Nature comes in two forms, the world around us and the world inside us. After musically addressing the global climate crisis with his most recent single, “Mother Nature,” Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Kalmakoff is switching gears. He is turning his attention inward to aspects of human nature with his beautiful interpretation of Jim Cuddy’s “You Be The Leaver.”
Jim Cuddy is one of the five celebrated Canadian songwriters that Ron chose to pay tribute to on his newest album, Nature, which was released last November. “You Be The Leaver” is a story of two lovers who drifted apart but, to Ron, it has opened up some deep self-reflection.
“This song definitely encompasses thoughts of heartbreak, but there are also lyrics in the song that speak to me about loss on other levels,” explains Ron. “Loss that many people have been going through over the last couple of years. These particular lyrics in the song always get to me every time I sing them”, says Ron.
I can’t explain
Oh well I guess I knew, as the shadows grew
But there was always so much time
So, you be the leaver, I’ll be the left behind
Ron’s emotive tenor brings a sense of yearning to the lyrics, underlining the sad truth that we don’t know how long we have with our loved ones.
Feelings of self-reflection and loss are predominant emotions throughout the music video. It is visually appealing as it takes advantage of the natural surroundings of Ron’s home on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. It is directed by Alexander Sharp, who emphasizes the feelings of loss that are conveyed in the lyrics. The music video is now available on YouTube.
“I loved the idea of watching Ron in this one as a reflection because when your heart is broken, it can feel, mentally speaking, there is nowhere to go except back to the past: a reflection of your former self,” notes Sharp. “Something about using mirror panes in the forest felt like a beautiful nightmare.”
Ron has had a fulfilling career. He first performed at age 16, during a talent show in his hometown of Canora, Saskatchewan. More recently, he has appeared on the Tommy Hunter Show and moved to B.C. to perform several shows at Expo ‘86.
His lengthy career is reflected in his new album, Nature — a release Ron says is “part of the tapestry connected to my life. From my childhood in Saskatchewan to now living on the West Coast of Canada. The people I have known along the way. The artists who have inspired me and the beauty of Canada, woven here through the songs and the music.”
To produce Nature, Ron paired up with his close friend and well-respected Vancouver producer and musician Michael Creber. Michael has worked with Luminaries such as Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, and k.d.lang. The two also co-produced Ron’s 2019 album Come to Me, which is enjoyed by people throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.
In addition to the album, Nature, Ron chose to record five additional, hand-picked songs by Leonard Cohen, Loreena McKennitt, Jimmy Rankin, Michelle Creber, and Jim Cuddy. Ron has admired Cuddy’s music for years and his songwriting style, especially his ballads.
“Jim’s song was one of the first I contemplated for my new album, but one of the final ones I recorded in the studio,” he recalls. “I loved the song right away when I heard it, but really had to think it through on how I could bring my own style to the piece, make it my own. I really hope that when Mr. Cuddy hears my version of the song he wrote; he will be pleased. His voice and songwriting are such a gift to Canada.”
In turn, Ron has brought his musical gift to Canada with the 12 songs found on Nature — including “You Be The Leaver.”
Nature, the album, and the new single “You Be The Leaver” are both available now.