Snowden walters   migration songs front


Walters, Snowden - Migration Songs

Format: CD
Label: Random Sound Studios
Year: 2015
Origin: Labrador City, Labrador - St. John's, Newfoundland
Genre: folk
Value of Original Title: $20.00
Make Inquiry/purchase: email
Release Type: Albums
Playlist: Newfoundland Labrador, 2010's, Canadian Folk



Track Name
The Contractor Song (fish 'n chips)
Old Irish Wake
Bluer Than you
05 Honky Tonk Song
Flatrock in the Rain
Red Cliff
The Wind
Something On My mind
Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies


Snowden walters   migration songs inside

Walters, Snowden - Migration Songs

Snowden walters   migration songs cd

Walters, Snowden - Migration Songs

Snowden walters   migration songs jewel back

Walters, Snowden - Migration Songs

Snowden walters   migration songs front

Migration Songs


No Video


In October 2015 I went into the studio with Producer/Musician David Fitzpatrick and over the period of about six weeks recorded a collection of 10 original songs. I had written these songs over the years and was taking the opportunity to do this project...finally. My description to Dave of how I wanted to sound was simply (or not so simply!) 'Roy Payne meets the Kinks meets Pink Floyd'! I think he came fairly close...well, not so much on 'Floyd' but in my head it's there! Maybe next album.

The CDs have arrived and are for sale!
One is on rotation in my vehicle because it's my belief that's where the test truly lies...cranked up loud on the open road! I'm excited to finally hear my songs professionally produced...rather than the way I've been playing with them in my studio at home.

As always, if there's any questions, fire away!!

Price: $20.00 CDN. Just drop me a line, a call, a text (identifying yourself) or email!
At: Snowden Walters / Random Sound Studio

​The Album: Migration Songs
The Songs: 10 glimpses into a life on the move.

1.) The Contractor Song
The album opens with this rambling account of my early days as a Technical Designer, a Contracting Technical Designer to be more precise. However it doesn't deal with my work at the office so much as it deals with life outside of work. Those jobs forged the basis of where and how I was living during periods of my life, They stem also from the social life I was living and the challenges of being away from familiar things, the puzzles of the day to day. I am not opposed to extensive travel, in fact I quite enjoy living and working in places that most people I know of go to vacation. It is true that the hours at times were long, and the work stressful and dreary, but every now and then there was a break in that tedium and I could play, and sing, and drink and dance (well, to be honest, more drinking and less dancing...but you get the point). And, once in a while a line of a song would come to 'name that vegetable'...magic to shout out! Yes, I could have taken other paths that led to staying closer to home but life's not always a cooperative partner to be dealing with, rather, you roll with the waves, like a sailor on the sea. Happy to be able to be happy.

​The Contractor Song (Fish ‘n Chips)

I left my home on the salt east coast when the job market gave up the ghost
I got some work up in Ottawa drawing boats with the navy folks.
That burned out and I did too, California seemed the thing to do.
So me and Ray hopped in his car and we headed down south, dreaming
Dreaming about Babes on Waves.

When we got down there the sun was hot, the sky was blue and I was not
Once again I was doing my thing, drawing boats and trying to sing
But every day that came and went got me concerned at how my time was spent
I could take the heat and sand but I longed to see Newfoundland
Longed to taste Fish ‘n Chips.

Hey Jim, life is grim, living on the Pacific Rim
Volcanos heave up their guts from Anchorage to the Philippine huts
You see with me it’s either feast or famine
One minute I’m crying the next I’m laughing
And I don’t care if the earth should quake as long as I can make my escape
Long as I …skidaddle.

I finally got tired of laying around and hanging out in bars and painting the town
An agent called me with his song of wind “would I like to work back east again?”
It seemed New Brunswick was the Promised Land with lots of fun and cash on hand
But working there got to be a drag because my lungs would ache with every breath I’d take
It poured out thick in Big Smelly, I felt sick in Big Smelly.

Don’t get me wrong or mistake this song, the west ain’t bad it’s just not home
And I’m no dog that can’t do tricks, I even learned to eat with sticks
Chinese food and Taiwan clothes, Japanese lumber boats
Roots and shoots from the orient and we’re playing games in the market place
“Say can you name that vegetable?”
“Say can you name that vegetable?”


2.) Holes
'Holes' has been with me for a long time. Longer than I like to think about. In the late 70's early 80's I was learning to bang out a few chords on the guitar so the progression came from that. I was attending a college program in Naval Architecture in St. John's and at that time the offshore oil development was all the news. It was the promise of unrealized dreams that were being bought and sold in the boardrooms and basements. We were gonna be rich! The song practically wrote itself and for many years didn't change. Then out of the blue, years after initial writing, the verse about Billy and Janice, Shirley & Ray came about! That's one of the exciting things about songwriting that I love, there's always a surprise eventually, you just gotta hang in there!


If the first thing you see is your cousin,
And the first thing you hear is a song,
As you’re stepping down off of that boat or that plane,
Rejoice boys, ‘cause now you’re back home.
I’m glad you could make it this summer.
We’re gonna have some fun I can tell.
With the oil off our shores, we got work for the whores,
But otherwise boys, Jobs are scarce.

They told us we’d be rich in a moment.
The cautious said it would take a few weeks.
It’s been forty years and more, since they drilled out that crude.
All that’s lining my pockets is holes.
We can’t take out our boats on the water.
Or set our nets like we often times did.
There’s no chance for a good strike of salmon or cod,
And the Japanese don’t come for the squid.

You heard that they shut down the fishery.
(What I want to know is) What the hell do they know about fish?!
And the state of our economy “that’s disgraceful” you say.
But our highways are still pocked with holes.


Now Billy has gone to the mainland.
Janice is working down south.
And Shirley and Ray, they’re still around the bay.
They’re living from their hand to their mouth.
They’re living from
They’re living from
They’re living from their hand to their mouth.

Yeah, they told us we’d be rich in a moment.

3.) Old Irish Wake
This song had to be a 2 step. No way around it. I wrote 'Old Irish Wake' pretty much all at once in the days that followed the passing of Dermot O'Reilly of Ryan's Fancy fame . He's the man who wrote 'West Country Lady' which was a song I played a lot for my children when they were kids. He wrote a lot of other great songs as well but this one was ours. While living in Calgary I had the kids singing one day around the dining room table, laughing and carrying on, and the record was pushed, hence I have an authentic capture of small children validating my claim to the story in the song. At the times that I imagine an afterlife, I see him swaying behind the microphone, stage lights brightening up the room...just like downtown back in the day!
The actual writing of the song took place in the days following Dermot's passing. The lines came almost unedited, what came out then essentially stayed as the lyrics to the song. I remember the day the news came out. I was working downtown and walked over to George Street. A few stragglers were hanging around the doorways of the Irish Pubs, but most memorable is how quiet the street was if the pubs themselves were mourning.

​Old Irish Wake

I hope they had an old Irish wake
For the man who wrote the West Country Lady.
He lived over yonder but now he’s gone home.
To be dancing on a far brighter stage.

My children can recite every line of that song.
They learned it when they were young.
I’d stand in the kitchen and I’d bang on my guitar,
And they’d sing at the top of their lungs.

That’s why I hope they had an old Irish wake
For the man who wrote the West Country Lady.
He lived over yonder but now he’s gone home.
To be dancing on a far brighter stage.


There’s a debt here that I’d like to repay.
For that song that’s from back in the past.
It’s not about the lyrics and it’s not about the notes.
It’s just thanks for the memories you wrote.

That’s why I hope they had an old Irish wake.
For the man who wrote the West Country Lady.
He lived over yonder and now he’s gone home.
To be dancing on a far brighter stage.

(Fade out with West Country Lady, sung by kids)

4.) Bluer Than You
A tale of lost love and sadness. An imaginary situation written as an exercise to see if I could create a story about these topics. The fellow in the song is grappling with the very thought that he's been abandoned and feeling the blues. Many have suggested that this song was written around personal events given what is now history. This is however simply not the case. This breakup song was written years prior to my own. Incidentally, I think Dave's guitar sounds incredible on this version.

​Bluer Than You

Picture me, face buried into my hands
The wind and rain. I don’t understand.
The streets are empty. Now the past is gone.
Leaving me to try to carry on.

The night we met I couldn’t know the fears
I went head over, into love with you
I didn’t know then how much it could hurt
To lose at this game but now I do.

I can’t believe that you left me crying
What an awful thing for you to do
Here I am sitting on my porch swing
Sad and lonesome and bluer than you.

If you came waltzing back again tomorrow
I’d welcome you back into my open arms
When I know that I should run and hide out in my basement
Because I know that you will do me harm.


5.) Honky Tonk Song
What can I say? I cut my teeth in honky tonks in the Western Labrador Iron Ore belt. I enjoy a good old country bar with a crazy crew of drinking buddies and party gals! Despite the harsh reality of a life spent in bars and lounges, the 'idea' of this lifestyle is something else entirely. The idea is that it's a lot of fun! And there's times that I cannot dispute that claim! It's a song that's fun to play and sing, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. The 'only friend' is of course, a guitar (although it has also been suggested that the friend is alcohol...which is reasonable, given the environment). Something about an instrument that can take the blues away...every time.

​Honky Tonk Song

I’m on the ball when I wake up in the morning
Head's in the game when I go to sleep at night
I always get some kind of warning
Tells me when to flee or fight
Never seriously thought that I’d be singing
The blues in a honky tonk land
But take a look at me now, some way some how
I’m singing blues long and loud
To this honky tonk crowd
I’m singing blues loud and long
In this honky tonk song.

I’ve had jewels in my past
And I miss them
I have a diamond on my arm
Wrapped in silver
I used to work the track
In no hurry to go back
I like to think I’ve done my time in stone.
I like to think I’ve done my time in stone.
But take a look right at me now
Some way some how
I’m singing blues long and loud
To this honky tonk crowd
Round after round
I’m singing blues loud and long
In this honky tonk song.

Here I am again
A tragedy waiting in the wings
Waiting for what tomorrow brings
Don’t speak of pointless things
Here I go again
Reaching for my only friend
And calling for my blues again
Calling on my blues again.
But take a look right at me now
Some way some how
I’m singing blues long and loud
To this honky tonk crowd
Round after round
I’m singing blues loud and long
In this honky tonk song.

6.) Flatrock in the Rain
I live on the Eastern Edge. Just a little ways outside of St. John's NL, a location that's rich with rugged scenic beauty. The cliffs of the Marine Drive coastline are dotted with small communities, one of which is called 'Flatrock' (so named I'm thinking because of an impressive geological formation where plates of the earth's crust have simply sheared off in larges swaths resulting in flat, albeit sloped, rock). The island of Newfoundland is known as 'The Rock' and this region has little vegetation to cloak the features of the land. There's one viewpoint (claimed early on by the Roman Catholic Church) that is especially breathtaking in the early morning as the sunrises over the sea. Pure natural beauty. Sometimes I can almost hear a priest bellowing out some sermonic rabble as he gestures towards the splendor of the rising sun!
Part of my relaxation and stress relief therapy, such as it is, is going for drives around the region, listening to music and taking in the sights...and of course, capturing song particles to work into my writing. This song plays like a movie in my head, the girl coming from Flatrock but eventually spreading her wings and taking to the skies. The narrator is a cabbie who seems to know her well, or as well as she can be known.

​Flatrock in the Rain

They said she came from Portugal, others said from Spain.
Or Paris, France where she used to dance, in a houseboat on the Seine.
She lived a while in Amsterdam, someone said someplace else.
I know she never came from any of those places, though they claim.
I know she came from Flatrock, on a Sunday, in the rain.

She had a hundred dollars that she’d saved from splitting fish.
She’d had enough of evenings on the wharf.
She knew a girl from Chance Cove and they could share the rent.
And go out at night and maybe have some fun.

So she took a job at a joint downtown.
Picking up tips and laying it down.
Until one day she left it all behind.
I know she wasn’t meant for that crazy downtown scene.
I know she came from Flatrock, on a Sunday, in the rain.

She hopped a cab on Adelaide, the airport fare was all she paid.
“gotta get a ticket going somewhere”!
Mastercard got quite a shock,she was gone before they could take stock.
Off into the wild blue yonder.

She came back once when her momma died.
She just had to be there by her side.
And afterwards she asked me for a ride.
She bought some beer and I gave her flowers.
We sang away her saddest hours.
Morning caught us drinking coffee out at YYT.

They called her flight and she was gone.
Only her perfume lingered on.
Off into the wild blue yonder.

They said she came from Portugal, others said from Spain.
Or Paris, France where she used to dance, in a houseboat on the Seine.
She lived a while in Amsterdam, someone said someplace else.
I know she never came from any of those places, though they claim.
I know she came from Flatrock, on a Sunday, in the rain.

7.) Red Cliff
'Red Cliff' is the name given to a 700 foot cliff in my neighbourhood that juts into the North Atlantic and about a 60 degree angle. It is imposing, impressive and either enshrouded in fog most of the time or hammered by the Ocean without mercy. It is the epitome of the passage of time and the solidity of presence. It was also the inspiration for this song written about the place I've made my present home, where my children have been raised. This town is my children's hometown, and always will be, where ever they end up in their own lives. For that alone this place is a place of power for me. The song is personal in that it encompasses places I've been and people I've known. Although the message of the song hints at how good it feels to have this place to call home, there's also an undercurrent that wants to leave for the open road. I've always felt this way to some extent...this feeling of restlessness and urge to move. I call it 'Highway Toes'. Who knows that may become a song someday on its own!

​Red Cliff

I’m looking over at Red Cliff, watching as the fog tickles in
Big jet planes roar over my head, I feel the stirrings again.
It’s been a long time since I’ve left here, out to where the night is my friend
Ribbons of road in my mirror, cities made of gold out ahead.

Here I am looking over at Red Cliff, thinking of the days that gone past
Hot sand and beaches and wild mountain reaches and rivers that raced away so fast
I’ve had good times and bad nights and women and bar fights I’ll admit a circus it’s been.
Feeding my hungers, libido and vice whirling to the stirrings within.

Here’s to you Red Cliff, you’re like a Gibraltar to me
With your head in the clouds, your back to the west and your feet rooted deep in the sea

As a youth I had craved for the taste of the blade and like wine I flowed freely through life
I circled the globe like you’d glance at the moon, the stirrings inside me in flight.

I’ll be a longer time leaving this valley that I’ve come to call home
The smell of the sea off the land beneath me those highways no longer I’ll roam
Yet out behind that horizon there are faces in places I’ve been
Their memory remind me of when I chased that stirring within

So here’s a drink to you Red Cliff, you pillar of stone from the deep
Your face in the wind and the new morning sun
Your soul is at anchor in me.
Your soul is at anchor in me.

8.) The Wind
Intended originally to be a kind of 'rolling along traditional type' of song, 'The Wind' turned into a reflective comment on what we/I want out of our time here on earth. For me it's pretty much music, nature, love and all the pleasures that comes with them. I see wind figuring in quite a bit of work that I do, be it music or artwork. Probably because we have so much of it here on the Edge.

​The Wind

As I walked out one morning so fair,
I spied a young woman with raven black hair,
I could tell right away by the look in her eyes,
That here was a woman who’s tears would not dry.
I asked what her name was,
She said it was “The Wind”
She beckoned I should follow her into the Glen
The lady then led me deep into green
Until we at last stopped by the side of a shaded stream.
“look into the water” her voice said to me
“and tell me what it is your heart aches to see”
I could not refuse this damsel so fine
So I offered to her my soul and I laid bare my mind.

“Oh” said I “I want to see the world”
And “Oh” said I “I’m looking for a girl”
And “Oh” said I “I want to find love”
And “Oh” I said “I want to be blessed from above”.

That was when she kissed me and laid me to my knees
And then she touched me with her soft summer’s breeze
The Wind she then blew me right up off the ground
For the rest of my lifetime I’ve been drifting around.
Some men want diamonds, some search for black gold
Others want whiskey and treasures untold
Me, I want pleasure, like the wind in the trees
And music played for me in sweet melodies.
So if you’re out walking one morning so fine
And you happen upon that lady of mine
Tell her that I love her and I always will
And I’ll look for her on the sweet side of the hill.

And “Oh” said I “I went and I saw the world”
And “Oh” said I “ I’ve known many girls”
And “Oh” said I “ I’ve lost and found love”
And “Oh” I said “I have been blessed from above”.

9.) Something on my Mind
Everyone has something on their minds. This song was written during a low point that I was pulling myself out of. It's a man coming to grips with what's left to build upon between the 'now' and the end. To me the song is a shout out to optimism and a real appreciation of what life is about; how we all get through our days and nights, either alone or otherwise.

​Something on my Mind

I’ve had enough time just singing the blues, I got nothing more I care to lose
I’m just a man making the most of my time.
Hey look at that sun rising over the hill, the rivers run fast and the nights are still
And every song is only looking for another line.
So give me a nickel and give me a dime, give me your smile that’s sweet and sublime
And I’ll be grinning no matter the mountain I climb.
Because every day is a brand new chance, to find my voice and to dance a dance
Look out life I got something on my mind.
Yeah look out life I got something on my mind.

I never did care for the day after day, until one time it just slipped away
Now I’m looking at life in a different way
I think about things that my Daddy would say, “Son you’re going have to learn to pay”
And “Just like the bears, your troubles are on their way”.
I never knew then what he was talking about, I was young and I had no doubt
That every little thing was going to go my way.
It’s funny how the world can kick you around, one minute you’re up the next you’re down.
But I’m not worried I got something on my mind.
I’m not worried I got something on my mind.

I walked on the water (when it was frozen thick)
I washed up on the beaches (I stood on burning decks)
I saw the sun setting in the flaming west
There was always something on my mind.

I’m standing on the edge of a great divide, there’s still horses I still got to ride
So saddle me up and I’ll be on my way.
Every morning I’ll greet the sky, I’ll gather my breath and I’ll learn to fly
Into this great adventure I call my life
I’ll smell the roses and I’ll drink the vine, I’ll break your bread and I’ll share your wine
I’ll take everything the world can throw my way
When at last I’m at the end of my road I can look back and say “It’s paved with gold”
And “through it all I had something on my mind”.

I walked on the water (when it was frozen thick)
I washed up on the beaches (I stood on burning decks)
I saw the sun setting in the flaming west
There was always something on my mind.
There was always something…
Always something…
Always something on my mind.

10.) Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies
To date, this song is my personal strongest. It's taken a long time to get to this stage and oddly it's right on time! I first started 'Ladies' several years ago to tell the tale of a young lad who runs off to war. I have always had a deep respect for soldiers but an abhorrence to the necessity for soldiers. War is an incredible waste of everything. This is evidenced by the results of all the wars we've seen throughout history and sadly, still in evidence today. Greed and religion to me have always been the worst perpetrators of human pain and suffering and undoubtedly always will be.

I come from a province of Canada that at the time of the First World War was a Dominion of the British Empire (1907 - 1949). When Britain became embroiled in the conflict our young men, from the city of St. John's, the capital, and from the many bays and coves were eager to join in the fight. Patriotism and the youthful thirst for adventure drove these men, some still only boys, to leave the safety and comfort of their homes to offer their lives in defence of what was touted to being a 'War to end all Wars'. History shows of course, that this was folly and led to the death and maiming of millions worldwide. Newfoundland offered up its first 500 volunteers, assembled so quickly in fact that they did not have a supply of 'army issue' puttees (the leg wrappings popular at the time) and so a substitution of navy blue fabric was used instead. Hence the first 500 became known as the 'Blue Puttees'. Their ranks grew over time with more volunteers. These men were engaged to fight at Gallipoli, in Turkey and later in the Battle of the Somme, and at a place called Beaumont Hamel in France they ran into a slaughter. Of the 801 men who went 'over the top' on the 1st of July, 1916 only 68 were able to answer role call the next day. Over 700 were dead. It is for this reason that July 1st is to Newfoundlanders a Day of Memorial. While the rest of Canada are celebrating Canada Day, our province first remembers our dead. By war's end the regiment had suffered 1304 casualties. In 1917, after the battles at Cambrai and Ypres, the British Crown awarded the regiment the designation of “Royal” — the only regiment to earn that honour during the First World War.

The subject of 'Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies' is one such casualty. His story jumps from a hundred years ago to the present where young men and women, the brave and the proud still enlist to protect their homeland, and still face dangers untold. To these people this song is dedicated. May you all return safely to your loved ones, and may there come a time where your profession is unnecessary.

​Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies

It was the break of the day as we sailed out the bay
Riding the tide to the land far away.
Provisions aboard, our cargo in the hold, leaving the lovely young ladies.
Word had come down across the harbour and stage
Put away your nets, there’s a war to be raged
We answered the call, the short and the small,
The sailors and the lovers and the losers.
It wasn’t long then before the crowing of the cock
We let go the ropes and we slipped from the dock
In the dawn’s early light over phosphorus swells
Every man wrestled with his personal hells.

Don’t think about tomorrow, don’t think about the fight
Just think of our power and our glory and our might
Don’t ask for forgiveness don’t beg to be brave
Just pray God almighty gonna spare you your grave.

My name it is William, that’s Bill to my friends
I never committed any serious sins.
It was on my birthday that I volunteered
I was young I was strong there wasn’t nothing I feared
My Momma said “Son, write home every day”
I said “Momma I will” then I turned away.
I didn’t see the tear in the corner of her eye.
I didn’t see her shake in the sheets of the night.
A lone seagull screamed as she slipped over me
Her song seemed to shriek out “Beware Blue Puttee!”
Now I don’t believe in omens and I don’t believe in chance
My beliefs all got shaken when I saw the Devil dance.


This is my story. One of valour and of grief
Of the blue Forget Me Not and the red Maple Leaf
A hundred years ago or was it only yesterday?
The hope for the future still are shipping far away.
From those who have fallen to those who have returned
Hold our banners high and let the home fires burn
And keep our memory often in your hearts and in your minds
Remember how we danced along the strand in the summertime.
My name it is William I have met a sad end
I gave up my own to save the life of my friend
And never again will I hold my dear ones near
And I’ve left all the lovely young ladies.

Don’t think about tomorrow, don’t think about the fight
Just think of our power and our glory and our might
Don’t ask for forgiveness don’t beg to be brave
Just pray God almighty gonna spare you your grave.


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