Home Read Albums Of The Week: Berk Jodoin | Fly Away

Albums Of The Week: Berk Jodoin | Fly Away

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On Berk Jodoin’s new album Fly Away, the Métis singer-songwriter from Saskatchewan gives us a glimpse into the challenges he has overcome over the course of his life, and further unflinching observations of how others in similar circumstances are struggling to survive in urban centres across North America.

Inspired by the sounds of classic country and blues, Jodoin brilliantly combines them on the already acclaimed singles Aces & 8s, One Child and Weather The Storm, as well as the seven other songs on Fly Away. Working with co-producer/multi-instrumentalist Aspen Beveridge at Skull Creek Studios in Saskatchewan, Jodoin turned Fly Away into a family affair, with his children making significant musical contributions, along with members of his local Indigenous community.

Indeed, Jodoin has come to be regarded as one of the most important voices within the North American Indigenous music movement. In late 2023, he received three nominations at the inaugural Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Awards in the categories Country/Roots Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Fan’s Choice.

A commitment to telling his story, as well as being a voice for those whose stories are rarely told, remains the hallmark of Jodoin’s songwriting. That skill is on full display throughout Fly Away, from the tragic portrait of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in Hastings & Main, to the scathing, self-explanatory indictment, White Man’s World (ft. Joey Stylez). It’s no surprise that Jodoin has experienced much of what he sings about. After a promising hockey career was derailed by life-threatening alcoholism, Jodoin turned his life around in his early 30s with the help of a B.C. treatment centre. He then took up boxing, but after realizing that injuries were tempting him to return to his bad habits, Jodoin turned to music as his therapy, following in the footsteps of many of his heroes such as Steve Earle and Waylon Jennings.

Through his friends’ encouragement, Jodoin began recording his songs, and with the support of an SK Arts grant, released his self-titled debut album in 2020. Jodoin followed that up in 2022 with Half-Breed, which earned him a Saskatchewan Music Award as Indigenous Artist of the Year, along with a 2023 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year.

Jodoin is sure to expand his audience with Fly Away, a collection that presents cold facts alongside a pathway toward change. “All my songs are true,” Jodoin says. “I basically just take stories and write them, as I did with songs I wrote for my grandfather, who was a Cree man. The story of him surviving residential schools is a true story that needs to be told. We all have a platform. I use mine to raise awareness of things, which will hopefully inspire people to take action.”