"Northern Heartbeat" the Lost Album

Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Buried in the archives of our local library is a very rare and forgotten album by a group of Sault musicians called "Northern Heartbeat". This album was compiled and recorded in April of 1998 for what was called the Sault's Homecoming which brought back many Sault folks that had moved away, back for a festival. It was a huge undertaking to put this project together but it did happen and it was a great success. Unknown to almost everyone was the production of an album for this festival which was to be a compilation of original music by local artists. The theme was to have material related to the Sault or Algoma region. Many musicians either submitted songs or were hired to record new songs for the album. I was part of this and recorded drums for 4 new songs. The producer of this project was folk singer song writer Patrick Stewart. It was recorded at Satellite Sound by Bob Macleod and all the graphics were done by Rick Deevey. Rick's paintings are also featured on the inner liner of this CD. Visit Rick's site here.  Rick Deevey's Art and Music Site

The album contained 18 songs plus a 19th song hidden at the end of the CD which only a handful of people knew about, including me. ;-) The album was completed on time and was ready to be sold at the Homecoming event but then it quickly vanished and as far as I know, the album was never made for public sale. Why you ask? There lies the mystery.

Rumours went around that a person on the Homecoming committee wrote a song for the album but was infuriated with how the song turned out. This person only wrote the words and had no musical background but left it in the hands of the producer to make a song out of it. This person heard the song after the album was printed so by then, it was too late to change anything. This person ended up sacking the entire album because their song didn't turn out the way they imagined. They never once came to the sessions so there was no way to anticipate the outcome. This is the story I've heard but no matter what, the album just vanished. Somewhere in Sault Ste. Marie there are boxes of this album with an inch of dust on them. How was the album? Overall, it's pretty sappy and dated in sound but there are moments that do shine. My memory of it is the enjoyment I got out of playing with musicians I  never had a chance to play with prior to that album. It was also one of the last projects Satellite Sound did on that scale before closing.

Recently, I revisited the music on this album as it appears I am one of the few that has a copy.  A keyboardist on the project Eugene Gassi asked me to give him a copy of the song he wrote for the album.  Like I said, there are good and bad moments on the album but the work involved was something to be proud of.  This was done at a time when the music scene was hopping locally.  It was quite the melting pot of musicians on this disc.

Producer Patrick Stewart had his own album out at the time called "One Road" which I also took part in and he was sneaky enough to slip one of his songs on the Northern Heartbeat album as a hidden track.  The only way to hear this song was to play track #18 and continue to let it play after the song ended.  After 43 seconds silence, a race car sound is heard and then Patrick's hidden track starts to play.  BRILLIANT!  I came across the track by accident when I first heard the CD on my home stereo.  In my opinion, it's one of the better songs on the album.

You can find a copy of this album at your local library apparently, if you feel you are interested in hearing it.  I've seen it advertised on the Library site.   I may post the hidden track by Patrick Stewart in a later post.

glen "the freq"