Since I'm doing a bad job at writing this blog, I have to dip into my #MapleLeafMarch candy bag. So, here you go.
Do you get the feeling that k-os wants to say a different word than "bucks"?
Well, that's not really his style. The Canadian rapper (born Kevin Brereton) would rather reference hockey pucks than swear. And his knowledge of self (k-os - get it?) has served him well over his long career.
So, enjoy Kevin's original sound (there's that k-os again).
Is it cheating if we do an entire month dedicated to a country and make 1/4 of it about one artist?
Well, Canada should be proud of Lights. This is a recent single and I couldn't not include it this month. The song is dark and cool and a clear potato chip reference (no indication that All Dressed was an alternate title).
So, anyway, I figured I'd end the month for real with one more Lights song.
I'm leaving this placeholder for the later acoustic version of this song. You know it's coming.
I've already talked about how packed last March was. Which is why I had to revisit it. I just had TOO MUCH material to ignore this.
I'm gonna have to do it next year, too. You heard it here first. We're way overbooked this year.
I have to say, I originally intended the song I posted on last Valentine's Day to be posted as part of #MapleLeafMarch. However, this song is better known - having spent two weeks at #1 in the US - and considered to be more iconic. The song won the 1991 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and the 1990 Juno Award for Single of the Year.
The verses bring a sultry blues feeling, with a more rocking chorus. The song itself being a tribute to Elvis Presley, it makes sense that it would straddle the line between blues and rock. It has become a Canadian classic.
This song has been in moderate rotation for me for about three months at this point.
I was today years old when I found out, accidentally, that Babygirl was Canadian. And by today years old, I mean a few weeks before you are seeing this - but IN MARCH. \I was absolutely going to post this song someday - it is legitimately one of my favorites. But I really had to do it this month when I found this out.
And, when I watched the video, I recognized a lot of places in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, a town that I can practically navigate blindfolded. No joke. Map in my head. Especially the flying saucer restaurant.
The song is a sweet ditty about missing someone who was, well, in my dream last night. I discovered it while doing a random Spotify playlist search while on an airplane where Spotify streaming was free. Why this song wasn't a bigger hit everywhere is a mystery to me.
Babygirl is a two piece, and they perform this song beautifully in its acoustic form.
Not everyone from Quebec sings in exclusively French.
Take 2014 La Voix runner up and 2022 Juno nominee Charlotte Cardin. From Montreal, she has sung songs in both English and French - and had hits outside of francophone Canada. This song, from her fabulous nominated debut album Phoenix, was one of those hits, and it crossed over to adult contemporary radio.
I just hope they were able to dry off the piano they used in this video.
In this live version for Virgin Radio, the lyrics are a little cleaner. It's also a little more stripped down, showcasing Cardin's huge voice.
Canada isn't that much different from the United States.
You know, they have country music, too.
This song, released in March 2021 and nominated for the 2022 Juno Award for Single of the Year, was a #1 Canadian Country hit and a top 50 POP hit. Lyrically, it's self-explanatory, but if you needed a sledgehammer, the video shows Kissel - from eastern Alberta, which is pretty much country - ditching an office job for life on the farm - and yes, that's his real family in the video.
American audiences are familiar with The Voice. The singing competition is quite popular.
Well, there's a francophone version of it in Quebec, called La Voix, and it has yielded a fairly significant number of artists. Singer-songwriter Jérôme Couture came in third on the first season of the song - and the field was so deep, even HE got a record deal with Dare To Care Records.
Born in L’Ancienne-Lorette and now residing in the greatest bastion of francophone Canada, Quebec City, he continues to make music as Jérôme 50. This is not a Feist cover. This is his song.
Thanks largely to the record label Bravo Musique, formerly Dare To Care Records, there has been a revival of French-language Canadian music in my Spotify playlists. Sure, it's dominated by œne artist, but it's by no means exclusive.
Literally translated as "You Will Never Die", it is about a lover who has, well, died. In the narrator's heart, though, that person will never die. It's a sad. beautiful song.
Lest you English speakers doubt me, Ms. Audet has provided a translation. You see, she is bilingual and sings in both French and English.
My intention was to do a whole French language week by Canadian artists. And, well, so far, kinda did that. It's just - well...
Alex Nevsky is an excellent artist in his own right. A singer-songwriter, he's built a great career with daring music that is beautifully written. This song - whose title literally translates as "Cast A Spell" - is a haunting, enchanting look at love.
Yes, they co-wrote this, but nothing I said in the last paragraph is untrue.
Ok, I just had to share this - it's footage of the two of them in the studio.... recording this. It's lovely to see this interaction.
Peter Peter is a French-Canadian pop-rock singer. He used to be in a band called Post Scriptum.
I can't really think of anything else to say about this song..... hmmmm. It'll come to me.
The song itself is a delightful pop song that will have you singing along. If you know French.
Peter Peter revisited the song in 2014 as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Quebec record label Audiogram (we've seen other celebrations of this before). This is a more stripped down, solo version, but it's still a delightful pop song.
Oh! Right! We forgot to mention the original is a duet. In this version of the video, which is the identical music to the first one, you can clearly see Cœur de Pirate. Can't believe that slipped my mind.
You know, we don't publish enough metal on this blog. So, why not remedy that with some Canadian metal by Spiritbox?
Formed in 2017 out of the ashes of Iwrestledabearonce (Husband and wife duo guitarist Mike Stringer and vocalist Courtney LaPlante were both replacement members of the Louisiana band) , Spiritbox, from British Columbia, make music that's kind of hard to define as simply metal.
The Canadian band is unusual in that their main fan base seems to be in the States. They've had some success on the US Hard Rock charts, none bigger than this 2021 single of theirs.
I promise I'm not doing a thing. It may LOOK like I'm doing the same thing I did last week. I am not.
Cœur de Pirate is not in this video because she left the band prior to.... this video. She's actually the keyboardist of record on the song. The keyboardist in this video is Karine Novelle, who replaced Ms. Martin in the band.
But Bonjour Brumaire wasn't about their keyboardist, who was not yet wielding the heart of a pirate. No, it is the lyrics and vocals of Youri Zaragoza, which are emotive and unusual, that really sell this song, which is yet another love song.
In Canada, they make relatively popular songs about them.
Jayli Wolf grew up thinking she was half-Mexican - but found out she was half First Nations at the age of eight and has reconnected with those roots as an adult. And, with this, her breakthrough single, she took First Nations issues head on, detailing for a broad audience the atrocity known as the Sixties Scoop, when a lot of native Canadians were removed from their communities by the Canadian government, with Catholic Church assistance.
For those who can't read the text at 3:13 fast enough:
"From the 1950s into the 1990s the Canadian Government & the Catholic Church were responsible for taking, or “scooping” more than 20,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and communities; known as The Sixties Scoop. They were placed in foster homes or adopted (accounts of children even being sold) into non-Indigenous families across Canada, the United States, & beyond.
Along with the loss of cultural identity, the government went so far as to change some children’s true ethnicity on file. Many experienced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.
How the hell can I do a Maple Leaf March without the Canadian treasure that was the Tragically Hip?
This may be their best known song in Canada. It is considered one of their greatest. Like almost every Hip song, it went nowhere in the States. In this case, it might be a good thing. Let me explain.
In the early 1990s, there were a series of antisemitic riots in Toronto, when members of the Neo-Nazi group the Heritage Front engaged in a street fight with a group calling themselves Anti-Racist Action. A lot of Americans would never associate such violent antisemitism with Canada - and yet, it really happened, and this was the second time (there were similar outbursts in 1933).
These riots didn't happen in Bobcaygeon - which was chosen just because it rhymed with "constellation" - but the video makes clear reference to them, and the themes of the song reference them so directly.
At any rate, Bobcaygeon relished the reference in the song, hosting a large viewing party for the Hip's farewell concert.
This was not Bobcaygeon. This was Kingston. But trust me - Bobcaygeon was watching.
That turned out to be the best thing I could have done for this month of Canadian music. You see, I didn't want this year to be a complete repeat of last year - I wanted new artists. And, so, as I told you a few days ago, I went hunting through the Juno nominees list.
Well, I wrote up the whole month of posts, and here I sit, reviewing my posts.
I had forgotten March 16th.
Not wanting to just have music from the last year, I decided to go back a year to the 2021 Juno nominees.
And right there, under the "Single of the Year" nominees, was none other than Nashville star and Stella sister Lennon Stella.
This was the nominated song. It's a pop gem from an artist I didn't expect to post this month. But how could I not?
The song also works in a more countrified acoustic version. Shot at Hutton Hotel in Nashville, it's a sublime performance.