It’s a beautiful summer day on a pier in Burlington, Ontario. Off in the distance you can see Toronto while John & Sheila Ludgate take us on a morning of music out on the pier where the only luggage is a guitar, harmonica, bass and a story wrapped in a song. What a long, strange trip it’s been for these two with all the stops in all the pubs, clubs and coffee houses along the way. For years John kept the music going and Sheila kept the home fires burning with their four sons until she joined John in that metaphorical place somewhere between the neon lights of downtown Toronto and the suburban wilderness of south-western Ontario.
The pair played us a few songs. The first was Payback Road, a song about paying your dues and making amends. Colours addressed the ups and downs of long term love and something called Season Of Song came from the sometimes surprising realizations that can arise out of vulnerability. Finally, the duo closed with a call for mental disarmament, I’m Not Worried - a naive or brave thought depending on what side of which fence you might be sitting on. They’re trying to break out of a brutal New World Order (aren’t we all) as they say in one of their songs - trying to shine a light where it’s never been.
But it’s always been these kinds of times that bring out the troubadours ...and these two are a little older, a little wiser and they’ve got more than a few stories to tell.
Their latest CD, Suburban Tales, travels the musical road from roots to country to rock to blues; all the sounds that they grew up with and have brought them to where they are today - feeling the morning rays on a pier at Burlington Bay.
film by james featherstone
words by luke ludgate