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Music Heals Veterans with Carl Dixon

By Celina Ip

Carl Dixon - formerly of April Wine, Coney Hatch and The Guess Who - will be leading a Music Heals Veterans songwriting workshop in Pembroke on Feb. 17.

Carl Dixon - formerly of April Wine, Coney Hatch and The Guess Who - will be leading a Music Heals Veterans songwriting workshop in Pembroke on Feb. 17.

“Where words fail, music speaks.”


These often quoted words, by author Hans Christian Anderson, beautifully capture the mission of Music Heals Veterans Canada.

Based in Petawawa and led by local veteran Chris Blackstock, the non-profit group organizes free music programs and workshops for veterans, first responders and medical professionals to help them cope with visible and invisible injuries that they received during the course of their duties.

On Feb. 17, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Music Heals Veterans will be hosting a unique songwriting workshop at Zion Lutheran Church (454 Miller St., Pembroke) that will be conducted by renowned Canadian musician Carl Dixon.

A former member of Coney Hatch, The Guess Who and April Wine, Dixon said he’s more than eager to engage the 20 particiapnts in a workshop that will teach them about the healing power of music.

“I’m quite tickled and honoured that they want me to help these people they are all peoplle who've gotten themselves in harm's way in one way or another and suffered some mental trauma

“The only reason I’m alive today is because first responders gave me absolutely the very best they had to get me out of a terrible car accident, so I am forever grateful to those people who performed that role and I am happy to do what I can to give something back to them,” said Dixon.

With Dixon leading the workshop, participants will learn key techniques about songwriting and various methods and philosophies that they can follow.

“The idea about this weekend's event is to help veterans and other first responders to deal with trauma that they’ve experienced and to try and find an outlet for it through music and through song-writing,” said Dixon. “Often we can't find the words to express in conversation what's bugging us or what's hurting us, so the best way to release these feelings is through a creative outlet like songwriting.”

Later that night, around 7 p.m., participants and other members of the community are encouraged to attend the Music Heals Veterans fundraiser at the Pig and Pint (601 Pembroke St. East).

The feature artist will be Carl Dixon himself, who will be stepping onstage to entertain the crowd with songs from his latest album – Whole ‘Nother Thing.

Well known for his rock ‘n’ roll style, Dixon said his enjoying his new musical direction in the realm of country music.

“Whole ‘Nother Thing is a country album and I’m really enjoying the new sound and direction I’m taking,” said Dixon. “Country music enables me to express more story telling and more thoughts in a way that people will be able to hear with this musical presentation. It's certainly not hard and heavy rock at all, it's got a much more approachable and softer sound.”

Among his new songs is his latest single ‘Line Drive’, that Dixon says is “maybe the best song I’ve ever written.”

“It's about being kind to yourself and when you have a hard day to recognize that you’ve done the very best you can and that's got to be good enough,” said Dixon. “As you go to sleep each night, give yourself that feeling of solace and a pat on the back and recognize that each day we all accomplish as much as we possibly can.”

Along with Dixon, the solid lineup will bring together a slew of Ottawa Valley musicians including JJ Staley Music, Derek and Monica from The Vaneglory Farm, The Rowdy Yates Band, Morgan Weeks Musician and more.

Tickets for the Music Heals Veterans fundraiser are $10 apiece and can be purchased at the Pig and Pint or by contacting


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