Berk Jodoin’s “Aces & 8’s” Asks Why We Chase Elusive Goals

Métis Roots music artist from Saskatchewan Berk Jodoin has shared “Aces & 8’s,” the first single from his new album Fly Away, slated for release in Spring 2024 via Meriläinen Müsic.

Some of the ideas on Jodoin’s mind when he wrote the track were:

Why do we do what we do? Why do we chase elusive goals? Why do we work ourselves to death just trying to live? It makes no difference, ‘cause we’re all gonna die. This is as honest as a song can get. We all have our own answers to those questions, but in the end it’s the same for everyone.

The title references Old West mythology where 8’s were the cards Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was fatally shot during a poker game, inspiring the moniker, “the dead man’s hand.” But for Jodoin, “Aces & 8’s” symbolizes the larger day-to-day struggles so many in Canadian society face as do other songs on the upcoming album.

After a promising hockey career was derailed by life-threatening alcoholism, Jodoin turned his life around in his early thirties with the help of a B.C. treatment centre. He then took up boxing, but after realizing that injuries were tempting him to return to his bad habits, Jodoin turned to music as his therapy, inspired by heroes like Steve Earle and Waylon Jennings.

Through his friends’ encouragement, Jodoin began recording his songs, and with the support of an SK Arts grant, released his self-titled debut album in 2020. Jodoin followed that up in 2022 with Half-Breed, which earned him a Saskatchewan Music Award as Indigenous Artist of the Year, along with a 2023 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year.

Now partnered with Toronto-based Meriläinen Müsic, Jodoin will release Fly Away, as “a pathway toward change.”

He adds:

All my songs are true. I basically just take stories and write them, as I did with songs I wrote for my grandfather, who was a Cree man. The story of him surviving residential schools is a true story that needs to be told. We all have a platform. I use mine to raise awareness of things, which will hopefully inspire people to take action.