Scott Nolan credits music with saving his life. After struggles with alcohol as a teenager and a serious brush with the law, he discovered a way to channel his talent. 

"Things could have gone a lot differently for me. Music smartened me up just in time."

Visiting Day (Trailer) from Absolutely CBC

In Charles Konowal's documentary, Visiting Day, Nolan explores a family secret that had a huge influence on his life and his songwriting. His older cousin Patrick Nolan grew up in Toronto, the eldest of five children in a violent household.  

After his father left and his mother took her own life, Patrick and one of his brothers spent a lot of time on the streets. By the time he was 16, Patrick Nolan had received a three-year prison term on an assault charge.

Letter

A letter Scott Nolan received from his cousin who was serving a sentence in Folsom Prison. (supplied by Charles Konowal)

Scott Nolan developed a bond with his cousin when Patrick spent time living with his family in Winnipeg.

But shortly after that, Patrick moved to California where he murdered a man and was sentenced to life in Folsom State Prison. 

Visiting Day retells the story using letters written between the two cousins, and follows Scott Nolan on his first trip to the prison where Patrick Nolan spent his final years.