Sunday, February 19, 2006


We've been having beautiful crisp cool sunny days the last few days here in Vancouver.
The kind of days that remind me of my time growing up in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or Kingston.
The warmth in the sun and low light feels as much like Fall as it does of impending Spring.
And the perfect soundtrack comes in the form of music I would describe as quintessential "Canadiana".
There is a "Canadian" sound and it traverses generations and even genres.

I had just recently put together a playlist of music that matched the day's ambience. Without a programmer's spectre of CanCon regulations, I realized after the fact that I had created a bureaucrats' dream of Canadian nuggets new & old.

What triggered the playlist?

I had my iPod on random while cleaning up the backyard and Kathleen Edwards' The Lone Wolf came on (from her first album, Failer). There is a loping, jangling quality that evokes some Gordon Lightfoot, The Band and The Skydiggers all at once. She has this way of stretching out each line that makes everything grand and cinematic while still feeling very personal. God, what a voice, all smoky and direct.

Some other cuts that found there way on the playlist included two tracks from the new Cash Brothers with The Skydiggers. Of course, those that know the back pages, these two bands are closely intertwined. Andy Maize of the 'Diggers has played in Andrew Cash's band and Peter Cash, he of the deep, resonant voice, used to be a 'Digger. So this new record, simply titled "Skydiggers Cash Brothers" is like a trip home. The opening track, 'I Know You Lie Awake' is part of that Canadian continuum, most definitely. Played with quiet, majestic tension (and jangly guitar picking) it's all about the voices. Peter anchors down the low end of the register while brother Andrew goes up a notch or two. Then, about two-thirds of the way through, Andy Maize comes on board introducing a new melody, much like the Diggers' classic 'I Will Give You Everything' where he introduced a new off-setting vocal melody, also about two thirds of the way through the song. The other track I chose from the "Skydiggers Cash Brother" record was the remake of Andrew Cash's 'Smile Me Down'. Originally on his 1988 'Time & Place' record. A very folky rendition, like the rest of this record, which works well to highlight the great vocalizing at work.

What better way to follow up the Diggers than Gordon Lightfoot's 'Sundown'. The production and performance still crackles. This record could have been first released this year and made sense. The song really does encapsulate the "Canadian" sound, one that combines folk, country, pop. Damn it makes me proud.

More on this playlist soon.



Blogger Jonh Neo said...

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4:45 PM


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