Feature

Bluebird North featuring Paul Quarrington

Bluebird North, a songwriters’ showcase series presented by the Songwriters Association of Canada, and based on Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café, features a different line-up of talented Canadian songwriters each time.

On December 12, 2009, Bluebird North included Emm Gryner, Dan Hill, Andy Kim and Paul Quarrington, who, along with host/producer Blair Packham, took turns sharing songs and stories in an informal, acoustic atmosphere at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

It is no secret that award-winning author and highly respected songwriter Paul Quarrington (Porkbelly Futures) is in the final stage of lung cancer, and while the evening was not openly intended to be a tribute to him, it inevitably turned out that way – how could it not? Paul has written about his journey in the National Post, and we strongly recommend his candid first person accounts.

After the show, an impromptu panel of Paul, Andy Kim, Dan Hill, Blair Packham and yours truly, Andy Frank discussed songwriting, life, death, and courage.


(Sorry for the shoddy framing during the panel chat, my low-budget cameraman Otto Pylot hadn’t anticipated a five-person panel, and time was of the essence – AF)

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3 comments

  1. avatar
    Russ Musgrove 14 December, 2009 at 11:59

    Thanks for putting this interview up. Paul is a friend who became a hero. I don’t know if I could have the courage he has in the face of his health situation. Andy Kim said it so well though. Writers, of all types, are compelled to share and sharing makes the world such an incredible place to live.

  2. avatar
    Shelagh 14 December, 2009 at 20:26

    Andy, this is a lovely piece. And Paul, just puttin’ it out and radiating love the whole time.
    I don’t know anyone else who can write about about being all alone and eating a couple of twinkies, going up to a bedroom, read a comic book and twiddling with…in the same song.
    Paul is such a fine storyteller and such an excellent human being. And there he is, living
    every moment. And if you take that from your time with him, or even from just watching this beautiful seven minutes, then that’s enough. And that’s a lot.

  3. avatar
    frankcasting 15 December, 2009 at 01:56

    Thank you, Shelagh. Yes, the twiddling with dinky line had us talking off mic about how language has become so much more liberal in books, movies, and some genres of music over the years, but how in general, references to graphic sex (such as he made in another brilliant song he performed, written from the perspective of a male porn star) were still shocking lines in folk/roots/pop world. He has the chops; like Andy Kim said, “where have you been all my life?” BTW, I loved Andy Kim, he was fantastic doing Sugar Sugar, Rock Me Gently, some lovely new songs, superb voice and stage presence, and was a most gracious gentleman throughout the evening.

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