RENFREW - He misses his friend terribly, but she’s never
Knowing she was losing her battle with an aggressive
brain tumor, she asked Rob Dillon of Renfrew to write her a song. That friend,
Lynn Cote, also asked him to release an album containing that song.
“I was in tears, she had given up,” recalls Dillon when
she made that request. “With myself crying, I could barely agree. The following
week, on a Wednesday morning, she passed, at the age of 42.”
Dillon acknowledges: “I took it hard. I went to the
grave several times a week.
“I just stood in silence thinking ‘I shouldn’t take it
so hard. I knew she was going to pass.’ But I was lonely, hurt. I cried all the
But now the tears have largely subsided. More than three
years after her death, Dillon has produced The One, a CD album that includes Lynn’s Song, in which he
remembers her tenacity and angel eyes.
“You never gave
up, you fought so long,” the song says.
“You showed us you
You were so proud,
you never complained,
And I promised you
The same song also
“Be at peace
brown-eyed angel, open up your wings
Dance way up high
among the clouds,
With this song
that I sing.
The thousand steps
we knelt and prayed,
I’ll remember each
and every day.
So be at peace my
angel, with all my love,
This is your
The reference in Lynn’s
Song to the thousand steps is to a visit Dillon and Cote took to St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, where thousands of people visit in
the hope of finding a cure for physical ailments. There are actually about 280
steps up to the church where the two prayed.
At the time, Dillon recalls seeing a pregnant woman
whose stomach was terribly deformed. “I thought: ‘Wow, there are people worse
off than us.’ The husband, one hand on the stomach, the other on the statue of
Jesus, was crying.”
Dillon’s tears continued as his friend’s symptoms
worsened, but the words for Lynn’s
Song began to come about a year after her death on May 3, 2006.
“One day I started playing music,” says Dillon. “I had
extra money (after losing my job in the high-tech industry in 2007 and
receiving a severance package) and I started writing and hiring the best for
Song, the third on the album, was the last song written.
Her song was also a contribution, he says, to a dream of
his own, to complete his first CD. Keeping his promise makes him feel good, but
so does the realization that $2 from each $17 CD purchase will go to the Brain
Tumour Foundation of Canada.
Meanwhile, Dillon still doesn’t understand why people
die the way they do. But he strongly believes people must keep their faith.
“Either you have faith, or you don’t,” says Dillon.
“Don’t try to understand it, because you never will. If
you understood things like that, you’d have an answer for everything.”
He says Cote always
wanted to know why she had to withstand a second such brain tumour, but the
answer wasn’t forthcoming. Yet, he says her memory will live on, partially
because she didn’t feel sorry for herself.
“She always fought and she looked at the positive side,”
Musicians contributing to the album include Kelli
Trottier with her fiddle and harmony vocals, guitarist Paul Chapman, singer
Kathleen Stroud, pianist Charlie Grassie, acoustic guitarist Jon Park Wheeler
and steel guitarist Al Bragg.
The album, produced by Dillon and Grassie at Peter James
Lajoie’s Ghost Tracks Studio in Perth, also includes a soothing instrumental,
The Stars of White Cedars, which features drums, fiddle, steel, bass and
acoustic guitar, and harmonica.
“What was said to me was: If you close your eyes and
listen to it, it takes you to a calm, happy place. You feel like you’re looking
down on the earth and remembering things.”
Other songs are Rocky Blues, Newfy, The Country Girl
that was a Ten, and Renfrew.
As the last of the 10 songs, Renfrew is bits and pieces
of memories of Dillon’s hometown, of driving up and downtown as a youngster and
of attending the great dirt dances at McNab-Braeside’s ball park.
“People from Arnprior and Renfrew used to flock there in
the late 1970s,” he remembers. “All the local bands would play and all the
people would smile and clap their hands. Back then they were the best bands in
the land,” he says of the likes of Metagenesis.
Now that the album’s done, he hopes sales grow.
The album is available at Mill Music, Valley Heritage
Radio and CD Warehouse, and by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For a slide show of the album’s music, check
out youtube.com and locate A Little Piece of Heaven Yukon by typing in Rob Dillon.