James Eddy was plucked out of his hometown when he was just a baby but never lost the grip on his Prince George roots.
Years ago he ditched the fast-paced and impersonal big-city life he was living in Vancouver and moved his family to P.G., where he could chill out in COVID self-isolation around a bonfire at his Jensen Road property and get down to writing the lyrics of his latest song, Up North Living.
Eddy’s three-minute 21-second song is a catchy blend of hip-hop and rock. In it he celebrates the outdoor advantages that come with making his home in north central B.C. and his love for hunting, fishing, boating, ridings sleds and time for family and friends.
“The pandemic just hit and I was sitting outside the firepit, just hanging out with the wife, and she went inside and it just started coming out of me, of how we’re living up north in Prince George,” said Eddy. “Where I live, I have a few musicians on the block and my buddy across the road plays spoons and a guy up the road plays guitar so he laid some bass on it and it just came together.”
Eddy, 42, who has a day job as mining consultant, puts out music under the name, The Family Man. All his tracks for the song were laid down in his basement recording studio – Great North Sound Studio – and the words just flowed out naturally.
“Ever since I was a little guy raised by mom, I was able to tell stories to the beat of drum. Prince George, B.C. represents where I’m from;
“We start a fire, drop the tailgate, get ready to ride. One step, two step from side to side, and we won’t stop rockin’ till the whiskey’s gone, cuz these rednecks party till the break of dawn.”
Eddy rounded up his pal at Dwayne’s Outdoor Productions to film the video for Up North Living and invited some of his buddies to come out to his house in the Beaverly subdivision that day. They brought their GoPros, drones and muscle cars to burn some rubber and drink a few brews, just to add a bit of redneck flavor to the video. Derek and his mullet are featured prominently.
Eddy spent the first year-and-a-half of his life in Prince George and was raised in Armstrong. He shifted to Vancouver to pursue a music career and lived there for 12 years before he made his way back to P.G.
“I moved to Vancouver and toured around the States and then I had twin boys and it was time to make a call, ‘are you going to rock-star it up or go raise twins,’ and I had a job opportunity (with Peerless Engineering) and moved to Prince George,” he said. “I came back and found the place I belong again. It’s in my blood.”
His mom got him into Willie Nelson and he blended those country influences with his love for hip hop and rock as grew to become an adult musician. He calls it hick-hop.
“Music has been a part of my life for 32 years,” said Eddy. “My grandpa owned the first car lot in Armstrong and when I was vacuuming and cleaning cars I started making poems and beats in my head and just got good at putting poetry to a beat, basically. At that time, it wasn’t common for a white guy to be good at poetry and lay it down so I had lots of obstacles coming up but that got my roots going and it came out in me naturally.”
“I’m talkin’ jacked-up, souped-up 4-by-4s that got big-block motors make lots of noise. Yeah, out back no-flack good ol’ boys who got double-stack gun racks and lots of toys.”
Eddy and his wife Katherine and their now 14-year-old sons each have their own snowmobiles and Up North Living includes the high-pitched sound of a revving sled.
“This is for my people living up in the cold, we’ll be huntin’ and fishin’ and having fun in the snow;
“Hey-o Friars, grab your sled it’s time to go for a braaap, up north living and we ride it like that. I’m up north living where the air is clean, the beer stays cold, have a cheers with me.”
Katherine gets a few seconds of screen time in the video, giving her hubby a peck on the cheek while they sit in their car. She was hoping he would edit that part out, but he wasn’t buying it.
“And let’s not forget the ladies, the ladies that keep us warm on these cold cold nights, gotta weather the storm;
“To the people up north who’ll be living it up, with an old pair of skates, hockey stick and a puck, yeah I’m talking ‘bout the best damn country it’s true, ‘cuz no one does it like Canadians do.”
The video for Up North Living is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/Eddy1740. Eddy released it two weeks ago and already approaching 18,000 hits. He’s in talks with distribution companies to try to push it to the major platforms – Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.
“I’d like to get it on some local (radio) stations just because it relates to up here,” he said.