We continue to celebrate Canada Day on Episode 332 of Folk Roots Radio. This special edition of the show is a bit of a travelogue as we start out in the east of the country and head west, but really it’s just another chance for me to share more of my favourite songs about the country I now call home. This episode features music from Great Lake Swimmers, Peter Katz And The Curious, Lennie Gallant, Bob Ardern, Ian Foster, Ashley Condon, Bill Colgate, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Connie Kaldor, Dave Gunning, Kevin Roy, Justin Rutledge and Glenn McFarlane. I hope you enjoy the mix. Happy Canada Day everyone! Check out the full playlist below.
We started out the hour with Tony Dekker and the Great Lake Swimmers with their song “Your Rocky Spine”, a song about hiking in the Canadian Rockies that displays a love interest that goes beyond just that for the gorgeous vistas that you can experience there. You can find it on their great 2007 album “Ongiara” (Nettwerk).
Peter Katz And The Curious‘ great version of Acadian Driftwood appears on the Garth Hudson Presents A Canadian Celebration Of The Band (2010, Sony Music) tribute album. The album features some classic Band numbers alongside some lesser known songs. According to Garth Hudon the songs chosen for the album represent some of his favourites from his time with the band.
“These songs were among the most enjoyable to me while The Band was together because of the words, or the story, or humour… an example of all three is the reading of “Clothes Line Saga” written by Bob Dylan and sung by Margo Timmins with Cowboy Junkies. Each of these songs stands on its own, yet they mystically sequence together as a string of jewels.”
Also appearing on the album are Danny Brooks & The Rockin’ Revelatory, Mary Margret O’Hara, The Sadies, Neil Young, Suzie McNeil, Cowboy Junkies, Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle, Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, The Road Hammers, Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk, Hawskley Workman, Great Big Sea, The Trews and Ian Thornily. Garth Hudson performs one song himself, and his signature keyboards appear on every one.
Lennie Gallant has put together a wonderful musical love letter to Prince Edward Island. “Searching for Abegweit: The Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant” (2015, Gallant Effort Productions) features Lennie Gallant songs wrapped up in tales from his life on the island. Abegweit is the name used by the Mi’kmaq First Nation to refer to Prince Edward Island, which roughly translates as ‘Cradle of the Waves’.
Ian Foster wrote “An Open Letter From The Island” in 2010. It’s a song he felt he had to write to talk about the pride and love he feels for his hometown St Johns and province Newfoundland. Its a great song and an important reminder of the need to reject ill-informed stereotypes that can develop about people from a certain place, but, in particular, in Ian’s case, as to how it applies to the caricature of the typical Newfoundlander.
Ashley Condon grew up on Prince Edward Island, and like Lennie Gallant loves island life. He song “Toronto” from her great 2013 album “This Great Compromise” (2013, Laker Music) is not about life in the big city at all but rather driving back home to PEI through the maritimes as the trees change colour in the fall.
“I often travel the highway stretch between Toronto and the Maritimes. This particular fall, the leaves were incredibly vibrant through New Brunswick and I had the sense that they were welcoming me back home.”
Bill Colgate‘s “I Don’t Know A Soul In Toronto Tonight” comes from his 2004 album “Waiting for Simon”. Singer and actor Bill has a great singing voice, and reminds me of Family’s Roger Chapman. Bill doesn’t play an instrument.
“I have too much respect for musicians to call what he does to a harmonica “playing an instrument”. Nevertheless, with his principal musical collaborator, Cam MacInnes, he has successfully developed techniques for getting what he hears in his head outta there.”
“Land Of The Living (Hamilton Ontario 2016)” comes from Blackie & The Rodeo Kings latest album “Kings and Kings”. The song, written by Tom Wilson (with help from Andrea Ramolo) is all about his hometown Hamilton Ontario. As “Kings and Kings” is a duet album, the song also features vocals from Jason Isbell.
When I first heard Connie Kaldor‘s latest album was called “Love Sask” (2014, Coyote Entertainment / Outside Music), I thought it was an album about her love of Saskatchewan. Well, it turns out that “Love” is a village in Saskatchewan, known for it’s unique name and postmark. And yes, Connie does love Saskatchewan, and “Love Sask” is a fine album.
Dave Gunning‘s “Living In Alberta” perfectly encapsulates the angst that people from the maritimes feel when they leave their home to head out to Alberta to work in the oil sands. Changes in the economy and awareness of climate change may have meant that not so many people are making that trip to find work, but the song is also a worthy reminder of what people are prepared to do, and have always done to support their loved ones.
“Calgary Skyline Blues” comes from Kevin Roy‘s first E.P. “Taller Than The Trees” (2014, Self). You can find a great interview with Kevin discussing his latest album “Heartworn Highways” (2016, self) on the website HERE.
I love the Justin Rutledge song “Sleeveless In Vancouver”… which is all about Vancouver, milder weather and lost love – I guess all three. You can find it on Justin’s 2004 album “No Never Alone” (Six Shooter Records).
I use a new song written by Glenn McFarlane to celebrate Canada Day,to wrap up this special edition of Folk Roots Radio. “Hey Canada!” is a fun and catchy song that’s all about being Canadian. The video is also worth checking out, and speaks to the wonderful feeling of community that exists around Canada’s national holiday. The song gave me a title for this episode too. Thanks for that, Glenn!
And that’s all we have time for, this time around. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have a lot of great music and interviews to bring you on future shows. I hope you’ll join us!
You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via iTunes, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)
Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises (Demo)
Roll Right (Pre-release, self)
Great Lake Swimmers
Your Rocky Spine
Ongiara (2007, Nettwerk) CDN
Peter Katz And The Curious
Garth Hudson Presents A Canadian Celebration Of The Band (2010, Sony Music) CDN
Searching for Abegweit (Live)
Searching for Abegweit (Live Recording) (2015, Gallant Effort Productions) CDN
Nova Scotia New Age Blues
Craftsman (2014, Self) CDN
An Open Letter From The Island
(single) (2010, Self) CDN
This Great Compromise (2013, Laker Music) CDN
I Don’t Know A Soul In Toronto Tonight
Waiting for Simon (2004, Self) CDN
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings
Land Of The Living (Hamilton Ontario 2016) (feat. Jason Isbell)
Kings And Kings (2017, File: Under Music) CDN
Love Sask (2014, Coyote Entertainment / Outside Music) CDN
Living In Alberta
No More Pennies (2012, Wee House Of Music) CDN
Calgary Skyline Blues
Taller Than The Trees (2014, Self) CDN
Sleeveless In Vancouver
No Never Alone (2004, Six Shooter Records) CDN
(single) (2017, Self) CDN