Landscape of the Cariboo inspires love song

Collen Middleton, frontman for Bent Road Tavern, has written a song inspired by the Cariboo Chilcotin entitled Fallow In This Deep. (Photo submitted)Collen Middleton, frontman for Bent Road Tavern, has written a song inspired by the Cariboo Chilcotin entitled Fallow In This Deep. (Photo submitted)
Mt. Fukawi is an inactive volcano located in the Itcha Mountains north of Anahim Lake. Chris Harris photo)Mt. Fukawi is an inactive volcano located in the Itcha Mountains north of Anahim Lake. Chris Harris photo)
Horses run wild on the historic Gang Ranch in the Chilcotin. (Chris Harris photo)Horses run wild on the historic Gang Ranch in the Chilcotin. (Chris Harris photo)

The natural beauty of the Cariboo-Chilcotin has always been a source of inspiration for Collen Middleton.

He was first struck by the area’s beautiful environment when he lived in Williams Lake in 2010 for a year. His time in the Cariboo left a mark on him and inspired the front man for indie-alt folk collective Bent Road Tavern to write a song inspired by the area.

“The song was inspired by impressions of my time living, working there and the landscapes themselves,” Middleton said. “I’ve got really fond memories of my time there and it’s one of those places that if you don’t live in the region you don’t hear too much about it. There’s places in Canada where so much happens but if you live in the big cities you don’t hear about those stories.”

Fallow In This Deep is a love song that Middleton said takes place during hard times in a hard land. Throughout the song references are made to the Cariboo mountains, the warm summers and smoke. Combined with the band’s western sound, the song feels linked to the area in a tangible way.

Middleton wasn’t just inspired by his own time in the Cariboo. He said he also drew heavy inspiration from the works of professional photographer Chris Harris, who has made a name for himself cataloguing the diverse landscapes of the Cariboo-Chilcotin with 13 different photography books. Middleton said he was especially inspired by Harris’s books Spirit of Grass and Mother Stone.

“I really was just drawn to the way he integrates his artwork with science and more technical language, I really appreciate that,” Middleton said.

When it came time to put together a music video for Fallow In This Deep Middleton knew he had to use Harris’ photos and reached out to the 105 Mile resident. Harris said he was surprised that Middleton was such a fan of his and was honoured his work had inspired him.

“I’m definitely drawn to wilderness and remote areas, so the greatest parts of my work has been in the Chilcotin. I’ve explored and photographed the entire region for 35 years and I’ve amassed the greatest collection of imagery on the region by far,” Harris said. “I had no problem (providing them) whatsoever because I like supporting fellow artists.”

After talking over email, Harris provided the band with a series of images from across the region. This included landscape shots, pictures of wild horses, cowboys and even wildfires.

Once they set the photos to the music Middleton said the result was exactly what he’d been hoping for.

“I think when you look at the video we were really able to use his images to tell the story of the song. That’s something I’ve done with a couple of artists as well but this one is my favourite so far,” Middleton said. “They really brought the words and music to life, I think.”

Middleton said he hopes the music video inspires people outside of the B.C. Interior to visit and see what the Cariboo Chilcotin has to offer. He plans to return to the Cariboo in the future and visit Harris’s gallery at the 105 Mile Ranch. He encourages others to check out the photographer’s work.

Harris said the music video turned out great and enjoyed how his photos have been tied to the lyrics of the song. He added he would be happy to help any artist, musical or otherwise, in any way he could.

“I’m in the latter part of my career so what better way to use the imagery I have than to help other artists?” Harris said.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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