A song written by a Barrie-based country artist has been selected by Canada's famous Snowbirds as the introduction song during their 2021 Summer Tour.
Singer-songwriter Brian John Harwood and his producer pal Dustin Bird, wrote Together We’re Strong last spring at the beginning of the pandemic and never could have predicted how popular it would get.
“I wanted to write a song to help people struggling through the hard times,” he told BarrieToday.
After it was done, he reached out to several musician friends including Jason McCoy, Jason Blaine and Aaron Pritchett, to see if they’d be interested in being involved.
“They all said 'yes' and wanted to be a part of it,” said Harwood.
The track includes approximately 18 different artists, and the video boats even more — from Tom Cochrane to Prairie Oyster.
“So many legendary people wanted to be a part of it,” he said, noting one of the artists on the song — Cory Marks — is friends with the Snowbirds aerobatic team and ended up sharing the song with them.
“They really loved it. Cpt. Jennifer Casey is the one that really loved it and wanted to be part of it. In the music video, it even shows her up in the jet bobbing her head to it,” he said.
Just before the song was due to be released, Casey, the public affairs officer for the Snowbirds, was killed after a small bird flew into the plane’s engine during an event in Kamloops, B.C.
After the crash, Harwood decided to honour Casey and her love for the song by making it more of a memorial song.
“Her family reached out and asked if they could play it at her funeral, and Cory told me that the military guys were saying it was the first new song played on the warship in Canada," he said.
While the song has grown in popularity since its release, Harwood admits he was still surprised when he received word last week that the Snowbirds wanted to use it as their opening song on their Canadian tour this summer.
“It was an honour to hear that,” he said.
The song title came about because he knew he wanted to be able to draw on a variety of different people from different bands and radio stations across the country.
“I wanted to have us all put everything aside and think about this as a whole," Harwood added. "In any situation, you’re much stronger as a team and I wanted to capture that in the song… and I think I did.”
The song, he acknowledged, fits perfectly with what the Snowbirds are all about.
“The Snowbirds are one of the most close-knit teams you can have really. One wrong move and it could be life changing,” he said.
While he plans to check out their show this year, it will definitely be strange hearing his song during the event.
“I am really honoured... and just grateful for the traction it’s gotten.”