leaving home” song--“Cullybackey”.

 

 

Produced by Paul Mills at the Millstream Studio in London, Ontario.

 

The Players: Anne Walker (vocals, guitar); Joe Phillips (bass); Paul Mills (guitars, banjo, mandolin, drum programming, vocals); Shane Cook (fiddle); Tom Leighton (piano, accordion, penny whistle)

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