Braden Lam reveals another side of his introspective, personal songwriting with the single Forest Fires, a millennial call to action in the ongoing global fight against climate change.
The fires of the title are no metaphor. In 2019, while working on a campaign to stop oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he attended the biennial Haa Kusteeyi celebration on the lands of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Mere kilometres away, forests burned in a record season of them. The irony of celebrating an earth concurrently being destroyed was not lost on the songwriter and climate activist. He’s named his new album Inside Four Walls (out October 2nd), and those walls include the hall that housed the Haa Kusteeyi event, where the water keepers and land tenders toasted their ancestors while surely knowing of what awaited them outside.
The most dynamic and dramatic of the album’s six tracks, Forest Fires begins plaintively, nearly hopelessly, on acoustic guitar until Lam sings “they watch our cities burn until there’s nothing to do with the rest.” And then he gets angry. He keeps returning to the same question: “We’re the generation Y/why are we left with this mess?” He’s posing the challenge to governments and corporations that are not listening—at their own peril, to the detriment and disadvantage of their own children.
With Forest Fires, Lam ascends to the top of the Canadian singer-songwriter cohort on the strength of his convictions, a keen eye turned toward current events, and a deeply empathetic distillation of the world he has been handed. The new album is music for driving and singing along to, for late night heart-to-hearts and Sunday morning papers, for growing up and letting go. It’s bearing witness to the death of your old self, and accepting and celebrating the person you have become.