Immediately following my Mom’s funeral I went to visit my Dad in Fredericton. Saddened by the passing of his former wife, he tried but failed to comfort me. My Mom had been my closest person. Living alone together for over a dozen years, we had seen each other through a lot. My Dad had a good heart but he struggled with bipolar disorder all my life. He didn’t know what to say and ended up putting his foot in his mouth. What could he have said, anyway?
On a happier note, the evening I spent in Fredericton found me at The Capital Pub, which featured nightly live entertainment. Though I hadn’t heard of them at the time, the pub was featuring the Aaron MacDonald Band from Mabou, Cape Breton. I recognized the drummer from the sound engineering school that we had both attended back in Ontario. Neil MacQuarrie had followed in his father’s shoes and become an affable young drummer. He invited me to come and meet the band, and in short order I was invited to sit in with my extra percussion. I have always tried to keep my percussion bag of tricks close at hand, for just such an emergency!
We got along famously and the band gave me a standing invitation to join in anytime we crossed paths. Shortly thereafter I settled in Halifax, where the Aaron MacDonald Band performed regularly. I became both a fan and a regular stand in. Aaron is still a clever songwriter and continues to perform his repertoire at venues around Cape Breton. But of the many catchy ditties that Aaron has penned over the years, his biggest crowd pleaser was always “Happy Day”. One couldn’t help but dance and sing along to the chorus, declaring: “I’m going back to where I left my friends”. It became the most requested song by audiences everywhere they played. Sometimes he’d have to play it twice in a night!
From the perspective of the veritable tambourine player in the group, I always heard this song as a great reggae jam. Hopefully you’ll agree! Years later, when I sought his permission to record the song, Aaron explained that the lyrics were inspired by a mushroom trip. Albeit, the song remains a Maritime anthem, filled with wisdom: “If we’ve got life then it’s life to live and it doesn’t really matter ‘cause we get what we give. And when it’s gone it comes around again…”
My grateful thanks for sharing your music with me Aaron! You lifted me up just when I needed you most! Catch more Aaron MacDonald here: https://www.facebook.com/Aaron-MacDonald-16782089186/
Shot and directed by my wonderful wife Jessica Marsh!