PORT HAWKESBURY: Steve MacIntyre turned on his radio, but he had to turn it down.
“It was just too big a story, too small a town,” the Port Hawkesbury resident sings over the sound of his acoustic guitar in his new song dedicated to the victims of Canada’s deadliest mass shooting.
MacIntyre said he wrote “Too Small a Town” with his girlfriend Robyn Chisholm, after he was moved to produce the project after the province’s tragic events that saw a gunman kill 22 people in a weekend rampage that started in Portapique, Colchester County in late April.
He said Chisholm was at work and they were texting each other, checking in on how the day was going, and MacIntyre advised he was tinkering around the idea of a song for the occasion but was having trouble putting it into words.
“It was just too big,” he said. “So I sent her an idea of Nova Scotia crying itself to sleep – and she loved that part.”
Originally, the song just wasn’t coming together.
MacIntyre said after their nightly routine of taking the dog for a walk, he grabbed his guitar.
“Typically with me, when I write, it either pours out like funnel cake batter, or ends up on the scrap heap in most cases,” he said. “Credit to Robyn, she was tenacious with this, and we sat for a few hours writing the lyrics; scribbling and crossing out, scribbling and crossing out.”
Spending far too much time on Facebook, especially these days, Chisholm had the idea of referencing what was taking place on-line with pipers giving tribute across the country, and people sending photos of the sunset.
“All the things we touch on in the song were basically her idea, and that came from the outpour of emotion over Facebook,” MacIntyre said. “I was happy with the way the song came together, at the end of the day, it’s not about whether you wrote a catchy song, it was just a way for us to get some things off of our chest and maybe help out for five minutes at least in some small way.”
With lyrics such as “Put a candle in the window, for a little ray of light; but Nova Scotia cried ourselves to sleep tonight,” they resonate with their simple, yet powerful message.
The video of the two serenading Nova Scotians was posted to Facebook and uploaded to Youtube, where it has garnered upwards of 70,000 views.
“The response has been overwhelming, it was like watching the credits of a movie roll by when we first posted it, from the likes and the shares,” MacIntyre said. “I actually had to walk away from that for a little bit. Once I dug into that to see how people were reacting, it was overwhelming.”
As for writing a factual song about a difficult local event, the duo has put into words the feelings that Nova Scotians have.
“I think you kind of separate yourself from it a little bit when you’re writing it,” he said. “You kind of distance yourself from it and it allows you to both create and breathe at the same time. It’s kind of an out-of-body thing.”
A few weeks ago, MacIntyre jumped on Premier Stephen McNeil’s viral saying “Stay the Blazes Home” and created another true, life-inspired song with his friend Dave Elliot, which also garnered some attention.
To listen to “Too Small a Town,” visit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1k1tUFfMeY&feature=emb_title.