Hello Fans of Don Sawchuk & The Underdog Band!

Welcome to ‘BACKGROUNDER’ – Exploring Don Sawchuk’s Underdog Album Track-by-Track

This week we explore NO PLACE TO GO, a portrait of abject poverty and desperation from a raw colour palate of red-hot slide guitar and cold-blue harmonica.

Back Porch Blues – from Don Sawchuk’s album Underdog


In recognition of Black History Month I dedicate No Place To Go to the Black community among us that are so deserving of our appreciation for their tolerance of us non-Blacks, many of whom, for so many years, oppressed and marginalized them. Their forgiveness and acceptance to live in mutual harmony is an undeserved grace invaluable to all of us, Black, White or otherwise. Our communities are enriched by their presence and they have my full love and acceptance.

The seed for the song No Place To Go was collected during a long overdue trip back to my home town of Windsor, Ontario, the border-town just across the river from Detroit City, following the 2008 downturn in the economy that affected so many people in the area dependent on the struggling “Big Three Automakers,” especially the dense Black population in Detroit.

That seed of desperation got planted in my brain and as I drove home along Highway 401 it germinated into an idea for a ‘melodic riff’ that ran incessantly through my head which I eventually belted out at the top of my lungs, singing it all the way without stopping so I could still remember it by the time I made it home and had a chance to play it on my electric guitar and record it before it was lost, subject to my abysmal memory.

The recording of that iconic and identifiable melodic riff sat idle for a full year before I went back and dusted it off to finally pen the rest of the song and lyrics to the track No Place To Go. The original version of the song had a much more syncopated rhythm which became a favourite at all the open mics I was hosting at the time.

About this time I happened to receive a fully paid scholarship to participate in a season of The League of Rock (LOR). The LOR Founder, Terry Moshenberg, happened to be looking for a suitable original song that could be featured with LOR in an episode of Guitar Picks TV, so they decided to use my song No Place To Go and the episode was hosted by legendary front man and Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Kim Mitchell. The episode can be watched at the following link: Guitar Picks TV – League of Rock

No Place To Go is written about my home town, Windsor, ON. After a long absence, I returned to Windsor, a city that was once a thriving community, only to find derelict homes, dilapidated neighbourhoods and widespread unemployment and under-employment. I saw hopelessness and desperation throughout the impoverished area and then began to realize, it wasn’t just my community, but hundreds of communities, everywhere, with people having nowhere to turn and ‘No Place To Go.’ This we can change!”
Don Sawchuk

Listen here: No Place To Go – Don Sawchuk (Official Lyric Video)

It’s been 18 months since the man said “you don’t work here no more”
Lined up with my neighbours taking handouts for the poor
They closed my grocery tab at the local store
The sheriff’s coming by to change the locks on my door
Can’t you see I’ve got no place to go
What to do, this whole damn town is slow – this town is slow
I just can’t stand to watch my wife cryin’ no more
Tryin’ to feed this family has become a full time chore
She’s worried day and night, won’t stop pacing the floor
She hasn’t left me yet; now what’s she waiting for?
Can’t you see I’ve got no place to go
What to do, this whole damn town is slow
Got to find a way to make some dough – gotta’ make some dough
I’m a hard workin’ man
My life’s slippin’ through my hands
I’m forced to do what I can’t stand
Can’t you see I’ve got no place to go
What to do, this whole damn town is slow
Got to find a way to make some dough – gotta’ make some dough, yeah
There’s a man I know, he works for the local drug lord
He’s made me an offer; I can help him make a score
And sell it on the corner to punks and whores, No!
Desperation pains me to my core
Can’t you see I’ve got no place to go
What to do, this whole damn town is slow
Got to find a way to make some dough
Can’t you see I’ve got no place to go – got no place to go x4
Can’t you see I’ve got no place to go
Got no place to go
Bonus Content:
Sheet Music – for musicians to learn to play the song!
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Backgrounder – Listening & Feedback Sessions:

For 12 weeks, I’ll be posting a ‘BACKGROUNDER’ on each of the twelve songs from my current Underdog album so you can actually get an inside look into what each song is about.
You’ll have the opportunity to listen to the song, read the lyrics and watch the official video.
Plus, I’m posting the actual SHEET MUSIC, so YOU can learn to PLAY IT if you like!
In exchange, we hope you will give us your feedback and your inspirations about the song.
Please tell us what the song means to you, how the music or message touches or impacts you.
Hey, a song affects everyone differently – what’s your story? We all want to know.
If you’re a musician, feel free to post your own interpretive cover of the song! We’ll be happy to watch and share it.
I hope you will share with me, and all of us, just how the weekly song selection resonates with you.
YOU could win a Free Vinyl Copy of the Underdog Album just for commenting!
As a thank-you, I am going to put the name of everyone in this growing Fan Community who participates in the Backgrounder Listening & Feedback Sessions in a drum and pick 12 lucky names, one for each song on the album, and send a free physical copy of the Vinyl Underdog Album to each winner selected.
I hope you will respond and join us in this fun and interactive initiative.

Stay tuned for the next installment of ‘Backgrounder’ – exploring Don Sawchuk’s album Underdog.
Cheers, Donny. 🙂

Don Sawchuk
Building community one song at a time.

Remember, my music is available on all streaming platforms!

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