|Single by The Band|
|from the album Northern Lights-Southern Cross|
|Format||Single sleeve LP|
|The Band singles chronology|
"Acadian Driftwood" is a partly fictional portrayal of an episode in the troubled history of Acadia, the Great Upheaval. The song describes the forcible displacement of the Acadian people after war between the French and the English over what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and part of Maine.
On The Band's recording of the song, the lead vocal is traded on the verses between Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, and Rick Danko, with all three singers harmonizing on the choruses. Instrumentally, the recording is noted for its overdubbed fiddle playing by Byron Berline.
"Acadian Driftwood" was performed by The Band as part of their famous "Last Waltz" concert. The concert performance was omitted from the Martin Scorsese film of the concert and the original 1978 soundtrack, but was included in the 2002 box set soundtrack.
This song is covered by The Roches on the 2007 multi-artist tribute album, Endless Highway: The Music of The Band. Richard Shindell also covers the song on his album South of Delia. Zachary Richard and Celine Dion also covered the song as a duet to be included on Zachary's forthcoming album "Last Kiss" to be released on April 7 in Canada and April 21 in the USA.
Robertson took poetic license with the historical record. Deportations began not when "the war was over", in 1763 after the Treaty of Paris, but in 1755 after the English victory in the Battle of Fort Beauséjour (in present-day New Brunswick). "What went down on the Plains of Abraham" was the Battle of Quebec in 1759--the decisive battle of the war, but still years after the deportations.