MICHAEL THORNER CONTENT DESIGN

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Shadows Down On Snow ( Willy Ashworth Dropjaw Cover ) 10.18.11

My first job after graduating college in 1987 was at Nelvana, which at the time was Canada’s largest animation house. I met friends there that are friends to this day.

Most of the employees there were multi-faceted artists. Some were animators, others were posers. There were layout artists, background artists, character designers, graphic designers, directors, producers, sound engineers, illustrators, writers; you get the idea. It was a very creative environment.

Many of these talented people were also musicians and songwriters, and I was lucky to have been able to play with a few of them on a number of occasions.

One animator I became friends with, a guy by the name of Willy Ashworth, formed a band with an old bandmate of mine, Denis Gonzalez, as well as friends Steve Whitehouse and Kirk Hudson. They called themselves Dropjaw. They recorded a cool little indie album in 1995, and I used to listen to it a lot.

One song that always stuck with me was this song, Shadows Down On Snow. Not sure why. I liked the melody. The lyrics were unique. The song fell into that realm between pop, roots, folk and country music. I think that’s why I liked it. It was a cross-genre song.

I had the good fortune of playing this song live once with the composer, in late 1996, at El Mocambo in Toronto.

A few years ago, I asked Willy to rewrite the second verse, as I wasn’t sure if I could pull off phrases like “and oh those pearl thighs” in a sincere way. After he wrote new ones and sent them to me though, while they too were good, I realized part of the “zing” remained in the rural charm of the original version. Willy is from Thorold, Ontario (near St. Catharines), and I’m from Sarnia, Ontario (on the American border to Michigan). We’re both small town boys at heart. So I sing it as originally written.

If you’re interested in hearing the original song, let me know, and I’ll have Willy get in touch with you. It’s a great album, but now it’s a bit hard to find.

You can view Willy’s artwork at his two blogs:

http://pencilpusher49.blogspot.com/
and
http://willyashworthsfacetheweek.blogspot.com