Back in October we received word from Leader musician Berk Jodoin himself as he wanted to share the upcoming release of his song 'The Sailor' that debuted a few weeks back now on November 4th. Also included in Jodoin's email was the fact that his song 'Half Breed' earned him a nomination for next year's Canadian Folk Music Awards taking place in Vancouver, BC.

In chatting with the local musician, he is very excited that his talents are being recognized on a national stage. About 6 months back, West Central Online wrote about his second album release that shares the name 'Half Breed', as Jodoin's song lyrics are typically as gritty and as real as it gets.

Staying true to that statement coming out one week before Remembrance Day, Jodoin's new song 'The Sailor' tackled the tough subject of military PTSD. The song was written as a gift to a friend.

"It worked. It did make him feel better. He is sure proud of his song."

"This friend of mine, we have been through some stuff together. He spent 14 years in the Navy, and when he was discharged, he ultimately ended up with severe PTSD," said Jodoin of his friend who spent time in six different active warzones and has to deal with the consequences still to this day now living back home, "Now he deals with the demons. With alcoholism, with all that kind of stuff."

Jodoin wrote the song for his friend as a way to show people that the veterans returning home may seem fine, but usually still have things they are dealing with daily in the form of post-traumatic stress. Jodoin knew his friend was struggling, and a large chunk of his inspiration to write 'The Sailor' came from a firsthand experience with him after inviting him into their home knowing all too well about the tough times.

"He lives out in BC; and I went out and picked him up. He came and stayed with me and my family for a couple of weeks just to reset. We spent some time together then, and after that I decided that maybe I should write a song for him. Make him feel better."

It's always great when someone can use their talents for good, and Jodoin did just that.

"It worked. It did make him feel better. He is sure proud of his song."

Telling stories through his songs is what makes Jodoin feel good about his music, and actually being recognized for his work is what makes him feel validated. He told the story of how he become aware of his Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.

"My manager called me and said 'Hey, you've been nominated for this award'. I said what award? She just saw it come across her social media feed or something, they didn't contact me it just kind of popped up."

Jodoin has been up for provincial awards before including just recently this year with his new album but says that being recognized on the national stage is something that did surprise him.

"Right now, I am up for a few awards with SaskMusic, which is an honour in itself. But to get to the national level it feels pretty good," said Jodoin, 'It kind of feels like I am swimming in the deep end of the pool a little bit, but it feels pretty good." 

The overall feeling is one of validation, not vanity as Jodoin explained.

"All musicians, songwriters, artists, they put so much work in. We don't do it for fame and fortune, because god knows there isn't a whole lot of that floating around for everybody," laughed Jodoin, "The odd time something like this happens, and you feel like you are doing something the right way and it feels pretty good."

Jodoin is excited to be going up against songwriters that he respects, as being considered among that peer group is reason enough for Jodoin to continue on making music. It's reassuring for him as an older guy, but younger songwriter, to see that what he is doing actually holds meaning and reflects what he feels music should be.

"They are deep and meaningful, not just the Nashville assembly line kind of songs that people are writing."

Being nominated for a folk music award, we asked Jodoin what that genre means to him specifically.

"My off-the-cuff definition of folk music would be lyrical based, meaningful music," said Jodoin before going deeper into his answer, "When I write a song, I don't intend to get anybody dancing, I intend to tell a story. I believe that since the beginning of folk musicians, guys like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, those guys tell stories in their music and my music is just that. Its story based, and a driving part of my music is the lyrics and the story and the message."

Jodoin will have a chance to share his musical stylings with likeminded people come February when he takes off to Kansas City, Missouri, for a week-long event at the Folk Alliance International. It's an important and well attended event that has him excited.

"I might be the only person there that actually has a day job, so again, quite validating!"

Jodoin shared that he doesn't have much planned for on-stage performances in the near future outside of his upcoming trip down south. He is rather focused on his family and coaching kids' hockey for now, though his creative mind shouldn't stop as he searches for a way to tackle his next heavy topic through music.