New Brunswick

Songwriter to release first new material since life-changing accident

Twenty-five years ago Darrell Grant was touring nationally and internationally with Fredericton-based folk-pop band Modabo. After the band split up in 1999, he moved to a small farm in Harvey, where he lives today in chronic pain.

Darrell Grant was member of Fredericton band Modabo in the 1990s

Darrell Grant is putting the finishing touches on new music that he hopes to release later this summer. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Twenty-five years ago, Darrell Grant was touring the country performing in one of New Brunswick's favourite folk-pop bands, Modabo.

The Fredericton-based trio were well known in the mid-1990s in the Maritimes and released two studio albums during that time. 

A few short years later, the group called it quits and split up.

"Breaking up really is hard to do," Grant recalled recently.

Grant was the songwriter and guitarist in Modabo in the '90s. The Fredericto-bbased band toured nationally and internationally before splitting up in 1999. (CBC)

When Modabo broke up, guitarist and songwriter Darrell Grant decided to step away from the public eye and moved to a small farm in Harvey, where he still lives with his family.

There, he set up a home-based studio and worked on two solo albums.

It was a good time for Grant, He had married his girlfriend Melanie, and the two had a new son, Ben.

But in 2005, a freak accident changed everything for Grant. 

He fell down a staircase inside his home and awkwardly smacked his right elbow three times in the process. 

Grant suffered nerve damage in a fall down a staircase in 2005. He lost partial use of his right hand as a result. (Gary Moore/CBC)

As a result of the accident, he suffered nerve damage to his hand and damaged his neck.

Since that day, Grant has been living with chronic pain, suffers from severe daily headaches and, the most painful for the guitar player, has only partial use of his right hand.

"I fell into a depression, a serious depression, which turned into, a long-term major depression with bouts of hopelessness, helplessness inside."

A private person, Grant shuttered himself from the outside world and chose to live the next 14 years quietly suffering.

Grant still has old newspapers and press clippings from when Modabo was in the headlines. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Grant said he didn't want to explain his health in daily conversation, and as someone who was once well-known, he found it easier to keep it to himself.

"You know, you meet a lot of people. And to tell that story … "

Grant said he didn't expect the side-effects of his injury to last 14 years, and thought he'd wake up healed one day. 

He hasn't yet. 

Music therapy

He turned to music as his therapy, and in between headaches he continued to write songs. 

"Mostly it was singing. And eventually it came around that I could play a little bit, and then I'd play a song maybe about 70 per cent of the way through it or something."

Grant's putting the final touches on some new music that he plans to release this summer, his first new material since his accident.

"Most of the music that's coming out over the summer will largely be acoustic. There's another instrumental album."

Grant hopes that opening up publicly about his health and releasing new music will help him and his family turn a corner. 

Grant has been living with chronic pain since a freak accident in 2005. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"Sometimes I want to show so much, you know, that I'm still here, baby, you know, and that I can do this."

Grant doesn't know if he'll ever make it back to the stage but plans to work toward performing again. 

"Most of my doctors tell me that my situation won't get better on it's own — it will deteriorate. So you have to make hay while the sun shines."

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.