Given that today is Canada Day, it seems particularly fitting to explore the musical tapestry of this great nation.  In that vein, I’ve gone from coast to coast to coast to… border to bring you some of the best music that this great nation has to offer.

West:

While technically now based in Toronto, my selection for the West is the fantastic Rural Alberta Advantage, whose music is drawn from their experiences growing up in Alberta.  “Frank, AB”, off of their amazing “Hometowns” album is a gorgeous, moving song about the Frank Slide, a landslide in the mining town of Frank, Alberta that killed 90 people in 1903.  The lyrics at the end of the song are absolutely beautiful and haunting.

And under the rubble of the mountain that tumbled
I’ll hold you forever
I’ll hold you forever

They’ll build up another on the bodies of our brothers
I’ll love you forever

[mp3] The Rural Alberta Advantage – Frank, AB

North:

My selection for the North is by members of the Record of the Week Club, which was more of a social experiment than a band.  In 2009, three different musicians were brought together each week for 16 weeks to collaborate on a song.  The catch?  The musicians didn’t know the identities of the other two musicians they would be working with, and the song had to be written, recorded and mixed in time to be available for a download the next morning.  Week 13 generated “Keewatin Arctic”, an absolutely beautiful song that captures the bleak majesty of Northern Canada.  It features the unlikely and unique combination of Nikki Komaksiutiksak (an Inuit throat singer), John K. Samson (front-man for The Weakerthans),  and Blunderspublik (electronic artist from Winnipeg).

[mp3] Record of the Week Club – Keewatin Arctic

East:

The East selection are Halifax indie-rockers Wintersleep.  They’ve recently released “New Inheritors”, their latest album, but are most well known for their single “Weighty Ghost” from the “Welcome to the Night Sky” album which has an instantly likeable folksy hook that just seems like it would fit so perfectly with the fun, friendly pubs of Halifax.

[mp3] Wintersleep – Weighty Ghost

South:

My “South” selection is the Toronto-based supergroup Broken Social Scene.  I was able to catch their recent show on Toronto Island in June and was pretty blown away, both by their older classics and by new tracks from their most recent effort “Forgiveness Rock Record”.  Prior to attending the show, I had admittedly found the new album lacking a bit, but it became clear that this music was meant to be heard live and not on an album.  One track which sounds absolutely fantastic both live and on the album is “World Sick”, an engrossing epic of a song which takes listeners from soft ambience to hard-driving crescendos and back again.

[mp3] Broken Social Scene – World Sick

That’s all for today – have a good Canada Day, and be sure to take the time to enjoy all that Canada has to offer, including fantastic musicians from coast to coast to coast.

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