Algoma Central Blues
"Algoma Central Blues"
Music & Lyrics by Scott Cooley.
There's too much time to think on the Algoma Central
Through the middle of such wild stretch of land
Past endless woods and lakes on your way back from Wawa,
You try to be tough, but you could cry on command
It's normal to feel dejected on the Algoma Central
Downin’ Labatts as you chug along to beat the band
From the middle of nowhere back to the Soo
It's so much different than the Rio Grande
It's desolate, just like a life with no love
It's magnificent, that's why it's no place to be alone
Where a melancholy mood gets worse with each moon
The northern lights let you know you're so far from home
It’s not a bad place for low spirits on the Algoma Central
If you want to see a canyon, you can
Life's just as empty along the Gichigumee
Sometimes getting away from it all can be so bland
The rivers run but it’s not much fun along the Algoma Central
The Great White North never seems to be a great plan
There’s nothing much to do but get out and paddle a canoe
What went wrong you won’t ever understand
The pain can’t be escaped, on a train when your heart aches
It may be bad luck but somehow it always works out the same
When the woman you love leaves you, a railway won’t relieve you
When you realize you’re the only one to blame
It’s always sad when you ride the Algoma Central
At least that’s always how it’s been for me
And although it’s a beauty way to go, there’s too much introspection
From my lonesome thoughts I just can’t be free
Copyright © ℗ 2014 by Scott Cooley. All rights reserved.
How dare I write a melancholy song about one of the greatest and most spectacularly beautiful countries on Earth? I'm firmly in the camp of those Americans who sort of secretly wish they were Canadian. So much to love, and why would I do such a thing? Well, je ne sais quoi I really liked this one a lot when I wrote it. I wasn't that thrilled with the way I ended up recording it, and even though I could've made it more fully produced, it's not bad in its understated release version state. This combines several experiences from my past which influenced my writing the song, but a lot of it is made up. First of all, I should say I've never found anything to not like about Ontario or anywhere else in the great white north. I once went on a canoe trip on Lake Wabatongushi, and stopped in Wawa, Ontario as part of the trip. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I've also been to "the Soo" and "Gitche Gumee" before, and I've enjoyed Labatt's beer too often in my reckless youth. I've also ridden on the Algoma Central Railway train, and the train that takes you from Michigan over to Toronto as well, and I generally love riding on trains. Since the music was blues, I wanted to combine all of these experiences somehow in the lyrics while making it sad. So, despite me personally loving all things mentioned in the song, the sad take on heartbreak seemed to work well for blues. I just imagined being alone on a train up there, trying to get over a lost love. There was no particular girl in mind, although while writing it for some reason I thought about a girl I met once at a songwriter retreat who was from the northern shore of Lake Superior. So, there you have it, the story behind the song, which probably now has ruined your interpretation. As is obvious from all the song pages in this site, I thought it might be interesting to some to read these, even though it's probably better to be intentionally mysterious about what you were thinking when you wrote a song, like Bob Dylan maybe would.