We’ve been incredibly fortunate over the last couple of months here at GDW, taking a trip down memory lane and reconnecting with some of the talented artists that we featured during our formative years. With some amazing new single releases, we have caught up recently with Roxanne Potvin, S. K. Wellington, and Andrea Nixon. And now, here today, another long-time friend (and truly wonderful person to boot), Jeffery Straker, shares a brand new composition titled “Morning Light.”
Originally born in the rural community of Punnichy, SK, singer-songwriter Jeffery Straker is a classically trained pianist raised by a church organist mother and an auctioneer father, and happy to convince you that he was indeed born under the piano on the childhood family grain farm. Growing up with two television channels and a telephone on a party line, Jeffery is a true prairie guy who “played ice hockey, but really wanted to just play the piano.” Currently splitting time between Toronto, ON and Regina, SK, this gifted songwriter can easily transport his audience to any place he wishes them to be, his energetic piano-based songwriting serving as a reminder of the power of an artist accompanying himself on the keyboard.
Produced by Calgary-based musician, songwriter, and engineer, Russell Broom (Jann Arden, Leeroy Stagger), the origins of “Morning Light” date back to early 2019, a self-penned composition provisionally titled “We Are,” and amended shortly after some of Jeffery’s first public performances of the song. Beautifully composed and written, “Morning Light” is a melodic and thought-provoking piece that speaks about the life-long need to dream, to belong, and above all, to matter: “I’m staring at the stars but I ain’t Galileo / Tiny lights are strung upon crooked wires / One falls through the night, I make a wish, I hold it tight / Somewhere between what I know and what I need / We are hopes and we are dreams.”
Delve a little deeper into Jeffery’s words, however, and you’ll soon discover just how deeply personal and heartfelt this track proves to be, especially upon learning that this was written in the wake of the sudden and unexpected passing of his mother. “My mom had been very sick in hospital but started to make an incredible recovery,” he shares. “The song was written while everything was seemingly ok. It was short lived and she very suddenly passed away.” The lyrics offer reflection, and collectively represent the questioning, grief, revelation, and resolution during this significant moment in time: “Like a beautiful sunrise at the dawn / We are here and then we’re gone / Oh we are the most beautiful sunrise at the dawn / We are here and then we’re gone.”
Even in this crazy year of 2020, Jeffery has embraced the challenges faced by all artists, and has kept himself very busy with his “Pandemic Piano Backyard Tour” – a planned single outdoor show in Saskatoon that has since grown to in excess of 30 shows performed over the summer, with bookings arranged primarily via word of mouth. These backyard events have provided a great way for Jeffery to not only share and promote his music, but also to help a little with staying on top of the household bills. These shows are set to continue with a few ‘socially-distanced’ indoor shows later this fall, along with a highly anticipated performance with the Regina Symphony on October 22nd, 23rd, and 24th – be sure to mark your calendars for one (or more) of those dates.
“Morning Light” shall appear on Jeffery’s upcoming next full-length album, tentatively scheduled for release next year. “We dance and we sway and we know come what may / We are floating like a feather on the breeze / We are today, we are tomorrow, we are breath we have borrowed / Funny it takes a rear view mirror to see.”
Photo Credit: Ali Lauren Photography