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.
You cannot beat Bruce in his many different incarnations – The last live CD was wonderful – off to see him in Edinburgh in September. As for your mystery canadian – bit of a sacriledge but I can take him or leave him – love the noisy feedback stuff tho.
This show was not just a reminder of some great Canadian artists, but also a wonderful précis of some of those who have visited Another Country. Annabelle Chvostek and Madison Violet remain personal favourites, as does Cowboy Junkies’ “The Trinity Sessions”, I didn’t previously know but now love the song “Magdalene Laundries”, plus the brief mentions of out country artists were very welcome too.
So, if I understood correctly then a long summer without Another Country stretches out before us before long. Can I chance a request in now for you to feature Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter on the show when you return?! That said, you may well be busy with your own tour at the time they are in town, but if it supports my case then I will endeavour to curry favour by noting that I am eschewing seeing them in London in October to see you with Deacon Blue at the Roundhouse on the very same night! That was one of those Murphy’s Law timings, but all is not lost – I’ll be off to Cambridge to see them the following night! That’s set to be one helluva week of live music for me.
From your Canadian cousin, it’s great to see Canadian music getting recognition across the pond, so to speak. Is Leonard Cohen too mainstream? Cause he’s worth a mention too!
On a different topic, loved the episode of Great British stories about Dundee, especially the family research. Really well done and interesting information on the ancestors! Great job!
Not exactly in the same vein of music here, but my favourite Canadian musicians are The Barenaked Ladies… amazing harmonies, eclectic styles and clever lyrics. Well worth a good listen, Ricky, particularly their album pieces, as the singles they are well known for are not their finest pieces. Thanks for reading! x