After he nearly died, April Wine's Myles Goodwyn became an artist reborn
Nova Scotia-raised rocker has a new blues album and a book out, plus ideas for many other creative projects
April Wine frontman Myles Goodwyn usually spends his summers on the road playing with his band, but this June and July the Nova Scotia-raised musician won't be gigging much because he wants to go fishing.
"I bought a cottage on the ocean [last year], I want to sit down there, throw a line in the water," he said. "I want time to do that and if I don't force it, then it won't happen."
April Wine was formed in Nova Scotia in 1969, but moved to Montreal where its rise to fame included selling millions of albums and creating rock-radio staples like Just Between You And Me, Oowatanite and Roller.
The 69-year-old, who was raised in Waverley, has cut back on his touring in recent years, but he's not slowing down.
Goodwyn has a new solo album, Myles Goodwyn and Friends Of The Blues, and a new book called Elvis and Tiger, which imagines that Elvis Presley didn't die in 1977. Instead, he moved to Antigua and 20 years later. After seeing golfer Tiger Woods win the Masters, Presley wants to meet Woods.
At an age where many people retire, Goodwyn said his mind is too busy to allow him to do so. Instead, he's focusing on the projects he wants.
"When you can't turn it off, you better do something with it," he said.
The seeds for this new approach to life were planted back in 2008 when Goodwyn was hospitalized after he collapsed on his way to a Quebec airport. Alcohol abuse had taken its toll; Goodwyn had internal bleeding and nearly died.
After months of rehab, Goodwyn said he realized there were things he wanted to do, such as write an autobiography, Just Between You and Me, which was released in 2016, and put out a blues album.
Creative juices are still flowing
While it's popular for artists to put out cover albums these days, Goodwyn wasn't interested in that.
"I can do that when I dry up, you know, when the well runs dry, I can take that song and do it my way," he said.
The album has one cover song, Jesse Winchester's Isn't That So.
The album features contributions from musicians such as Rick Derringer, Garrett Mason and David Wilcox.
While Goodwyn recorded the tracks at his studio, the special guests made their contributions remotely. Goodwyn would send them a file via the internet and they'd record their parts and send it back.
"It's not as much fun as being in the same room, but it got it done and these guys are so great that they understand the concept and they can get into it and play with great feel. They don't have to be in the same room to work," he said.
One of the songs on the album is called I Ain't Gonna Bath In the Kitchen Anymore, an autobiographical tune that references childhood details such as the lack of running water at their Waverley home and hitchhiking to church on Sundays.
More albums, books in the works
Goodwyn said he's already working on a follow-up blues album and is thinking about a third album. He said he's also working on writing some new books, although he was tight-lipped about details.
Next year will mark April Wine's 50th anniversary and Goodwyn said he's like to do a special recording to honour that, but wouldn't divulge specifics.
As Goodwyn embarks on these projects, he's also finding time for leisure pursuits that have come full circle for him. He's a member at the same golf course where he was once a caddie master during his childhood, he frequents The Chickenburger in Bedford and is once again riding a motorcycle.
"It's coming back to my roots, it's really what it is. I'm not trying to act like I'm 19. I'm just doing things I used to do and I'm doing things I never got around to doing. Why not?" said Goodwyn.
When CBC News spoke with Goodwyn, he was in the midst of purchasing a home in Nova Scotia. Goodwyn's primary residence has been in Quebec for decades.
"I'm leaving where I've been for years. I'm coming home and it just feels right. I'm very excited about it," he said.