My Top Ten Canadian Singles

August 20, 2012

Well, the Vinyl Cafe had a show on this weekend where the host, Stuart McLean, picked his top ten Canadian singles. Turns out it was a summer repeat and has already been covered in the blogosphere, but I was inspired to choose my favorite ten songs from Canadian artists too. (I didn’t limit myself to radio singles, as it’s been a while since that’s been relevant for me in terms of music I enjoy.) I graded high for songs that were co-written by Canadians, and included a slight bias against the Canadian songs I already talked about in my ‘Top 10 songs’ blogfest entry, which knocked all of them out of the running and brought up other great music, often by the same artists. (Many of the artists appear in my ‘Desert Island Discs’ playlist.)

And here we go!

1. When I think about first getting interested in truly Canadian music, Lisa Brokop immediately comes to mind. I loved music when I was young, but whether it was church music, borrowed pop, or Christian rock, Canadian content didn’t figure for me. But when I started my country phase in the winter of 1995, shortly before heading off to University, I was getting my fix from the New Country Network video channel on cable, (which later became CMT Canada,) and then local radio stations like CISS-FM in Toronto and CHAM AM in Hamilton. And I really loved the sound of some of the singers from north of the border, like Lisa. ‘Take That’ was one of the first videos that I loved so much that I recorded it onto a VHS tape so I could enjoy it over and over again.

There’s a story that I heard years later that I really love, that Lisa was on tour opening for a big-name band, (Little Texas?) around that time, and didn’t even realize that one of her own songs was hitting it big on the radio until the day that she started ‘Take That’ at a show and realized, to her amazement, that the crowd was singing the first verse along with her. 🙂

But I’m not putting ‘Take That’ on the list, partly because it was written by a couple of American Nashville songwriters. Instead, I’m going to name a song that I really love because it makes me think about writing and Nanowrimo and all of that cool stuff whenever I listen to it: “Write a Book About Me.” It’s off the album “Hey, do you know me” and was written by Lisa Brokop and Kim McLean.

2. “No Change in me”, sung by the Ennis Sisters, written by Murray McLauchlan and Ron Hynes. This is a bit of a two-fer, because I had to get the Ennis Sisters into this list. Murray’s version of the song is also amazing, but the only cut I could find on youtube is this slideshow with rather rough, half-spoken vocals by Ron. But I’ll get back to Ron Hynes later in this list.

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Blogfest – top ten songs.

January 24, 2011

Blogosphere Index

Well, if I’m looking for somebody to feature on Blogosphere Monday, and I see a fun-sounding Blogfest scheduled for the right day… I’m gonna do the blogfest. That’s just kind of an obvious one by now. Even if it keeps me up until past my bedtime, sigh.

So, from Captain Ninja Alex – the Top Ten Songs Blogfest!

Now, trying to pick my top ten favorite songs at the moment, or of all time, is one of those impossible tasks, so I’m going to instead go for picking ten great songs where I can actually tell a little story about why I like them so much. Be warned, my taste in music does does skew a little to the right – as in the Country music, but I’m trying to not load the list too badly in that direction.

10. I never really knew what music to connect with the name ‘Billy Joel’ (aside from “Uptown Girl,” which seemed catchy but shallow,) until I caught myself humming “The Longest Time” after it had been playing at a Hamilton write-in and made a memo to look it up. From the Billy Joel Essential collection on Itunes, I found “The Downeaster Alexa.”

Again, the celtic melody and harmonies draw me into this number, but it’s the lyrics, and the story that they tell, that really make me love the song – the vivid way in which it portrays a fisherman’s life, and the stoic resolve with which the protagonist clings to what might be a vanishing trade.

“Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis / And I still have my hands on the wheel.”

“I was a bayman, like my father was before / Can’t make a living as a bayman anymore.”

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