James Gordon Surveys The Great Divide

The singer-songwriter examines the line between the haves and the have-nots.


James Gordon looks at both sides of The Great Divide in his topical new single and video — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

“There’s a railroad track near my house that divides the haves and have nots,” the prolific Guelph folksinger and songwriter notes. “It’s the same in many towns. It got me thinking about all the different divisions we’ve created in our society,” he continues. “Economic, racial, class, etc … The song The Great Divide came from this observation.”

Like a freight train, The Great Divide chugs along, calling out the social injustices that keep surfacing in our boiling melting pot. The wail of the mouth harp in the song’s intro and extro echoes the growing chorus of discord we hearing from all corners of society and the world.

The Great Divide is the second single and lead track from Gordon’s 40th (yes, 40th) album, When I Stayed Home — a self-produced, pandemic-born project released in July. Over his four-decade career, Gordon has released music both as a successful solo artist and as a founding member of the groundbreaking Canadian folk group Tamarack. “I can’t seem to stop writing songs,” he shares. “Mostly, they write themselves — I just hold up a net and catch them as they flutter past.”

Written and recorded at home during the extended periods of isolation we’ve all experienced lately, the album is just one of a number of projects Gordon dove into during lockdown. A performer who has toured relentlessly around the world since he was 20 years old, Gordon — like many musicians — found it difficult at first to adjust to staying home. But then he got busy. Really busy.

From his tiny home workshop, Gordon finished a novel that is accompanied by a 36-song recording; he did a virtual tour of his one-man show James Gordon’s Emergency Climate Musical; he kicked cancer’s butt; he dealt with his side hustle as a Guelph city councillor; and he wrote and recorded When I Stayed Home. In addition to The Great Divide, the album deals with climate change, empathy, social justice, our natural environment and love in a challenging time.“These are songs that demanded to be written,” says Gordon. “And I’m excited about sharing them with the opening-up world.”

Watch The Great Divide above, hear more from James Gordon below, and find him at his website and Twitter.