SURREY — In a crowd-funding effort that was pure Canadiana, Corin Raymond found a way to make a double album he called “Paper Nickels.”
The musician collected exactly $7,333.75 in Canadian Tire money that was accepted – at par with the real Canuck buck – by a Toronto-area recording engineer.
Following an appeal that generated international news stories, the retail chain’s currency was donated to him by people from across Canada, often with accompanying artwork and their own stories.
“The whole thing was a perfect storm of hilarious circumstances that was almost impossible to sum up,” Raymond recalled. “It was just one of those stories that got talked about a lot, I got asked about it a lot, it was in the news a lot, I even made the front page of the ‘Wall Street Journal.’ It got out of hand, it was really crazy, and it was just a story that needed to be told.”
The Hamilton-based troubadour recounts the tale in a one-man show he wrote called “The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper,” which plays Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre on Friday, Nov. 18.
The scripted show, first performed last year at Fringe festivals across Canada, will be followed by a performance by Raymond and his backing band.
“This tour coming up (in B.C. and Alberta) will be the first time I’ll have done the show since last year,” he told the Now.
“It’s really cool to be able to bring it back to the stage.”
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Four years ago, Raymond was just about to record the album’s 20 songs – four of his own compositions and 16 covers – when the whole Canadian Tire money thing happened.
“It was totally appropriate for the project, it became this whole beast that had a life of its own,” he said. “Even telling the story now, it just can’t keep up with what’s still happening. The story is still evolving and unfolding.”
Wherever he goes, people still give Raymond some “Tire money,” and it’s put to good use.
“When the album came out, I owed a lot of people money and I’m still paying off the royalties on that,” he explained. “It was Scott Cook, the Edmonton songwriter – I covered his song ‘The Lord Giveth (And The Landlord Taketh Away)’ – and he was the one who first said to me, ‘Hey man I know people keep giving you the Tire money, and I could use it to gas up, you know, so you can pay me what you owe me in Tire money,’ and then others started to say that. And now, it’s to the point where I think I’ve paid out over $1,800 in royalties with Tire money.”
Quite appropriately, the “Globe & Mail” dubbed Raymond’s most newsworthy work “a live album that couldn’t be more ‘Made in Canada’ if it was scented with maple syrup, shipped by beavers and came with thimbles of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ blood.”
Since the release of “Paper Nickles” in 2013, Raymond recorded “Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams,” an album produced by Canadian guitarist/songwriter David Gillis.
Asked if he shops at Canadian Tire, Raymond balked.
“No, I don’t, and actually haven’t at all, really,” he admitted. “James Paul, who engineered the album, he shops there, and he still has some left of the $7,333. And the songwriters I paid out have been shopping there. But I don’t really go to Canadian Tire, no. It’s not really my thing.”
At Surrey Arts Centre on Nov. 18, show time is 8 p.m. for “The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper.” Tickets range from $25 to $40 via the box office, Tickets.Surrey.ca or 604-501-5566.