The oldest song on this album, I wrote this one especially for my Dad on his 75th birthday, which we marked with a big celebration gathering all his living friends and family, including myself and Brandy up from Vancouver.
As usual when arriving back at my childhood home in Quesnel, I made a beeline for Dad’s old Yamaha guitar, the very first guitar I ever saw or touched, and indeed the instrument I learned my first three chords on under the watchful eye of my proud papa. I love that guitar so much, and not just for the obvious sentimental reasons, it is a first-rate acoustic guitar, better than most I have played (some of which cost much more). It has a mellowed, rounded tone which is hard to beat, and a supremely balanced attack that rewards the first open G-chord you strum on it with a perfectly blended sound.
As I have done so many times, I grabbed a beer and took the guitar out onto our front stoop and started noodling, a simple finger-picked G, then C, while I started to let words flow through me capturing the present mood of celebration, and a little nostalgia (always present visiting the scene of my earliest years). “You never know when you leave a place…” turned into a wistful meditation on finding your home back where you had always left it. That’s not really a place, but the people who made it a home. Armed with one verse I launched straight into the obvious chorus I was driving for (since I wanted to surprise my Dad on his big day with a song just for him), “Happy Birthday to Gordon Perry”.
I quickly wrote another two verses, honing in on more personal details – my dad really did teach me my first three chords on that very guitar (pretty close to the chords of this song) and he used to joke that he might live to 125, which I built into a verse about his milestone birthday of 75. Sadly he didn’t make it that far, and when prepping this song for the record I realized I couldn’t leave it there, and came up with another verse about him missing that target, but living on through me. It was the sad coda to a happy song, so I asked Jackson Gardner to add some wistful steel guitar as a transition. Having lost his own father way too young, he nailed the feeling and it’s now one of my favorite parts of this whole song.
Far From Your Home You never know till you leave a place What it meant to you, but when you’re away Far from your home – you find where you belong Is where you’ve come from – it’s been there all along My father taught me my first three chords He’d guide my fingers on his old guitar G, C, and D – that’s what he showed to me In cowboy country, that’s all you’ll really need Happy Birthday to Gordon Perry - He’s a father to me He always said that he’d live to see 125 years, now he will be Five-and-seventy – don’t seem that old to me Another fifty – is quite the possibility So Happy Birthday to Gordon Perry – Another year successfully … And though he missed it – just 44 birthdays early He’ll have to see those years through me
© 2022 Scott Perry (SOCAN/BMI) Recorded by Jackson Gardner at Flash Recording and Adrian Buckley at Chez Miaou Mixed & Mastered by Adrian Buckley Scott Perry: Vocals, Guitars Eric Lefebvre: Bass Derek Macdonald: Keyboards Adrian Buckley: Drums Jackson Gardner: Steel Guitar