Down and Out in UpAlong

Eighty-one years old and with more than a half-century of entertainment-industry experience behind him, Gordon Pinsent is finally making his songwriting debut. The Grand Falls, N.L., native's poems served as the springboard for an unlikely collaboration with Blue Rodeo co-frontman Greg Keelor and the Sadies guitarist Travis Good.

Good and Pinsent met through mutual friend Mike Bolland, a filmmaker who worked on the Pinsent-focused TV biography "Still Rowdy After All These Years." Over beers, Pinsent showed Good some of the poetry he had been dutifully jotting down over the years, often during long plane rides to or from his hometown in Newfoundland.

Good liked what he heard, and he and Keelor met up to try to set the words to music though it didn't take much effort. In one wine-soaked evening, the two quickly conjured four songs and the rest came easily over the next couple weeks.

Pinsent was thrilled with what he heard, hand-stitched roots music with echoes of folk, bluegrass and country. He calls the tunes "splendid," a perfect representation of the words he crafted over a period of years (the first disc features Good and Pinsent's interpretations, while the second has Pinsent reciting his poems over minimal instrumentation).

With titles like "Peter Easton" and "Upalong," it's probably not a surprise that much of the material on the record takes its inspiration from Pinsent's home province.

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