“Survivorman” Les Stroud Teases Vinyl Re-Release With A Love Letter To His “Arctic Mistress”

Welcome to the tundra. Environmentalist/adventurer Les Stroud is once again singing the praises of his “Arctic Mistress,” a track from the forthcoming remastered and expanded vinyl edition of his 2019 album, Mother Earth.

An artifact of one of Stroud’s innumerable forays into the ancient wilderness, the seven-minute track begins with a lengthy throat-sung prelude influenced by the Inuit musicians of Canada’s Pond Inlet. That segues into a mesmerizing prog-pop number that exhorts us to “breathe the arctic air.” It’s a sentiment near and dear to the heart of Stroud, who has built up a sterling international reputation as an advocate for the natural world through his decades as a survival expert, filmmaker, composer, singer-songwriter and all-around champion of the wonders around us.

“I wanted to connect the listener to the arctic, to the land, to nature,” he says. The finished tune, co-conceived with Bryan Potvin of the Northern Pikes, is Stroud’s idea of “a love song to the arctic. I wanted to picture the arctic as a mistress, a lover. And so it became.”

That intimate relationship is cemented in the accompanying music video, which relies on some truly stunning time-lapse footage of an expedition to the frozen north. Then again, breathtaking travelogues are de rigueur for Stroud, a highly accomplished environmentalist/adventurer who created the “survival TV” genre with the hit program Survivorman. The footage from the “Arctic Mistress” video stems from an episode of his 2010 offshoot series, Beyond Survival.

Music has been a surprising but essential parallel career, in which the upcoming vinyl rerelease of Mother Earth is merely the latest chapter. Expanded from the original seven tracks to 10, the record was produced by the legendary Mike Clink, best known for his groundbreaking work with Guns N’ Roses. GNR’s Slash shows up on “One Giant Farm,” and virtuoso Steve Vai contributes to the title track—to name but two of the immensely talented musicians who have joined Stroud in his multimedia mission to preach respect and protection of the world’s precious resources.

The new edition of Mother Earth arrives June 14, gliding on the wind that’s been put in Stroud’s sails by some recent high-profile honors. His “Gypsy Soul” was nominated for Best Country/Bluegrass Song in the 2024 International Acoustic Music Awards; that followed his strong showing in the 2023 competition, in which “Arctic Mistress” had been a finalist for Best Song and Les Stroud and the Pikes, his collaborative project with Potvin’s Northern Pikes, reached the finals for Best Group/Duo. The same year, the Canadian Screen Awards nominated Stroud in the categories of Best Direction, Lifestyle or Information and Best Original Music, Factual, Lifestyle, Reality, or Entertainment (with partners Kevin Kossowan and David Bateman).

Stroud promises that “hundreds of pieces of music” are coming in the next few years, swelling his already mighty repertoire of rock, world, prog, folk, blues and balladry. With plans that ambitious, he’s clearly well on the way to becoming a natural resource himself.