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“Music Like the Open Road has the Power to help and heal people…” Jim Ryan


I’m always pleasantly surprised to re-discover how important and unifying music is to career truck drivers. After I wrote a story about B-trains and mentioned driving for Eaton’s, retired driver Bob Reimer sent me a song he’d written about the B Model Mack, an iconic model and brand of truck if there ever was one. It’s a great song, and I’ve been trying to rework the tune into a waltz tempo.

Then Friday I got this missive via FaceBook from Jim Ryan, singer-songwriter who resides in Perth County, Ont.

I take it you are the same gentleman who writes for TruckNews.com; here’s the connection. You wrote a couple of articles about great trucking songs & ‘life is a highway’. I was trying to track down the Guitar Truck Driving Man by Ian Tamblyn which I heard Sneezy Waters do about 35 years ago in Toronto. Fortunately we got together in Ottawa this past weekend and traded music and stories. Why the interest? My brother Ed Ryan was a career truck driver and owner; he was killed in a tragic collision on Hwy 69 on January 28 hauling a load of cattle back from the west. On my facebook I posted a song I wrote for him when he turned 70 called ‘One Long Road’. It got me thinking about the Tamblyn song that I had heard once so many years ago. Music, like the open road, has the power to heal and help people understand the life directions people choose. Anyway, there was something about the tone of what you write that made me want to make contact … hope that’s ok. My career was in education (teaching geography, then being a highschool Principal for 33 years); helped me support my musical passion. Thanks for reading this. I’m at <www.jryantunes.com> and the facebook link to my post is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-I’d welcome a response if this catches your interest. Thanks Jim.

 

Here’s a song I wrote for my brother Ed when he had his 70th birthday in 2013. Unfortunately we lost him in a tragic highway crash on Highway 69 two weeks ago; he lived and died as a professional driver. I have vivid memories of the day I visited and played the song for him; safe to say it was well received. Reminds me of another day I visited him in Acton and did ‘Back Home Again’ at his request; the song has held a certain power ever since. Even the longest roads have an end; in the meantime, wishing you smooth travels in this life and beyond. JR

One Long Road

 

 

Tribute to professional truck drivers everywhere, especially dedicated
to Jim’s brother Ed Ryan. Lyrics below. Song was written for Ed’s 70th
birthday in 2013. More than 50 years of driving; loved Canada and knew
it from coast to coast. Here’s the lyric so you can sing along or learn
it for the Truck Drivers in your life. Thanks; Jim.

ONE LONG ROAD

Look up ‘I’ve been everywhere, you can see my picture
I’ve seen it all unfold, right before my windshield
My life so far has been one long road
No doubt there’s been some detours, pull off on the shoulder
See those setbacks different, now that I am older
From Red Rock past Kenora, sure can be cold

How many million miles been counted off behind me
Fifty years of drivin’, don’t need no reminders
My life so far has been one long road
Raise a hand, a nod, a smile for other seasoned haulers
A legend to the veterans, now that circle’s gettin’ smaller
From Red Rock past Kenora, sure can be cold

This Peterbilt is home, like all my rides before it
The tractor sings the verse, the trailer hums the chorus
The rhythm of the road pounds but I can see
Every inch of this road, is what made me

The dust begins to settle, the trailer slowing down
Home just two more turns away, the smallest of small towns
My life so far, has been one long road
Haulin’ freight or haulin’ cattle, get ’em there on time
Wetaskiwin to Badjeros, the straightest of straight lines
From Red Rock past Kenora, sure can be cold

This Peterbilt is home, like all my rides before it
The tractor sings the verse, the trailer hums the chorus
The rhythm of the road pounds, but I can see
Every inch of this road, is what made me
Every inch of this road, is what made me

c J Ryan, 2016, Guilty Man’s Music, SOCAN

Thanks for your note Jim, If you can’t connect on the above link you can find Jim Ryan’s music on youtube, search “One Long Road” and you should find it. I love the above song and the sentiments expressed. BTW I’m always looking for drivers to jam with—I play harmonica, guitar and some keyboards. I’d really like to find some truckers to cover some classic and not so classic songs, from Dave Dudley and Red Sovine to Little Feat and Tom Waits. This is a genre that continues to grow and should be celebrated. I live just west of the GTA in Acton, and I’m free most Fridays and Saturdays. Drop me a line if you’re interested. Have harmonica will travel.


Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio. With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude.
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