Open Letter to Calgary writers & musicians

Hi, folks.

I know I’ve been remiss. I have failed to keep properly in touch. And for that I apologize.

The other day, someone from California went asking after me at the Calgary Herald. Folks there had no idea. All things considered — remember the strike? — I guess that is not surprising.

But I write to draw your attention to a book called Sonic Booms: Making Music in an Oil Town by that itinerant Calgarian Gillian Turnbull. It’s published by a small publisher (Eternal Cavalier Press) and might easily escape your notice. May I urge you not to let that happen?

Sure, Sonic Booms is a niche book. But YOU ARE that niche!

And this is also a landmark book — one that celebrates the Calgary music scene of the past twenty years in the context of your province’s social and political evolution. I follow from afar, but Sonic Booms makes everything vivid.

Gillian (all right, yes, we are acquainted) speaks as insider on every front. She is the former editor of Canadian Folk Music Magazine, has a PhD in ethnomusicology and co-founded the Wide Cut Weekend Roots Music Festival in your town. Most exciting of all, she knows how to write. She brings personal experience and voice to what evolves into a driving narrative. And along the way, she offers evocative

portraits of key figures who have hung tough through the lean years, some of whom I remember fondly (hey, Tom Phillips!).

This is not the place to attempt a definitive review. But here’s hoping that when awards season rolls around, folks at the WGA will take a peek at this book.

For the rest, my only regret is that Gillian picks up the story a couple of years after I passed through on the periphery of Calgary’s music scene. Heck, maybe that’s for the best. You decide:

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