The back cover of the Fall 1983 issue of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s newsletter Horizons features a black-and-white image of a record album titled Solitary Shores by Douglas Wood. Accompanying text states that the album was produced by the Institute and “is about the calling of loons, the crashing of storm waves, the scent of balsam and the song of the voyageur.” In a featured quotation, musician Doug Wood writes, “As a farewell and tribute, I hope this album will be of value to the many who cared so deeply for Sig and to all who know that the dream and the battle go on.”
The album includes nine original songs by Doug Wood and a reading titled “Attunement” by Sigurd Olson. Contributing musicians include Lee Blasky (oberheim synthesizer), Steve Borgsrom (acoustic guitar and bass), Merilee Klemp (English horn), Scott Malchow (steel guitar and dobro), Reynold Philipsek (electric guitar), and Kathy Wood (vocals).
The first song on the album, “They Called Him Bourgeois,” was written and performed for the dedication of the Institute’s new building in May of 1981. It begins with the following lyrics:
It’s a land of magic sounds and magic sights.
And there has lived a man
Who’s done all that he can
To hold the torch and keep it burning bright.
Other songs on the album include “Cattail Marsh,” “Ne Pa Ko (The Dream Net Song),” “River Dreams,” and “The Isles of Saganaga.”
The photograph on the cover of the album jacket was taken by Les Blacklock, a member of the Institute’s Advisory Board and a close friend of Sigurd Olson. On the back of the album jacket, Blacklock writes, “Sig did not put on a show for anyone. His thoughts on the trail, by his fireplace and at the lecturn all spoke of his strong love of the northland and the need to save it for its beauty, its uniqueness, and its solitude. . . . Douglas Wood has caught Sig’s fire. This album is not only a beautiful tribute to Sig by Doug, but Doug’s own message is here, loud and clear. Carry On!”
And, indeed, Doug did carry on. He has produced a number of additional albums, including A Wish for the Wilds and Earth Songs; authored a number of books, including Paddle Whispers, Deep Woods, Wild Waters, and the award-winning best-seller Old Turtle; served as president of the Listening Point Foundation; and continues to sing and perform for school groups and many special events.
In fact, if you’d like to experience Solitary Shores for yourself, the Institute has a limited supply of original albums in sealed plastic sleeves. Make a gift of $50 or more to the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute to get yours. Or, if your turntable has gone the way of reel-to-reel, eight-track, and cassette players, you can visit Doug’s website to access his album in a modern format.