Happy Birthday, Canada.
I couldn’t fall asleep last night and while I lay awake I started thinking of great Canadian musicians who have impacted the greater music world, or who have reached the ears of millions globally. There are so many! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ve made a splash.
Oscar Peterson, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Alanis Morisette, Sarah McLachlan, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Avril Levigne, Randy Bachman, the Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, k.d lang, Leonard Cohen, Barenaked Ladies, Celine Dion… the list goes on.
And then I got thinking about bands that have been huge at home but didn’t make it much beyond the 49th Parallel – most notably the Tragically Hip and Blue Rodeo. But let’s not forget the Northern Pikes, Crash Vegas, Wild Strawberries, the Arrogant Worms, Spirit of the West, the Skydiggers, Glass Tiger, 54-40. (I realise I’m betraying my age).
My current favourite Canadian musicians are the ones I have the privilege of working with day in and day out. My amazing Whistling Duck community, the Valley Winds Music Association, the local singer-songwriters who call the Bow Valley home. I’m being really honest here. While Anne Murray’s music may have reached the ears and hearts of millions of people and may have carried them through countless life experiences, it is the music makers “on the ground” that shape a community.
For better or for worse, with no apology, these folk are boldly giving what they’ve got. Now when I hear Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” or Joni Mitchell’s “Carey” or countless other songs, I think of a Guitar Mama who has played that song better. Maybe not in a technical sense (although sometimes that could be argued), but in a way that has reached my heart.
Thanks for the privilege. Happy Canada Day.
Shine on, my friends.