Monday, February 10, 2014

The Soundtrack of an Era

If you were in Muskoka in the summer of 1914, you might be banging out the latest hits on the piano – including risqué ragtime if Grandmother wasn’t around to disapprove - or singing “By the Beautiful Sea” with your friends as you splashed about in “Moonlight Bay”. You brought new gramophone records to the cottage, and are swooning over Al Jolson’s “You Made Me Love You” as you think about “spooning” “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” with your sweetheart.

We all have a soundtrack for our lives, especially our youth. My characters dance and flirt to popular tunes of their time, some of which become relevant to the plot and themes, even ironically so.

When I was doing my research, I discovered “Perfessor” Bill Edwards, an American ragtime historian and championship piano player. I contacted him with the idea of having a companion CD for The Summer Before the Storm with the music I quoted in the novel, and he obliged. He even added a delightful ragtime twist to WWI tunes like “Keep the Home Fires Burning” and “It’s a LongWay to Tipperary”. Click on the songs to hear his renditions.

The “Music for Muskoka” CD is available from Bill’s websiteVisit NovelTunes for information about the music.

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