"...it looks like hell on the CBC...” is a line from Larry Pegg Music’s moving song Highway 63. The song is supporting the wildfire relief efforts and creating awareness for #MentalHealth, #PTSD and #SuicidePrevention, all key issues that will affect those affected by this dramatic and tragic event. Click 'Your price' in the player to download and Larry will to devote 50% of download proceeds (set your own price, $2.00 minimum CAD) to the Wildfire relief cause, split 50/50 for Fort Mac (on the ground) and Mental Health and Suicide Prevention going forward. Highway 63 features Ottawa-based Jeff Rogers (keyboards/vocals), Ross Murray (drums/vocals), Stuart Watkins (bass), Fred Guignion (guitars and lap steel), Larry Pegg (guitars and vocals) and Edmund Eagan (supporting Ross Murray in production and arrangement). The lead is sung by Jeff and he kicks it out of the park with his great voice and delivery. Mastered by Emily Lazar (NYC).
Mental Health affects the world in very real ways. We all know it and we see it in the headlines everyday. Helping improve Mental Health resources in the world invariably means helping in our immediate communities, but at the same time there is a need to help beyond them, for we are all connected.
We all know music can be a universal way to connect. I’m hoping that this music project can be a reminder that we are all affected by Mental Health and that we can each make a difference and that music can remind us of that.
There’s a new video produced by The Carleton University School of Journalism that I made public for December 9th, 2014, the 7th anniversary of losing my daughter. It captures the key elements of my ongoing and growing Suicide Prevention projects very well:
Learn more about how my music supports suicide prevention and mental health.
Hockey is Great. LIFE is BIGGER! See Don't Stop Stompin' video here
Currently The Hockey Project is focusing on a unique Hockey-meets-Mental-Health music video called Don’t Stop Stompin’. In part, it’s a tribute to the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canada’s and the world’s hockey-song hero, but primarily it is sending the message of love and to “Never give up on LIFE.”
Further to the cause, I've released a download album entitled "We Love Hockey" with eight hockey-inspired tracks, and 90 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the album will go to Do It For Daron (D.I.F.D.), a grassroots movement with the mission of creating awareness, inspiring conversations, and transforming youth mental health. It was started by Luke and Stephanie Richardson after they lost their 14 year-old daughter Daron to suicide in 2010.
Are you are in crisis? You can Google for a Crisis support line locally or call the one of the national hotlines on the list provided at the links. Use a live chat service. Reach out to a friend, teacher, guidance counselor or or your loved ones. Click here for a list of hotlines and other resources.
Everyone has a story. Here’s a serious slice of mine.
Following the death of my beautiful and vibrant daughter who died by suicide in December 2007, music has become much bigger for me than I ever expected. It is the glue that holds me together, a big part of my ongoing therapy, in this aftermath of grief and depression. My album Before and Afterlife: The Theory of Positivityis a collection of music representing work that goes back to 1997, before my loss, and after. The songs cover a range of emotions, from love to loss, from joy to hope, from landscapes in our minds to the deepest oceans in our hearts. I always try and bring a positive Groove to my work, as do the wonderful players who have helped me create this album. They are all amazing artists (from Canada and the USA). They all bring the groove.
THE CAUSE: I have devoted the album to raising awareness and funds for the cause of suicide prevention and mental health resources. I am donating 100 percent of all proceeds from downloads of the song Weight and 50 percent of any full album download proceeds to support the cause:
I’ve been writing songs most of my life. My determination to pursue music on a serious basis came with a sense of revelation on September 12, 2001, the day after 9-11. Five months earlier, in April 2001, I wrote a song called No Future Now. It was an apocalyptic vision, full of images that eerily connected to the events of September 11. On September 12, without a studio booking, I went to Ottawa’s Distortion Studios to record the song.
I was in the door and at the studio, but before No Future Now, I had to first deliver on a promise that I’d made to my dear friend Ken Phythian who had recently died of complications from severe diabetes. I told Ken that the first song that I would record would be the one I wrote to honour our friendship and his amazing courage, his wit and humour, his loyalty, as a friend, husband and father. He was an amazing man. The mics were set up, the engineer ready. It was surreal. I was in the booth for my first recording session and the world was in a state of shock. I’d lost my friend. We’d all lost something in those hours. I played my heart and soul out for Ken and I kept my promise. In a world where we keep our emotions in check and bottled up, the tears flowed for him and the loss of his wonderful spirit, and they flowed for all of us that were deeply impacted by the tragic events unfolding from New York.
This was the pivotal moment, the moment where a songwriter comes to know that to live fully they must express their artistic calling and develop it. Although the notion had come to many times prior, it took hold on that day. Whether you’re a listener or a songwriter, I’m sure you’ll understand.
Sadly, the original recordings of Ken and No Future Now have been lost. I plan to record new versions, hopefully as part of my upcoming album release.
Supporting Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Resources
My song Weight was written and recorded on my laptop on October 14, 2012 in my hotel room while attending the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) National Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was entered into the CBC Lynn Miles Song Writing Contest that same day where it finished top five.
Although Weight is an uplifting and hopeful song, tears were falling onto my guitar and on my laptop as I worked to bring it to life and those uncontrollable tears are now recorded in that scratch version. Those tears were for my beautiful daughter and for all those others that we’ve lost to suicide. The breakout workshop that I’d attended was too raw bringing back so much pain. Those tears were also for more, much more, and if you’d like to know more, you can keep reading.
Weight is the catalyst that gave me the strength and the will to record this album. It was again entered into a CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) Searchlight Contest with the objective of winning and devoting 100 percent of proceeds (royalties, downloads, and CDs) to Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Programs.
Although I didn’t move on in the contest, I was able to connect to Suicide Prevention networks around the world including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, US and others. They have been in touch and they get this connection, and they support it. Some want me to come and play during their Mental Health weeks as a way to help get the message out and across. This music has become more powerful than I’d expected, it’s an opportunity to create a platform for sending one of the most critical messages in the world today, the message about Mental Health.
Mental Health (MH) issues have costs at many levels. The emotional toll, the loss of life, the loss of hope and even the loss of potential. To emphasize this point, Clara Hughes, Canada's six-time Olympic medalist and national ambassador for Bell Let's Talk said in February 2013, "Mental illness continues to affect 1 in 5 Canadians and is the cause of an estimated $50 billion in lost productivity annually." This amount is in Canada alone. In the USA with 10 times Canada’s population that amount may be 10 times as much, or $500 billion annually. As cold as economics sound, liberating only one percent of that economic loss could be $5 billion. I’m sure there are metrics out there that can measure what the return on investment (ROI) would be by increasing financial assistance to MH organizations.
Changing the World by Harnessing Grief in a Positive Way
So much of this world’s sorrow and anger is related to the mental health issue. Just maybe, through the crushing grief of Suicide Survivors, we can harness that horrible and terrifying negative energy and turn it onto its head and make a huge positive difference. So I’ve decided that I should try and take it global because I know we are all connected and I know we all want to try and make a difference.
You can already imagine that survivors would do anything to have their daughters, sons, lovers and friends back. We all know that can not happen in the flesh, but it can happen in the spirit we bring to life. With this collective energy of spirit I hope you will feel the power of the music and hear the appeal in these words, and I hope you will let them inspire you to help you help yourself and to help you help others.
I ask you to not think in terms of black and white, but to think in terms of dreams, dreams of a safer and healthier planet where more people learn to trust and to let go of anger. Surely we must all dream of a place where our children don’t lose hope so quickly and so tragically. To quote Michael Franti, "Cynicism is the absence of dreams." Ask yourself, "What positive dreams can I bring to the world?" Even little ones count.