Gordie Take the Wheel

Written by Max MacDonald.

GordieCape Breton is justifiably well known for its traditional music players. We have many world class fiddlers, piano players & singers who perform internationally.

However, when I was writing my last blog about Buddy MacDonald, I was reminded of the depth of songwriting talent that this tiny beautiful island has produced as well. We seem to have an unusually high number of musicians for our population and the same can be said for songwriters.

These artists often tell our stories but write in such a way that their songs can relate to people everywhere. I think of Rita MacNeil’s inspiring, “Flying On Your Own” or Bruce Guthro’s, “Falling”.

Songs are like powerful little movies that touch some inner part of us. Sometimes it’s a melody we can’t get out of our head. Other times the lyrics tell a story that almost seems to be written specifically about us. These are gifts that songwriters share with us.

Gordie Sampson, from Big Pond, is another in a long line of terrific Cape Breton songwriters. Depending on where you’re from, you might know him as Frank & Flo’s boy, guitar player with the Band Realworld or the Grammy winning songwriter of the Carrie Underwood hit, “Jesus Take the Wheel”.

Gordie lives in Nashville for much of the year where he writes songs with and for American artists like Bon Jovi, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Martina MacBride, Trace Atkins and many more.

The cycle of songwriting slows in the summer months in Nashville because the artists are all out on the road singing the songs that folks like Gordie have written. This is perfect as it means that Gordie gets to spend his summers in Cape Breton where he pursues his own projects like the Gordie Sampson Songcamp. Here, he shares what he has been learning in Nashville with up and coming songwriters

Just as he is quietly helpful to many Canadian artists when they visit Nashville, Gordie’s Songcamp helps to ensure that we continue to turn out quality songwriters here. That’s just the way nice kids from Big Pond operate.