You may not have been expecting to watch Les Stroud rock a harmonica today, but that’s what you’re going to get, and I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. Stroud — famously known as Survivorman — has recorded a cover of Joni Mitchell’s classic “Big Yellow Taxi” that he has pared back and given a strong bluesy twang.
With that shining harmonica, an acoustic guitar trilling throughout, and the heavy thud of percussion that keeps the song feeling larger than life, the track plays with strength and softness. The video alternates between images that reflect the lyrics and a close up of Stroud looking straight into the camera, stoic and intense. There’s no heart missing from this track — the loss of the natural world to development is clearly something this Survivorman is alert to.
This isn’t Stroud’s first foray into musical environmentalism: his previous release “How Long” also lamented the environment being taken for granted. Having spent so much time in the wild, Stroud has seen and mourned this loss firsthand. Channelling that sadness into music is a strong choice; the passion here is clear.