Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sarah Harmer's Lodestar popped up on my iPod, and since I happened to be at my computer I looked her up. I'm not sure where I came across the song, but I've loved it from the first time I heard it. It's from her 2000 album, "You Were Here", and Wikipedia reports that "You Were Here" is number 40 on Bob Mersereau's list of the top 100 Canadian albums. Well, who could resist such a list?

It does seem to me that Mr. Mersereau takes some liberties with the notion of what makes a side "Canadian"-- apparently it comes down to where the artist was born. Far be it from me to dispute either Neil Young or Joni Mitchell's Canadian-ness, but wouldn't you say that both are more SoCal? (To be sure, both Shakey and Joni have retained their Canadian citizenship-- I looked it up during the closing ceremonies.) That moves us to the 4 slot, where we find The Band. Sure, they were 4 to 1 Canadian, but Levon Helm is a son of the Ozarks, their themes are principally concerned with the American South (or Greil Marcus' "old, weird America") and they wrote and recorded in Woodstock, New York. (Actually West Saugerties, but nobody ever says "The West Saugerties Generation".)

That brings us to The Tragically Hip, indisputably Canadian; Alanis Morissette (all yours, Canada), The Arcade Fire; Rush and The Guess Who. (The Guess Who are grossly under-estimated in my estimation.) No argument from me there, and I'm certainly not going to quarrel with the bona fides of Blue Rodeo, Bryan Adams, Sloan or the Rheostatics either. (I don't know the Rheostatics, but they seem to keep pretty rarefied company, logging in at #19.) Daniel Lanois, sure. Gorden Lightfoot? You bet. Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies and Broken Social Scene too. I don't know what's supposed to be so Canadian about k.d. lang, but I'll certainly stipulate to Oscar Peterson, who is Canadian the way Mordecai Richler is. As Canadian as poutine, both of them; likewise Glenn Gould and the Cowboy Junkies. Ian & Sylvia deserve to be ranked higher; I didn't know Steppenwolf were Canadian, and I'm still not sure I believe it (John Kaye was born in Tilsit, although his family moved to Canada in 1958,); and where the hell are Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Heart, or the guy who does "Life is a Highway"? Since the list crosses genres, shouldn't Rob McConnell's Boss Brass be there? How about Holly Cole? Where's Diana Krall? Or Kim Mitchell? Why no love for Spirit of the West?

It's a pretty poor list if I can do better off the top of my head. But I do like Lodestar, and I guess I should pick up more Sarah Harmer.

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