Lennie's dream: Gallant's song Peter's Dream to be inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
'I didn't know it was going to take off on a life of its own the way it has'
Lennie Gallant remembers, as a young boy, writing songs at his grandmother's house. Now the award-winning musician's song Peter's Dream is being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame at this year's ECMAs.
At his grandmother's house, he remembers spending time listening to the albums of his heroes: Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
"To think that I have a song that's going to be part of a collection that includes their music. It's pretty special, it's pretty awesome actually," Gallant told CBC's Matt Rainnie on Mainstreet P.E.I.
A Maritime anthem
This year, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is partnering with the ECMAs to honour Gallant's imprint on Canadian music with his enduring Maritime ballad, Peter's Dream.
Peter's Dream was first recorded in 1994, reflecting on the collapse of the East Coast fishery. The song has since become a Maritime anthem.
The song was written in the early morning, Gallant said, as he listened to fishing boats head out to sea at North Rustico harbour on P.E.I.
Connecting with fishermen
"You know when a song is a good song ... I didn't know it was going to take off on a life of its own the way it has," he said.
Over the years, Gallant said, he's had many fishermen thank him for writing a song they felt connected so deeply with their personal experiences in the fishing community.
It's kind of like you send a kid off into the world and they're sending you back the odd postcard sometimes.- Lennie Gallant
In writing the song, Gallant drew from time he spent not only in P.E.I. fishing communities but in Newfoundland as well.
The song has been covered by various artists including The Ennis Sisters.
"I mean, so many people have learned it now and recorded it or played it at events and so forth and I love hearing about that stuff," Gallant said.
"It's kind of like you send a kid off into the world and they're sending you back the odd postcard sometimes. I had no idea that it would become so well-known but it is very cool," he said.
The song induction for Peter's Dream is being presented to Gallant on Sunday at the ECMAs at 7:30 p.m. in Charlottetown and will be performed by Rose Cousins.
The Hall of Fame will also present Stan Rogers' induction to his family and widow, Ariel Rogers, with a performance by Juno-winning artist Old Man Luedecke.
More P.E.I. news
- An earlier version of this story said Lennie Gallant was being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In fact, it is his song, Peter's Dream.May 04, 2019 8:33 AM AT
With files from CBC's: Mainstreet