Herb Gray Parkway has muscian Martha Renaud singing the blues

Martha Renaud wrote three songs about the Herb Gray Parkway project, including Withered Hands and Weathered Wood; Chelsea Road; and The Herb Gray Parkway Blues.
Martha Renaud has penned three songs about the Herb Gray Parkway, which opened Monday. (Martha Renaud/Facebook)

For years, Herb Gray Parkway construction had singer Martha Renaud singing the blues. The singer-songwriter penned a trio of songs about the $1.4-billion infrastructure project and they'll be released sometime in July.

Renaud wrote three songs about the project, including Withered Hands and Weathered Wood; Chelsea Road; and The Herb Gray Parkway Blues.

Renaud gave an interview and preview of The Herb Gray Parkway Blues to CBC Windsor Morning and host Peter Duck on Monday.

The first verse is as follows:

I can't get out

I hate the roundabout

I hate the mud, I hate the dust

And I can tell you I've had just about all a body can bear

'Cause I can't get from here to there without goin' somewhere I don't wanna go

I just can't get through

I got them Herb Gray Parkway Blues

"It was just kind of frustrating getting out of our neighbourhood and that really sparked the song," Renaud said of the Herb Gray Parkway Blues.

Listen to The Herb Gray Parkway Blues and Renaud's interview by pressing play below:

Renaud lives near the intersection of Howard Avenue and Highway 3, where the roundabout is now.

She said she had to deal with her neighbours being expropriated, detours, noise and more.

"We lost so many friends through expropriation and buyouts and we miss them," she said. "I walk down the street and I just think about people we used to have barbecues with, help and just do life with."

Those feelings and experiences inspired Withered Hands and Weathered Wood, a song about 90-year-old neighbour selling her home amid the harvesting of trees to make room for the six-lane highway.

During that time, Renaud would count rings on tree stumps during the harvest. Some, she said, had 70 rings, signifying the age of some of the trees.

"I had not written anything, ever, until I wrote Withered Hands and Weathered Wood. I just felt so profoundly sad about it," Renaud said.

The $1.4-billion road partially opened Monday, with eight of 11 kilometres now available to use.

Renaud said despite the problems, the road is needed.

"I don't really feel the blues anymore. The songs serviced me at the times," she said.

Renaud will release her Lifelines CD in July. All three songs are on the CD.