Democracy

The artistry of the Canadian poet, songwriter, singer and novelist Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) has been, I think, among the most significant gifts to the world that have come from my country. In 2008 in London, England, at age 73, Cohen was on a tour believed to have been necessary because his former manager bilked aContinue reading “Democracy”

Wake Up

It’s been a while since I posted something by the Canadian indie-rock band Arcade Fire. This afternoon, I went down an Internet rabbit hole, scouting out some songs I’d thought of or captured on the Shazam app recently. And as I surfed, my searches for other songs and artists and YouTube’s algorithms brought me toContinue reading “Wake Up”

Limelight

Formed in 1968, Rush has to be one of Canada’s most extraordinary rock acts. And clearly, institutions agree. In 1996, band members Geddy Lee (vocals, bass, keyboards, composer), Alex Lifeson (guitars, composer) and Neil Peart (1952-2020; drums, percussion, lyricist), were named as Officers of the Order of Canada, the Canadian government’s highest distinction for aContinue reading “Limelight”

Helpless

Ever feel helpless? It doesn’t happen to me often, but it can be tough to get through when it does. Occasionally over the past ten months, I’ve felt low. Like you, I know the pandemic isn’t going to be forever, and I really hope that we’ll be able to be with family and friends andContinue reading “Helpless”

The Birds

Maybe you’ve been a follower of this blog for a while. In that case, you’ll know I take a lot of inspiration and acquire much of my new music from the recommendations of Guy Garvey, the lead singer of Elbow during his weekly program, Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour on BBC 6 Music, on Sundays (2:00Continue reading “The Birds”

Bluetonic

Well, hello there, Fri-Yay! It’s time to bring up the tempo a little from yesterday’s ambient piece since it’s the weekend for many of you (and a long Thanksgiving weekend for those of you south of the Canada/USA border). So, let’s go! This morning, I listened to Sean Keaveny’s early Friday afternoon (in the UK)Continue reading “Bluetonic”

Round and Round

Happy Friday! It feels like the weather has suddenly changed. When I set off on my bike this morning, it was just 7°C (44°F). It stayed on the cold side through the ride, so I was wearing some extra clothing to keep warm. It felt good to be moving after a few days off theContinue reading “Round and Round”

We Used to Wait

It’s time for another selection from The Suburbs by Arcade Fire. “We Used to Wait” is the 13th track on the album. The song continues the theme of waiting that comes in on “Suburban War,” and I interpret this as similar to the often painful waiting that goes on in any conflict. At the WinnipegContinue reading “We Used to Wait”

Ready to Start

Today, we are continuing with Arcade Fire’s album, The Suburbs. (By the way, we won’t get to all the tracks, as there are 16 songs on the album!) The second song on the album is “Ready to Start.” It was, rather appropriately, the song their The Suburbs concert began with. It’s a great opening songContinue reading “Ready to Start”

Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971, II: Andante

Years ago, soon after her 1985 debut, I saw Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Centennial Concert Hall. Her playing was divine. I don’t remember which pieces were on the concert playbill, but I do recall being mesmerized by the graceful movement as her hands moved over the keyboard. It’sContinue reading “Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971, II: Andante”

Deadwood, South Dakota

Today in the car, Nanci Griffith’s rendition of the song “Deadwood, South Dakota” came on autoplay.  I’ve posted Griffith’s songs twice before: “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness,” and “Late Night Grande Hotel,” and the latter is one of the selections on Sweety’s and my wedding CD. In these posts, I talk about Griffith’s longContinue reading “Deadwood, South Dakota”

In My Place

Sweety and I were married on a Saturday; it was July 25, 2009. It wasn’t quite as hot as today will be. It was a perfect, non-humid 25°C (77°F).  We had a small wedding, which was initially going to be at the home of friends. As the date drew nearer, Sweety’s mom was having challengesContinue reading “In My Place”

Black Water Falls

I first heard the Philadelphia band The War on Drugs on CBC late-night radio in around 2017, and bought the album A Deeper Understanding, released that year. Since then, I’ve also heard them on KEXP Seattle and purchased one song from an earlier issue, Lost in the Dream (2014). The singer, Adam Granduciel, who foundedContinue reading “Black Water Falls”

Dreamboat Annie

The Seattle-based band Heart formed in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1975 that they started to gain commercial success. Their 1975 record Dreamboat Annie was a staple at parties I attended as a high school student, and I followed them for their next three albums, Magazine (1977) Little Queen (also 1977), and Dog and ButterflyContinue reading “Dreamboat Annie”

Flume

In my February 14, 2020 post on Elbow’s “Mirrorball,” I told you of Peter Gabriel’s album recorded with a full orchestra, where he made cover versions of other artists’ songs.  Many of the tracks on Scratch My Back are melodically very beautiful and the cover of Bon Iver’s composition, “Flume,” is particularly so. It seemsContinue reading “Flume”

Jubilee Street

(Warning: video contains a cuss word.) It’s been less than two years since I got onto Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds; whoa, what was I missing! I have some of his music but have to admit I don’t like all of it. I’m not partial to his murder ballads, but there are songs IContinue reading “Jubilee Street”

Moonage Daydream

As I’ve mentioned before (in my post on January 17, 2020, for example), David Bowie was a regular guest on the record player in my parents’ home, after a brother discovered his music. We listened to his early stuff, and I saw him in concert in both Liverpool, UK and again about ten years laterContinue reading “Moonage Daydream”

Speed of the Sound of Loneliness

One night around 20 years ago, after I came home late from work, my sweety greeted me, saying, “Come here… you’d GOT to hear this song!” She’d videotaped a musical performance on a late-night TV talk show and it would the first time I would ever hear Nanci Griffith. The memory is a bit foggy,Continue reading “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”

Touched by the Sun

The haul of CDs I scored from Columbia House (please see my February 4, 2020 post on “Jimmy Mo Mhíle Stór”), many ye ars ago, included Carly Simon’s Letters Never Sent. I remember Simon’s early hit, “Anticipation”(1971), which was used by Heinz for a commercial demonstrating how slowly their ketchup poured because it was soContinue reading “Touched by the Sun”

Everything_Now (continued) / Everything Now

One of our boys introduced me to Arcade Fire when, on a visit here, he bought their first full-length album, Funeral, not long after it was released, and played it at our home. (They named the album in recognition of the fact several band members had deaths in their families around the time it wasContinue reading “Everything_Now (continued) / Everything Now”

Chasing Cars

The night before my marriage to Sweety in July 2009, I was listening to songs over the computer speakers. I was listening to music I thought would nudge my inspiration to write the words she’d read in a card the afternoon before our ceremony: what I was feeling about our life together going into theContinue reading “Chasing Cars”

Don’t Delete the Kisses

Whenever sweety and I have gone to the United Kingdom, part of my routine has been to scout out plays, musicals and concerts in London. We’ve been lucky to see some pretty terrific performances over the years. On our last trip there three years ago, I noticed that the North London foursome Wolf Alice wasContinue reading “Don’t Delete the Kisses”

The Law and the Lonesome

I first met up with and heard Canadian troubadour and national treasure Corin Raymond when one of our sons (Kieran West and His Buffalo Band; watch for them and other KW music projects on these pages) opened for Raymond in February 2015 at Winnipeg, Canada’s best honky-tonk, the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club onContinue reading “The Law and the Lonesome”

Under the Ivy

The B-side on Kate Bush’s 12-inch single of Running Up That Hill (1985) was “Under the Ivy.” That record and a number of her other albums on vinyl, CD and digital are in my collection. She’s always intrigued me with her unique and beautiful voice, and her magical performances on the many official videos producedContinue reading “Under the Ivy”

A Taste of Honey

In addition to its healing and mood-lifting qualities (for more on that, please see January 15, 2020 post on Ben Wytinck’s “’Bel”), music has a tremendously powerful way of evoking memories for me. While down another internet rabbit hole recently, I came across a song by Burt Bacharach… the composer, producer and performer was behindContinue reading “A Taste of Honey”

Come Talk to Me

Peter Gabriel was what I guess I’d call a “musical acquaintance” through my teen years; I didn’t have any of his records early on, but one of my friends was a big Genesis fan and had continued on with collecting Gabriel’s solo works. So while not a collector, I enjoyed the music.  But the 1992Continue reading “Come Talk to Me”