Starkness of Smokestacks Inspires Song

An article about Mark’s 2009 tour of Canada and the song Mississauga.

Author: Mike Beggs, The News Mississauga.

Date: 29 May 2009.

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May 29, 2009 09:55 PM – Judging by his 2007 CD, Westgate, Aussie Mark Seymour – who plays June 21 at the Mississauga Waterfront Festival – is one polished, incisive singer/songwriter.

But you don’t have to tell that to fans of the New Wave-era cult band, Hunters and Collectors, which he fronted for 18 years (1980-1998). Seymour revisits their songs in a solo acoustic format on his latest disc, The Closest Living Thing.

On the strength of a Canadian deal with new, Mississauga-based label All My People, his June 21 gig kicks off of a long-overdue tour of The True North.

“The album is very much a retrospective, but it does give people a good introduction (to my solo material),” the 53-year-old father of two says from his Melbourne home. “I have recorded five albums, but none of them have been heard of in Canada. So to finally be reaching outside Australia is good news.”
On the CD liner notes, he says, “Acoustic music has saved me.”

And one can’t miss the resonance it brings to his vocals on Hunters’ classics like Throw Your Arms Around Me, Say Goodbye and Everything’s On Fire.
“I must say, I felt a growing need to find my voice outside the musical landscape of Hunters and Collectors, which was a big reason I left the band – although that’s something I’ve only realized very recently,” he offers.

This 2006 inductee into the Australian Music Hall of Fame (and brother of Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour) has always been fascinated by, “the ordinary greatness of human behaviour.”
In the bleak song, Mississauga, he hones in on the now-demolished Four Sisters coal-burning smokestacks in Lakeview. It was penned on a previous trip here in the middle of winter, inspired by a lonely walk along Lakeshore Rd.

“Starkness was right there in those smokestacks, and the cold of course,” he muses. “But there was also the beauty. The Lakeshore was snowbound at the time, and for an Australian that is a breathtaking sight. At the risk of sounding bittersweet, Canada is an epic land. I’ve tried to write about the feel of the land.”

He was struck by an issue that hit closer to home in February, when the week-long Black Saturday Bush Fires raged through the State of Victoria, killing 173 people, injuring 500 and destroying more than 200 homes.

It was for this cause he agreed to a one-off Hunters and Collectors reunion appearance at the Sound Relief fundraiser March 14.

At the Waterfront Festival, Seymour hits the Main Stage at 1:30 p.m., accompanied by guitarist Cameron McKenzie. He’ll be followed on the June 21 bill by rising folk star Catherine MacLellan and Canadian folk/rock superstar Bruce Cockburn.

The festival runs June 19-21 at Port Credit Memorial Park. Other headliners include Montreal double-Juno Award winner Sam Roberts, 54-40, Justin Nozuka, The Spoons, Skydiggers, Kathleen Edwards and The Backyardigans.

For adults, tickets are $25 for the FridayFest concert pass (which includes admission all weekend long), or $15 for the Saturday/Sunday pass.

Visit or call 905-891-0002.