One night Murray McLauchlan was piloting a twin-engine light aircraft known as a Piper Aztec when something magical happened.
“It was a full moon night and I was above clouds. The clouds were solid layers but they were forming like waves, kind of like the waves on the ocean,” McLauchlan said. “They were all lit by the moon with the stars above.”
McLauchlan, who was on his way to Winnipeg with four sleeping passengers, decided to turn off the lights on the airplane’s instrument panel.
“I turned off the panel lights in the airplane and just sat there,” McLauchlan said.
What the Juno Award winning singer heard next would be the highlight of his flying career.
“The vibrations and the noises from the airframe and the engine began to sound like thousands and thousands of people singing. All the harmonics just sounded like thousands of voices singing, like a huge choir,” McLauchlan said. “It was probably one of the most sublime moments I’ve ever had.”
Today, McLauchlan no longer flies, but he is still actively involved in his other career, music.
On Saturday (Oct. 17) McLauchlan will be performing at the Port Theatre.
“I will be doing a lot of songs that people will recognize from my repertoire that I have amassed over the years,” McLauchlan said.
McLauchlan was born in Scotland but moved to Canada at an early age. Originally interested in fine art, McLauchlan fell into a music career during the folk music revival that was taking place in the 60s.
“I really got blown away by this fusion of folk form and contemporary lyrics, or contemporary poetry that was emerging out of New York,” McLauchlan said.
By the time McLauchlan reached 19, he had written his “first real honest god” song called Child’s Song.
“It was an attempt to explain my situation and my nature to my father,” McLauchlan said. “Very soon after … it was covered by Tom Rush on his first album for Columbia Records and that was the first time that I had ever been taken seriously.”
McLauchlan’s music career has spanned more than four decades. He has released over 15 albums, won 11 Juno Awards and is an Order of Canada recipient.
In 2012, McLauchlan released his most recent album, Human Writes, to True North Records.
“It is quite different,” McLauchlan said. “It still sounds like me but conceptually I had a kind of different idea of when I put it together.”
McLauchlan says the lyrical content is unlike anything he’s done before.
“The songs are very odd … but I really really do like them a lot,” he said.
One the songs on the album, Start Again, explores the idea of alternate universes.
“It was really about the possible existences of alternate universes and if there was another you and another me if this world went poof and we all became extinct, would it all happen just again somewhere else?” McLauchlan said. “That was basically the point of the song.”
During the 1980s, McLauchlan was the star of a television show called Floating over Canada. The show featured McLaunchlan flying over Canada in a Cessna 185.
“To circumnavigate Canada in a float plane is something I wish everybody could do,” he said. “It is a spectacular way to see the country.”
McLauchlan performs at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $42.50. Call 250-754-8550.