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10 Windsor artists combine for 'Wards of Windsor' compilation album
WINDSOR -- What does it mean to be a Windsorite?
That's the question 10 local musicians were asked to answer in a new compilation album -- called The Wards of Windsor Music Project.
This project is three years in the making, the artists behind the music chosen not only for their talents, but also their ability to tell the story of their own ward.
But these 10 stories about the rose city are definitely not viewed through rose-coloured glasses.
"Windsor is a place that people like to sum up in a few words, it's a border town, an automotive town, but these small stories really tell who we are," says the project’s founder and co-contributor, Leighton Bain.
He gathered 10 songwriters from 10 parts of the city to take listeners on a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
"If you listen to the record, it gets your choked up, it gets you teary eyed, it brings back memories,” says 93.9 The River personality, Dan MacDonald. “It tells you who we are, where we came from and it kind of tells you where we're going to."
Each artist crafted an original song about their own neighbourhood for the inaugural album, “Forwards and Backwards.”
"Every single ward is a microcosm of the city,” says Max Marshall, who wrote a song about Ward 4. “There's some really lovely things and there's some trouble too."
Marshall highlights a reality the songwriters honed in on when singing about their stomping grounds.
"It's not meant to be sugarcoated, it's not meant to be uplifting, it wasn't meant to be one thing, it was mean to be honest. There definitely are some harsh realities explored," says Bain.
Topics like deforestation, the proposed mega hospital and even the often difficult concept of change are explored.
Leighton Bain's song "Rangers of Riverside" explores the landmarks of yesteryear and how losing things leaves a hole in the community.
"You get this feeling like there's nothing left in the neighbourhood you grew up in, and that's part of this project is exploring things we love about our neighbourhoods and change and where are we going with our neighbourhoods," Bain says.
Max Marshall's track was named the Windsor Hum – but it wasn’t about the sound-pollution phenomenon that often plagues people living near the Detroit River on the west end. Marshall explores his community's experiences with racism, the sex trade and unemployment with the hum serving merely a metaphor.
"It's this omnipresent thing, this hidden thing in the background that some people can pick up on and a lot of these problems are right in front of us and we get to choose to see them or not," Marshall says.
The forwards and backwards album is available on all streaming platforms and a limited release vinyl.
“This was the portrait of the anatomy of the city, musically, at this point in time,” Marshall says. “it's really cool."
These musicians will also be gathering for two performances at McKenzie Hall in Sandwich Town on Nov. 30 at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.