Award-winning songwriter takes aim at fracking

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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‘The Rabbit’ becomes Cameron’s latest musical offering

PARRSBORO – When Carl Cameron gets ticked off about something, he reaches for his banjo.

What results is usually a creation both poignant and funny, and you might want to hope you’re not the one in his sights. But one thing for certain is that people take notice.

The local musician, who won an annual international online “Protest Songwriting Contest” earlier this year for his song “Prosperous Day,” is now turning ears with “The Rabbit,” his latest offering about the practice of shale gas fracturing – “fracking” – and its resulting impact on the environment.

“The Rabbit” started when his friend in New Brunswick, Mike Milligan, called him after seeing a video for “Prosperous Day” on YouTube, he explained.

“They were protesting fracking up there, and asked if I could put something together,” said Cameron. “I said sure.”

He did some research on fracking, which involves the injection of highly pressurized fluids into layers of shale rock to create new channels to extract natural gas at higher rates. He  didn’t like what he found out.

“When they do it, there’s going to be a lot of money made at the time, but which generation down the line is going to suffer, once that all mixes with the groundwater?” he said.

The message is similar in “Prosperous Day,” which is about how the almighty dollar is placed first on the priority list of governments and others.

“As far as I’m concerned, the environment is the No. 1 issue,” said Cameron. “You can take all the job creation, economic growth and prosperity, and, if you have no place to live, what’s the good of it? You can’t even put health care at No. 1 because you have to have a place to live first. They don’t seem to understand it.”

Cameron’s message is not lost on those who enjoy his music, however, which he has been making for most of his life but has been too modest to record and perform it for others.

His cousin, Rob Bentley, who is also his band mate in popular local group Hooligan’s Ruff, helped Cameron record “Prosperous Day” for the contest, and also produced YouTube videos for both songs.

“Carl has a wonderful ability to draw in an audience with his personality,” said Bentley. “He is at his best performing songs that tell a story. People’s general disregard for the environment really bothers Carl and it comes through brilliantly in his protest songs.”

While some might associate protest songs with angry, fist-in-the-air attacks, that is not Cameron’s style.

“I’m not an angry person,” he said. “That’s why I try and keep it funny and put the humour in there.”

awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Geographic location: New Brunswick

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