Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tina's 'loneliness, hopelessness' touch songwriter

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Tina's death has made headlines and reached people across the country. One B.C. man has put his feelings about Tina's story into song.

Johnny Maudlin, 61, is a singer-songwriter from Burnaby, B.C. He had no connection with Tina, and hadn't heard much about her death, until a friend from Toronto asked him if he'd write a song about her.

"He said 'Johnny would you write something about this,' because he didn't feel like he could," Maudlin said.

The song, entitled Tina's Walking (In a World of Hurt), is a slow ballad reminiscent of an early Roy Orbison song. Maudlin's voice, a guitar and harmonica make up most of the song. A video on YouTube shows pictures of Tina, most of them from media reports. The lyrics talk about Tina's loneliness. In the refrain, Maudlin sings: Tina's walking/can't you see her/Tina's crying/ can't you hear her/.

It's a theme Maudlin said came across strongest when he researched her.

"The scenes of loneliness and hopelessness... were paramount. That's the aspect I found most troubling," he said.

Maudlin has previously written songs about national news. Most recently, he wrote a song about the train disaster in Lac Megantic. Called This Little Cafe, it has about 2,000 views on YouTube.

Maudlin said he doesn't do much thinking when he writes a song, but prefers to let his thoughts and feelings flow freely onto the page. It's the most genuine way of expressing himself, he said.

"I tried to get it from my heart and mind onto the page... because sometimes that results in the best song of this kind," Maudlin said.

Some of the material also came from personal experiences of Maudlin's. As a recovering addict, he said he understands the feelings of loneliness and despair that can permeate through a person's thoughts.

The personal angle is always important to him, he said. As much as the songs are meant as tributes, and a way to start a conversation, Maudlin said most importantly they have to be a way to process his own feelings.

"That's essential. That's the reason I write songs period; to process my life," he said.

Beyond that, Maudlin said he hopes the song also inspires people to enact change about the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

"We hear so much about it and I know we feel so powerless about it, but I'm an artist, and I have the ability to channel that stuff and share it in a way that hopefully will touch people," he said.

You can hear the song at: youtube.com/watch?vlqPGxKxIkDE

oliver.sachgau@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 24, 2014 A3

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