Smithers songwriter Mark Perry’s has released a new single from his upcoming album called Northwest.
“Golden Spruce,” relates the story of a Canadian forester who felled a 300-year-old tree on Haida Gwaii in January 1997.
“Its unique colour, appearance, and size made it a celebrated and valued tree and was considered sacred by many Haida people,” said Perry.
Grant Hadwin felled the giant Kiidk’yaas (also known as “the Golden Spruce”), a Sitka Spruce and was charged with criminal mischief.
Hadwin left Prince Rupert in his kayak for a court appearance in Masset in February 1997 and, during the 100-kilometre trip, he disappeared. Pieces of his kayak turned up on the Alaska shoreline.
The Alaskan Coast Guard patrol still considers Hadwin a “missing person of interest,” to this day.
“Grant did it to bring attention to the decimation of the massive old-growth forests. It provoked a lot of mixed emotions, far and wide,” Perry said.
In his famous toe-tapping guitar folk style, Perry, along with his bandmates Jordy Walker, Tobin Frank and Perry’s daughter Marie leave the listener thinking of the legend and wondering about the sacred tree and Hadwin’s fate.
“Mark Perry is deeply loved in Canada for his good-humoured and thought-provoking songs that get festival audiences up on their feet and make theatre crowds feel like they’re in his living room,” said Jenna Melanson in a review of the song for Canadian Beats where the single was released May 21.
“New Jersey has Springsteen, New York has Billy Joel, northern BC has Mark Perry,” wrote Frank Peebles in the Prince George Citizen. “These are the storytellers of their times and places.”
Perry’s new album is scheduled for release in the winter of 2021/2022.