Assembling a compilation disc that represents the depth and breadth of Roots music in Canada today may not be as gargantuan or momentous a task as building the cross-Canada railway or highway.
But Songs Of Canada 2010 the seventh compilation disc released by the non-profit Artists For A Better World, containing twelve tunes by singer-songwriters from across the nation, has the feel of scope, diversity, history and destiny that evokes this country’s soul.
Beginning with the earthy, rock-jangly paean “North Ontario” by Peter Verity and ending with Howard Gladstone’s hauntingly serene “Loon On The Lake”, the disc makes a very Canadian journey from Ontario to coast to coast and back, utilizing “That Train’s A Comin’” “The Bus Song” and ‘Summer Shoes On” to make the voyage, with stops for “Prairie Nights”, and “A Place For Me” while taking time to admire “The Trees” and enjoy the “Circle Of Song”, to note that “Yes It’s Cold In Winnipeg”, to wonder “How Many Are The Days” and to add a plea to “Forgive Us, We’re Canadian”. A lively trip indeed –with gifted companions such as Lynn Harrison, Tony Turner, Rosemary Phelan, Margot Roi, Scott Cook, Michael Jerome Browne, Little Miss Higgins, Poor Angus, Local Anxiety and Crabtree & Mills also along for the ride!
Utilizing a variety of styles that all arise from the unique amalgam that is Canadian Roots music of the past and present, these are songs that get sung by songwriters to their fellow artists in living rooms, kitchens and tiny clubs. But even more than the wellspring from which they’re drawn, these songs also point the way to what may be the next generation of “standards”. This collection contains seeds that could grow into signposts marking the way to Canada’s musical landscape of the future.