Since they were appointed Owen Sound Poets Laureate, singer-songwriter Larry Jensen and poet Rob Rolfe have been delighting audiences with their unique fusion of music and poetry. Now, halfway through their two-year tenure, they are launching a CD of their work, and everyone is invited to the party on Sunday, October 16 at 3:00 p.m. at Heartwood Hall.

Mudtown: Songs and Poetry is a collection of pieces that the Poets Laureate have performed in a variety of venues over the last year. Rolfe and Jensen use their talents to tell a history of this community, with a focus on people and events that are often overlooked – stories of First Nations, Métis, Black and other working class people who lived on the east side of Owen Sound, in the area once known as Mudtown.

For veteran Jensen, who has released 14 CDs, producing this one was a labour of love. "It's always an overwhelming but delightful process that never seems like work until you start adding up the hours," he said. Although the CD was Jensen's idea, Rolfe was an enthusiastic participant, "I'm someone who writes poetry mainly for the printed page," he said, "I am thrilled to have recorded with Larry some of the poems from the two books I've published since moving to Owen Sound four years ago."

Some of the selections on the CD are personal, like "Along the Harbour Wall", which is about Jensen's experience growing up here. Rolfe's "Road Work" is about the construction workers who spent eight months rebuilding 3rd Avenue East, the main street of historic Mudtown. The Poets Laureate have been happily surprised at how well the themes of their compositions dovetail. They have also been gratified by the response to their performances at the Emancipation Festival, National Aboriginal Day, the Owen Sound Cultural Awards and on many other occasions. "Each one of those events represented a new level of creative melding of our different and yet somehow similar worlds," said Jensen.

"The highlight so far for me was presenting to City Council some new poetry I'd written, accompanied by Larry's music, about last year's road construction project in Mudtown, said Rolfe. "Two workers showed up to hear us at City Hall, others asked how it went after the presentation, and a video of our performance was shown to the road crew at the construction company's Christmas party."

Rolfe and Jensen are expanding their repertoire with a group called the Métissage collective, which also includes Richard-Yves Sitoski, Mary Little and Susan Schank. Together, they further explore local history. "Métissage refers to the existence of multiple roots and identities in a single individual, said Rolfe. "Similarly, the history of Owen Sound as expressed in Métissage, is a storytelling exploration of various strands of local history - reminiscent of the multi-coloured, interwoven threads in a traditional Métis sash."

The Poets Laureate, joined by other members of the Métissage collective, will perform selections from Mudtown: Songs and Poetry at a launch party at Heartwood Concert Hall on Sunday, October 16 at 3:00 p.m. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. General admission is $10 and the CDs will be available for sale and autographs. Tickets available at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library, Heartwood Home and the door.

source: media release, OSNGU Public Library


CopyRight ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 of Hub Content
is held by content creators