One summer evening many years ago I was in flat in Edinburgh at festival time. I encountered a young man from Canada and started to talk about the little I knew of Canadian music. (This was around the mid to late seventies remember)……Who, did he think, really spoke with a Canadian voice that I should be listening to? Bruce Cockburn, he told me……Before I could say ‘who?’ he was quietly reciting to me….
Rain rings trash can bells /And what do you know / My alley becomes a cathedral..
It would be some months or longer before I was able to find a Bruce Cockburn record. (this was the seventies remember) I eventually tracked down Sunwheel Dance in Groucho’s in Perth Road, Dundee and my life started to take an interesting direction. What fascinated me then was the label: True North Records. I suppose it tickled my imagination that up in North America there was something going on which we hadn’t fully caught up with.
Every year around the end of June, Richard Murdoch and I have thought of doing something for Canada Day. This year we have finally got round to it and – you never know – it might become a fixture if we’re all spared. What propelled it this year was the amount of music and visits we’ve had from great Canadian artists. We’ve been raving about Lindi Ortega, Madison Violet and The Deep Dark Woods this year and last year we enjoyed the company of Anabelle Chvostek and Frazey Ford…that’s before we even start to think about the great music we’ve enjoyed for decades from Canada. Judging by your comments on the Facebook it sounds as if Canadian music has made its mark with you too.
Here’s a picture of my favourite Canadian in 1957……I’m sure you’ll recognise him, but if you don’t I can tell you now he’ll be the first artist on the playlist this week.
So this Friday we will celebrate Canada day early and fully by playing two hours of music written, recorded or performed by Canadians. You’ll hear artists you have probably never known were from the country and you’ll hear others who would be among the greatest of All North Americans…(North or South of The Border.) You’ll also hear one or two moments of genius which will make you realise that away from Leonard, Neil, Joni and Bruce, Canada has some amazing new music coming through which we need to get to know better. (this is not the seventies remember)
So for two hours this Friday we will be in the True North…….it all starts from five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland.