Musician and songwriter Pat Temple will be returning to Muskoka to play at the Griffin Pub in Bracebridge on Saturday, May 19. Temple returns to his roots for a vacation at a family cottage on Skeleton Lake every year and enjoys meeting up and playing with local musicians. His first album was named after an island in the lake, One Tree Island. Temple is currently recording for legendary guitarist Steve Piticco.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
MUSKOKA LAKES - World-travelling musician and songwriter Pat Temple is coming back to the place that inspired the title track of his first tape, Skeleton Lake.
Temple’s musical career started in Muskoka, then took him around the world, but he’s never forgotten his roots which dig into the rocky Muskoka farm dirt. Born in 1955, Temple grew up in Kitchener, spending his summers at the cottage his grandfather built on Skeleton Lake. His first song was named One Tree Island, after the rock with one island on it at the edge of the lake.
It was a hotbed of music in Muskoka, he said.
During the 1960s and ’70s he learned to play learn rock and roll and dance music so he could play at dances and boathouses. He also learned the old-style fiddle country music that was played at the Raymond Hall.
“I kind of feel for the kids today, because I don’t think these kinds of gigs exist anymore, the farm league,” he said.
The farm league may be where he started, but it isn’t where he stayed. He has six albums, with musical influences from all over the world.
Temple never forgot the farm league, though.
Now he’s recording music for some of the Muskoka friends he played with in the past, like Canadian legendary guitar player Steve Piticco.
He also remembers the Muskoka farmers who spent years farming rocks. Temple worked with some of them, going into the fields to heap rocks on a rolled-over car hood pulled behind a tractor. The rocks were piled along the fence lines so the crops could grow in the fields.
One day Temple said he noticed a lot of activity at a house close to Austin’s Garage and asked Peter Austin what was going on.
“He said, ‘You wouldn’t believe it, a man from the city knocked on the door one day and asked if they would be interested in selling some of those big rocks,’” he said.
The man was an architect from Toronto.
“Three generations of blood, sweat and tears later they finally hit pay dirt,” he said.
Farmers with that kind of grit and determination inspired Temple’s song Stone Boat.
The song is one of a selection that made it on his latest CD Hi Lo Silver, a collection of songs commemorating the silver anniversary of his band High Lonesome Silver.
After travelling the world, Temple finally planted his feet in Peterborough where he’s now living in an old church.
After so many years of travelling, it’s nice to have a place to hang your hat, he said.
He still takes his hat off the nail to come to Muskoka to visit the family cottage every year.
“It looks about the same as it did then (in 1933),” he said.
Temple’s coming back to the cottage for the long weekend.
He will be playing with Piticco at the Griffin Pub on Saturday night as part of the pub’s parking lot party, a fundraiser for the Dads of Bracebridge.