I truly have to give my parents the credit for the ‘Alaska: the Last Frontier’ Discovery tv show theme song my daughter Jewel and I co-wrote. Here’s why — they thought out-of-the-box, which has taught me to do the same. If I needed something they made it. Growing up this way your imprinted deeply with the belief and conviction that if it can be done, you can do it. If someone else can do it, so can you. If it has never been done, but it needs to be done, you can figure out a way to do it for the first time. If there is no trail between here and there, and you need to get there, well, you build a trail.
We get a reality show. I think of other shows I’ve seen that have cool theme songs and theme music, You know like Bonanza. So I figure,” well hellfire, how hard can this here writin’ me a little ole’ theme song be? Shoot, saddle a pig and ride me home, I’ll just whip one out my own self!” And I did.
Now I may not have been the most musical and talented note in the family musical folder back on the homestead, but I was was smart enough to rough something in and then take it down to my daughter and have her help me polish it up.
The coolest part of this whole process, was skiing down that snow-covered south facing slope, that I still see so clearly, when most of the lyrics to the song hit me. Another coolest part was being on a conference call between my daughter and the producers of the recording. I forget who now, I think it was Jewel who said, “I’m sort of hearing, Bob Dylan meets Johnny Cash, and big Hoss Cartwright, and they go riding off into the sunset on Bonanza.”
I know I know, you’ll never listen to this theme song again without thinking just a little bit about bonanza.
Getting a table full of discovery channel executives to agree to have, for the first time, a cast member write a theme song and actually use it on the show, was no easy sell. I would like to think it was the great song that sold itself. But I sort of suspect, that my daughters beautiful voice on the demo might’ve had just a little something to do with it.
Seven years later and they haven’t cut it yet. A little side note here that none of you will appreciate or even understand unless you are a songwriter who has dreamt all of your life of earning money with your songs. I have earned money selling CDs. I have earned money performing. My songs have been in movies and commercials. But there ain’t nothing like getting a royalty check in the mail once in a while from ASCAP. Sort of like the official big stamp of approval. Sort of like seeing that blue, USDA stamp on a piece of beef. Sort of like the ultimate authority finally saying,”Son, you have arrived!”
We left the barn this morning headed out on an exciting horse ride and journey through music and creativity. Time to put ‘er back in the barn, back where we started, back to thanking my mom and dad for showing me how to blaze a trail where there aint none, and for the belief that no matter how hard, I can get ‘er done.
Think about it! Where ever I go in the world where Discovery Channel is being seen, and our show is being watched, people will recognize and perk up their ears when they hear:
Sometimes there’s blood, sweat and tears on Alaska the last frontier
Life’s simple Life is good when you’re living like you should, Hey hey
Sometimes it struggle strife, fathers sons brothers wives
But we’re making our way and yes we’ll stay right here
On the the Alaska the last frontier
Pioneer vision settled in this land
Mom and papa taught us, you need to understand
The meek won’t endure nor the week of the heart
This land will make you strong or break you apart
It’s Green and blue and clean and white
Where the winda and the wild wolves sing to you would night
It’s not the gold nor the oil that we hold dear
Born to be wild and free here on the last frontier
It gets old after years in the cold and the dark
But the youth will lead us with the truth and a spark
we’re the last of a breed of our past pioneers
And if you listen close their voices you will hear
We’re the daughters and sons in the land of the midnight sun right here on Alaska last frontier