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Home of J. Knutson
The Swamp Devils
The Last Family

Kickin' into gear with Kickstarter
Watch this space for news, views, re-views and a rambling muse.
Yes rambling soon, including tour diaries, Ice Cube Chronicles, and occasionally something relevant to the real world.

CanoeSong Updates

Jun 7 2024
An IsoNest bonus!
Jay Knutson

An IsoNest bonus!
I have a new compilation playlist on SoundCloud. It’s a collection of songs that haven’t been released on any of my albums, Spirit of The West or Early Spirit albums. Songs I recorded for various projects, now in one place. 

Just go to:

That’s the playlist title, it’s free to stream. Hope you enjoy it. 
Lotsa love, J.

Jun 2 2024
The Road I'm On
Jay Knutson

The Lightning Chain
The road I'm On
Listen and Download

So this is the road I’m on.  

It winds to the horizon, and continues through to tomorrow……

Take the road I walk on
Take the seasons that have gone
Take the anchors I lost at sea
Take the storms that live in me

Take the words I could not say
The meaning I can’t convey
Take the burdens from my heart
Take the sorrows from the start

Take the places that I’ve been
Take the tattoos off my skin
Take the lanterns down the trails
Find the truth inside the tales

Take the shadows from my eyes
Take the sun that lights up the skies
Take the memories I can’t replay
and let them all just fade away

Take the harness holding me
Take the reins and set me free
Take the chilling winds away
Take me home again I pray

Take the rainbows from my smile
And hide them in your heart awhile
Take the comforts I push away
And bring me solace everyday

Take the shadows from my eyes
And take the sun up there in the skies
Take the memories I can’t replay
And let them all just fade away

Take the harness holding me
Take the reins and set me free
Take the chilling winds away
And Take me home again I pray

Take the rainbows from the skies
I’ll hold them in my heart awhile
Take the comforts I pushed away
And bring me solace everyday

Let em' fade away

Lyrics by Brenda Bennett
Music by J.Knutson

Feb 2 2024
House Concert Featuring Early Spirit
Jay Knutson

Hey all, thanks so much for your support. Our first show is “Sold out”, so we’ve added a special 2nd show St.Patrick’s Show, March 17th, 7:30-9:30.

Again, just 40 seats available, so please reserve soon. Green beer welcomed but not recommended, way better to bring Guinness! Slàinte

Jan 31 2024
Inaugural House Concert Featuring EARLY SPIRIT
Jay Knutson


Oct 21 2023
Ireland Part 4
Jay Knutson

The first evidence of human presence in Ireland dates back to about 33,000 years ago. 
The first real Brexit was about 12,000 BC, when Ireland decided to break away from Europe after a particularly nasty argument with the ruling Ice Age. The isle of Eire was born. 
All this to say that we, as the current inhabitants don’t really have a say as to what our ruler, Mother Nature decides. 
Standing at the true feet of giants yields a rather sobering perspective to our relative personal insignificance. 
Did someone say sober? Well we better do something about that. 
ádh mór, 🍻 J.

Oct 20 2023
Ireland Part 3
Jay Knutson

Kilkenny gridlock slowed us out of the gate, but we found alternate transport in the flower box bicycle. 
Turning at the rainbow bridge we went back in time to County Kerry. 
First evidence of human settlement on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, was about 4000 BC. 
The plumbing was changed about 2000 years later, and remains the same today in most of the hotels😉
But what a stunning place it is. 
The Slea Drive is truly spectacular. 
The “beehive huts” were part of a cashel and are dated back to 2000 BC, not too cozy but still better plumbing than a lot of the Irish hotels. 
Tomorrow we tackle the Connor Pass (Ireland’s highest mountain pass) 
No need to take oxygen along though, there’s a pub at the top and that should set us straight. 

Oct 17 2023
Ireland Part 2
Jay Knutson

Sorry to say I won’t be back for many a day. 
I’ve got anew gig with a local Irish band from Dublin. 
Good lads these ones Larry, Edge and Bono, they send their best. 
I start next week with them in Las Vegas at some bar called “The Sphere”
But for now Peter Lepine has joined me, and we’re on to Kilkenny then we’ll take the high road to Tipperary, (you know it’s a long way)🍀 
Cheers to Dublin’s LiffeySound FM 96.4, Derek Burke and PressPlay UK. 
The Emerald Isle is smiling as are the Irish eyes. 
I guess it’ll be a switch to Murphy’s in Kilkenny…..Good to change things up a bit.
 Cheers J.

Oct 14 2023
Iceland to Ireland
Jay Knutson

We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow”
Iceland to Ireland. 
Oct 14 Dublin
After 3days in Reykjavik I land in the Emerald Isle, still cloaked in full green 
The sun remains.
 Such a gift after the prospective onset of Iceland’s imminent winter.
 But it’s Iceland in its element. The stark beauty of a land that time forgot is revealed with a dusting of snow on the mountain tops and a piercing icy wind. 
Just one way to warm one’s core…to Dublin, and a hot Irish whiskey, with a Guinness to add substance. 

Jul 22 2023
Deep Cuts 3
Jay Knutson

Writing below the surface. 
A friend of mine once told me that his art meant different things to different people, and that they would often explain their interpretations to him during a showing. 
At the show’s end he’d take the most interesting story and use that for himself. 
Explaining one’s art, be it literal, visual or musical is often best left to the eye/ear of the beholder. There’s no right or wrong. 
The conjuring of emotions, the pipeline to the imagination, the recall of past experience are as personal as the observer warrants, as deep as they are willing to go. 
And of course, each reflection yields a different interpretation. 
I believe that element of intrigue forms the muse. 
From there it’s up to the artist to make it their own. 
Allow others to make of it as they will. 
No explanations necessary.

Click here to listen and download the CD

Jul 15 2023
Deep Cuts 2
Jay Knutson

The thing about recording a song for posterity, is it must remain sincere and believable.
For that reason I‘ve made a point of trying to put up the “first take” of each tune posted, unless of course there’s a major screw up and thing’s really hit the ditch.
Talking to you is like addressing a “live” audience and I’ve always found that speaking to an audience is best if it’s like conversing with a friend.
Earnest communication is the key.
That way you get to know the artist on a little more personal level.
The idiosyncrasies, minor gaffes, lyrical errors and occasional bum note we’ll attribute to artistic license, or senility, you choose.
Keeping it all in there, keeps it human.
( this post was written by ChatGPT)
….just kidding,
*footnote, The Nic Drake album I mention in the pre-amble is “Pink Moon”. Nic was a British singer/songwriter, he passed away in 1974. The Alexi Murdoch song is “Orange Sky”,
Alexi is also a British singer/ songwriter. ??this should make sense after hearing my ramble pre-amble.

Click here to listen and download the CD

Jul 8 2023
Deep Cuts 1
Jay Knutson

It can mean a lot of different things. 
Whether it’s the kind that requires stitches, or a prudent economic strategy, a particular slice of meat or in this case a song that one might have to dig for. 
Some of my all time favourite tunes are Deep Cuts. 
Sometimes it saves an album, other times it dwells in the shadow of hits, aging between tracks like a fine wine. 
Over the next few weeks I’ll delve into songs that rang the bell for me, but flew beneath the radar. 
I’m sure you’ll be able to relate, we all have those under-appreciated gems that we carry with us, those Deep Cuts we like to think of as our own precious melodic discoveries. 
Let’s open the treasure chest. 

Click here to listen and download the CD

Jun 17 2023
Oh Rhealle
Jay Knutson

Where it started. Where it will finish. 
“Our true home is in the present moment. 
The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment.”
-Thích Nhất Hạnh

Click here to listen and download the CD

Jun 10 2023
Lost on the 401
Jay Knutson

Somewhere stuck mid span on the 2nd Narrows, high above Burrard Inlet this song came to me.
By the time I was home, it was pretty much in tact.
A beautiful enlightening part of creating music is releasing oneself to the muse, following the road it takes you.
This tune has been recorded in several different arrangements, in different bands, but this is what I heard that day on the bridge.

Click here to listen and download the CD

Jun 3 2023
Calling Me
Jay Knutson

Home is indeed where you hang your ball cap, but home is also in the heart and the heart holds onto that notion  no matter where one rambles and roams. 

*just to clarify a slip up in the time line continuum of my verbal preamble;

my “last stretch” overdue entrance to the Coquihala and forced 2 day blizzard Kamloops stay, “followed” the slip slide down the YellowHead from Jasper to Mt. Robson 🥶as geography dictates. 🤔

Click here to listen and download the CD

May 27 2023
From Glace Bay
Jay Knutson

On a icy cold day, early March 1987,
in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the seed for this was planted. 
A harsh time to expect anything to grow, but the narrative compelled the song to life. 
Another true encounter, this time provided by a local cab driver.
Winter in a small coastal town certainly can have its limitations. 
But neither wind, sleet nor snow would  stop Platinum Blonde’s stretch limo 😎

Click here to listen and download the CD

May 21 2023
John Goodman
Jay Knutson

One of my favourite movies is The Big Lebowski, well this week’s tune has nothing to do with that film or The Dude’s sidekick. This week I’m revisiting a chance encounter with a namesake character that I met in a bar in a town off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. 
And this one is for my buddy who sang it with me 40 years ago. 
The Dude abides!

Click here to listen and download the CD

May 21 2023
Swamp Trio on Salt Spring
Jay Knutson

For release: 

Jay Knutson and The Swamp Devils Trio return to Salt Spring 

Founding member of the west coast band “Spirit of The West” returns for

one night, Sunday July 16 at The Treehouse in Ganges. 

Space is limited, contact The Treehouse for details. 

Accompanied by SSI local Paul Alexander on drums and Peter Lepine bass harmonica and vocals, 

you don’t want to miss this. 

May 16 2023
Creating Consent
Jay Knutson

A songwriter often walks a fine line.
At the mercy of the listener, the author hopes the message doesn’t become to convoluted, masked or cryptic, but conversely not too literal, leaving room for a listener’s personal interpretation.
Perhaps the listener can find relevance through personal experience.
The song is really just planting a seed.
In practice I tend to lean more to the cryptic, but that’s just my preference.
Every once in a while a personal fragile light surfaces to reveal itself, every once in a while the love shines through.

Click here to listen and download the CD

May 15 2023
Press Release
Jay Knutson

Jay Knutson and The Swamp Devils Trio return to Salt Spring 

Founding member of the west coast band “Spirit of The West” returns for

one night, Sunday July 16 at The Treehouse in Ganges. 

Space is limited, contact The Treehouse for details. 

Accompanied by SSI local Paul Alexander on drums and Peter Lepine bass harmonica and vocals, 

you don’t want to miss this. 

Calendar adds:

May 27, 28.   2:30-4:30 pm

Arts in the Garden, West Vancouver

July 16.  7-10pm

The Treehouse Cafe, Salt Spring Island

May 8 2023
Ring Some Changes
Jay Knutson

“Afterwards, the coffee gets cold... afterwards, priorities change...
Afterwards, the charm is broken... afterwards, health passes...
Afterwards, the kids grow up...
Afterwards parents get old...
Afterwards, promises are forgotten... afterwards, the day becomes the night..
afterwards life ends...
And then it's often too late....
So... Let's leave nothing for afterwards,
The day is today... The moment is now..” -author unidentified
 This week a tip of the ball cap to one of my favourite singer/guitarist/songwriters 
and a nod to an anniversary of sorts!

Click here to listen and download the CD

May 2 2023
Maximum Wind Velocity!
Jay Knutson

Sounds intense doesn’t it?
It’s actually the motto/tag line for a Japanese T-shirt company.
I loved travelling in Japan. The culture, the food, the people, all intriguing.
and such a novel approach to English translation.
Such is “SunnyDayFreedomSmile.”
The second half of today’s odd medley is “90 Degrees in the Shade.”
From my first trip to Berlin, (and East Berlin) in 1977, to a tour through a reunited Germany a little over 10 years later, just after the wall came down. “the wall came down, but other walls were building”
Maximum Wind Velocity, how could you not buy the T-shirt?

I don’t have T-shirts for sale but for music, stories and videos all for free go to Canoesongs with a “.com” at the end.

Click here to listen and download the CD

Apr 24 2023
The Man With The Star
Jay Knutson

It’s hockey playoff time again, and yep, the Canucks are golfing, but hey it’s kind of a rite of spring. 
Many, many years ago I used to watch the playoffs with my dad. In between periods there’d be this movie star like fellow with perfect teeth, a square jaw and an officer’s cap come on to let us know he had our back. He was in uniform, he was the Man with the star from Texaco. Kinda like our gasoline superhero, there to make sure our family’s drives were smooth and trouble free. Dad had a Texaco card, and when we pulled up to put 4 bucks worth of regular in the tank, I knew the man with the star would no doubt filler’ up and check the oil and tires. 

All this to say, there’s been many miles put on this endless highway journey. 

In Canada the ol’ T gas stations are gone and so is the Man, but I smile whenever I’m in the States and I pass a Texaco. That’s a big 10/4. Out.

Click here to listen and download the CD

Apr 15 2023
The Bright Star of Belle Isle
Jay Knutson

In 1993,  just prior to the release of my first solo album “The Last Family”, I was commissioned by the CBC to submit a reworking of a Canadian traditional song for a project called New Voices for an Old Tradition. 
This is close to what the acoustic starting point for that reworking sounded like. Cheers, J.

You can listen and download the CD by clicking here

Apr 6 2023
2 new Albums from J.
Jay Knutson

Very soon, we'' make 2 new albums accessible, to listen and to download.

Watch this site, “The Lightning Chain”

an album of 10 new songs, written recorded and performed by J. will be released. 

This album is in one full file, the songs weave together themes that made themselves apparent over the last few years. They surfaced over the Covid lockdown, and with the help of several guest musicians adding colours, textures and musical finesse, the recording process revealed the tapestry in a 36 minute soundscape. 

It’s fun to listen to on headphones, so please take the time and ride The Lightning Chain. 

And as a bonus, to ground oneself and get back to basics “Enter The Woods” features songs that were recorded in the form of which they were originally conceived, voice and acoustic guitar. 

Many of these tunes were arranged and recorded with different bands over the years but this is they started, back to the woods. 

Both albums are available for free download in hi rez WAV files. 

Feel free to share at will. 

Hope you enjoy the ride. Cheers.

Feb 1 2023
The Swamp Devils at Vancouver's Historic Princeton
Jay Knutson

Fall under the spell of “the valley voodoo”.

The Swamp Devils return to The Princeton, So get ready for some foot tappin’ zydeco rock n blues gumbo. 

The Swamp Devils L.P.’s

-“2 Beer Buzz”, 

-“Stainless Steelhead”

-and soon….”Fifth Wheel Birdhouse”

May 13 2022
Arts In The Garden
Jay Knutson

It may still feel like February, but this end of May, the 28 and 29th to be precise, I'll be doing a couple of special shows as part of the North Van Arts 29th Annual "Arts In the Garden" series. It's always been a favourite of mine. A lovely time to match the beauty of a spring garden with visual arts and music.
This year I'm playing in North Vancouver at Garden number 6, the home of John Whyte, at 751 Donegal Place. 12:30-2:30pm
Finger crossed for sun!
Hope to see you in the Garden.
For more info on the event go to northvanarts.ca        Cheers and happy gardening.

Nov 9 2021
Be Our Guests
Jay Knutson

Prior to the conception, recording and realization of The Hollow Tree album, if someone had asked me what other musicians would be on my wish list of voices, textures, colours and inspired musical inventiveness?

I would have answered with the 5 gifted and talented guest artists that have graced this new album. 

Michelle Campagne has been a part of many of my previous album projects and her beautifully phrased and textured vocals have brought out the very best in each performance. 

Geoffrey Kelly and I have had a long musical history together. From before day 1 of Spirit of the West, his lyrical wind playing and creative composition was an integral part of our collaborations. 

François Houle has always been one of my favourite wind/horn players. 

His grasp and scope, and dynamic interpretations are haunting and inviting. 

Andy Hillhouse brings a supportive and deft hand to an evolving guitar tradition. He is an innovator and an extension of creative voicings.  

Mark Francis has taken his remarkably skilled hand and visually interpreted the narrative of this album. 

The Pacific Black Bear seeks out a hollow tree instead of a cave to hibernate through the coldest, longest days of winter. 

The Hollow Tree has been an icon in Stanley Park for over 100 years. 

It has seen  loggers surrounding it but leaving it standing to house each era of development and each evolution of the city that has grown around it. 

From circus animals to 57’ Thunderbirds, from the call of its wild inhabitants to the “Be Ins” of psychedelic 60’s, The Hollow Tree has stood through time, reinforced now by steel and cement, much like the city itself, a reflection of life in the Pacific North West. 

Join us as Early Spirit steps into The Hollow Tree and brings its songs to life.  

Help us out and Pre order now. 


Nov 3 2021
Hey Spirits in the night. (and in the morning)
Jay Knutson

Hope you jack o’ lanterns are  not too “ lit.”

It is Halloween weekend, and  we’re handing out treats here at Canoesongs central, especially for those IsoNest followers! 

This week the big reveal.

Here’s a link to Early Spirit ‘s new video “We’ve Seen This Film Before”, it’s the latest release from our upcoming album “The Hollow Tree”. 

We’re more than half way through recording, and I can honestly say I am really stoked about getting it done and getting new music out to you all. 

As you know this kind of project can be a costly endeavour, and as you also know, (if you know me,) I don’t solicit funding, subscriptions or contributions on this page or any other of my pages. 

I post because I love the music and the realization of the process. 

I would however, at this time, ask of you a favour.

 You can greatly assist us in this process  by pre-ordering our new CD via Kickstarter! 

It would be of immense help and we’ll guarantee that you get the new album, first thing, right out of the gate. 

The link to Kickstarter is below and the options there are well explained. 

That all said, as always I appreciate you tuning in each week, it’s truly my pleasure to stay in touch with you all. 

Please share the Kickstarter link and the video with as many friends, family and folks as you can ,

I really appreciate your support. 

With your help The Hollow Tree will see the light of day and come life. 

Can’t wait to share this next musical journey with you. 

And, Thank you, for following, being here, reading and listening. 


What Picasso didn’t say - *shipping, handling and taxes not included,  â˜ºï¸

** except with the Kickstarter pre-orders, it’s “all in”! 

Have a great week, Cheers. J 🤗

Music Video Link: 


Kickstarter Link:


Nov 3 2021
We've seen this film before
Sample Admin


Early Spirit's latest music video release, off their upcoming album  'The Hollow Tree'. Let your voices be heard. Sing, dance and play from the heart. 

Preorder now! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/earlyspirit/hollow-tree-by-early-spirit

Early Spirit is Jay Knutson, Gabriel Dubreuil, Ben Kelly and Aidan Goheen

Sep 17 2021
The Hollow Tree... soon
Jay Knutson

So we’ve been writing, and playing when and where we could this past summer, and, assembled a group of new tunes that we’re really excited about getting out to you. 

The multi dimensional concept of the Hollow Tree has created a thread of continuity and laid the foundation for the theme of our new record. 

The songs reflect a period of change, of growth, a reflection of our past and a realization of the times in which we now live. 

We’ll be in touch very soon, with both a new video, and a way for you to get involved inside “The Hollow Tree”

Stay tuned. ❤️ Cheers, Early Spirit

Jul 28 2021
C'mon, Cheat The Tide
Jay Knutson

What a lovely west coast way to ease through the door of “live” shows again. 
Thank you coasters for coming out and renewing acquaintances.
Both Gibsons and Sechelt were stellar shows.
Our new home away from home.
New shows coming up in Chilliwack, The TractorGrease Cafe and North Shore. Watch this space.

Jul 21 2021
Open up and say AH, that's more like it!
Jay Knutson

It felt so good to look out into real live people’s eyes, to see smiles not hidden, to have folks up and dancing. There’s was a collective rust shed from Festival gathering. A joyous relief, and a recognition that we won’t take that experience for granted again.

16 months of dust blown out the open door and back onto the long and dusty we are.

A big shout out to Trigger and Steve at The Off The Rail Brewery, for hosting our street “Pop up” show in Vancouver the day before the official opening at The Harrison Festival of the Arts! Thanks to Andy and crew and all of you who made it out to the Festival. A beautiful day it was in a lovely setting. 

Can’t wait to do it all again this weekend on The Sunshine Coast, July25 afternoon in Sechelt at The Summer Concert Series, and that evening in Gibsons.So hoist up the main sails and set the charts to the coast.

Stay well, happy and healthy and mind the smoke. Cheers

For info and tickets to Gibsons Saturday eve show go to 



Jul 6 2021
July 06, 21
Jay Knutson

What a week since the last post.
We've hit the ground running. Our little B.C. village of Lytton has burnt to the ground, our hearts are with the residents.
It's going to be another summer of unprecedented circumstances.
Hold our collective heads high and move forward, better days are indeed on the horizon.
So nice to be back with you in the Canoe.
So first question often asked is why CanoeSongs?
Clearly I'm not a big small boat sailing enthusiast. And I don't believe I have ever written a tune about a canoe.
The reason is this;
My last name is of Norwegian decent, I am 1/2 Norse and 1/2 English, Irish. But the name that remained on surface was Knutson.
It is pronounced (hard "K") Kah-noot-son. Like son of Knut, the Norse king of legend and myth. (And yes, I can command the seas to recede when necessary..)
That said I lived for about 10 years in Quebec where my name was unpronounceable. I got a heating bill once addressed to me Kent J Newsome.
So when introductions on stage would leave the poor MC gobsmacked, I used to explain, "Listen just think of the little boat 'The canoe', then add on "the sun"), and that's as close to it as I could hope for. It worked most of the time. and CanoeSon songs was born.
All very clever except no-one remembers or correlates the title to me.
So it's become an umbrella for projects, videos, recordings and long winded narratives.
Also under this umbrella, is The Swamp Devils and The Last Family, and probably a few more to come down the line including a link to my good friend "NetDud" and his on line adventures of "EvilDud", a graphic novel. https://evildud.com , please do check it out.
One last note for today, and that's the "Listen" button is for now, videos, and "Discography" contains songs from most all of my albums.
I'll get the various tour diaries up soon, including "The Ice Cube Chronicles" Season 1 and 2.
Hope it all works for you, and in this particular case feel free to tip the canoe, Or at least say hello now and again. Welcome aboard.

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