It was a quick turnaround on the recording of a true 2020 tune, ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’.
The song was written for B.C.’s provincial health officer by Order of Canada jazz musician Phil Dwyer, who is also a lawyer from Qualicum Beach.
It features Tina Jones (Gabriola Island) on voice and banjo, Daniel Lapp (Pender Island) on fiddle, Ben Dwyer (Toronto) on acoustic bass and Dwyer on the music, lyrics and production.
It was mixed and mastered in Nanaimo by Rick Salt from Mountainview Studio.
Dwyer thought up the lyrics to the song after a concert at Qualicum Beach’s Old School House Arts Centre. He dedicated ‘Ain’t Misbehavin,’ a jazz song written in the 1920s, to Dr. Henry. The next morning, he got up, wrote the lyrics, and posted them online.
“I thought, I’m just going to pop this on the interweb because it’s gotta be better than looking at some clip of a Donald Trump press conference,” he said. “And a couple of friends of mine got back to me right away.”
From there, he decided he needed to put it to music, so he quickly put together a cast of musicians to get it done.
The song description on SoundCloud says the song is written for Henry, along with “all the other hard-working people in the health care sector.” It asks listeners to consider making a donation to the CanadaHelps Community Fund, which is raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts. Donations are currently being matched by Gore Mutual.
The lyrics to Dwyer’s song:
She comes on the radio, just around 3
with the public health news for the folks of BC
and to talk of a crisis, of a scope yet unseen
with an ungainly moniker, Covid-19
From the start, at the top of her list of demands,
was we lather with soap and please wash off our hands,
and as things took a turn for the worse day by day,
that we keep friends and neighbours a good six feet away
She’s had lots of help in her search for a fix,
not the least of whom is Mr. Adrian Dix,
in the eyes of the public though, she’s been the one
that has been with us since this whole thing has begun,
As nurses and doctors proceed with their tasks,
and pray for enough ventilators and masks,
she asks us to all help and flatten the curve,
and that from her health policy we do not swerve,
If we all stick together and see this thing through
we can show what a civil society can do
when it’s faced with a threat that first seemed unreal
but that now, it is obvious, is the real deal
So please follow the guidelines that she has laid out
it is going to be worth it, of that there’s no doubt
and if you turn on your radio, just around 3
the voice that you hear is of Bonnie Henry