Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Canadian Songs Playlist for #Canada150

I haven't posted anything in forever and so to potentially ease my way back into writing more I have decided to do my patriotic duty and create my own Canada150 playlist. But not a typical Canada 150 playlist of favorite songs or a pointed commentary on Canadian art. No this is a personal list of favorite Canadian musicians and their most impactful songs on me.  Not even my favorites, just songs and moments related to songs that have stuck with me. They are presented in chronological order from when they were written and I have given myself a strict rule of only one song per band - with one notable exception, my rules, I can bend them if I want.

For those that don't want to click on individual links you can go straight to the youtube playlist here and listen along while reading.

Suzanne - Leonard Cohen

A dream like song that always transports me to "her place along the river". In my youth I secretly wanted a woman to feed me tea and oranges, I still kind of do.

For Loving Me + Did She Mention My Name - Gordon Lightfoot

Not my favorite Gordon Lightfoot song, that honor goes to Sundown or Summerside of Life depending on my mood. This song however, is the only song in my life I ever heard my father sing along to.

Growing up I spent many summers fishing on the family boat with my mother, father and any combination of siblings. Our family boat was somewhat of an anomaly to me growing up. It was uncharacteristically deluxe with a big inboard motor, adjustable orange leather/plastic seats and a tape deck. An actual tape deck in a boat! How sweet was that. None of our cars had a cassette player but our boat did. Of course we had only 2 or 3 tapes consisting mostly of songs taped off the radio and  a very special bootleg of my brother Geoff singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips. One fateful night while jigging for pickerel Dad actually sang along a little bit to Did She Mention My Name. It was faint, but in the still of Greenwater Lake I heard it. He had a nice voice.

Plus - check out Gord looking like a Troubador Jesus above. What a stud.

The Weight - The Band

All time classic. My favorite version of this song is the one above that was a studio rendition to complement the live recordings of The Last Waltz. The Last Waltz is of course the greatest concert film of all time. When I wake up early on weekends with my daughter I sometime pop in the DVD and it forms the soundtrack of our morning. Mavis Staple in the last second of the video sums it all up with a breathless "beautiful". Check out Mavis reminiscing on it all years later.

Helpless - Neil Young

The Last Waltz gets me again as does the line "In my mind I still need a place to go".

Log Rollers Waltz - National Film Board

Pure nostalgia. I must have seen this a 100 times or more while watching CBC on Saturday mornings I can practically feel the weight of Mom's jean jacket quilts around my shoulders when listening to this.

 One Night Love Affair - Bryan Adams

A guilty screw that...a good rock pop song. For some reason the local Classic Rock station KRock 97.3  plays it a lot and it's not uncommon for me to hear this a couple of times a week...which is weird right? But then I started listening to lyrics and thinking about the song on my commutes. First off Bryan Adams knows how to craft a catchy song. Secondly, he does a great job of making a slutty one nighter sound not so slutty by calling it a 'love affair'. Third, unrequited love, or in this case requited then longed for again is a much better story than a traditional found and kept love story.  Seriously though, it is best played at higher volumes.

The Smalls Dan Diddle A Na

 I love the driving guitar, the snarly vocals and pace. I feel comfortable saying The Smalls are the best garage rock band Canada has produced. They were big with all of my buddies while in High School and when they re-united to play a festival in Edmonton 2014 we had our own impromptu reunion and that weekend probably ranks as one of the favorites of my life.

Little Bones - The Tragically Hip

The first time I really payed attention to The Tragically Hip was this song. My sister Monica had just got the Road Apples CD and I heard this song a couple of times in the course of a weekend. I thought it was raw and cool. I don't think it has held up all that well over the years but I kind of still appreciate how unprocessed it sounds.

The era between Road Apples and Day for Night for me is the pinnacle of the Hip. They were young, sweaty and straight forward rock n roll. There were no lame songs about music at work or cool hats to hide the balding. Look at Gord in that video above, vibrant and just giving'r. This era is how I will remember him. When they embarked on their final cross country tour and played their final show I couldn't watch it. I appreciated and admired the courage and drive that Gord and the whole band had but I hated it at the same time. I didn't want that memory of the Hip. I have a theory that if a heaven exists and if we take any form of corporeal form, that corporeal form is based on what your obituary picture looks like. I chose young Gord.

Terriers - The Kids In The Hall

Die, die, die, die, die, die worms eating you eyes. God, did I love Kids In the Hall. If Fine Ham Abounds was a more complete song it would be on the list but alas they just gave us a taste of what that song could be...But it was really fucking good.

Lost Together - Blue Rodeo

The most romantic song I can think of. Greg Keelor has never sounded better.

On November 29, 2009 our nation hit what I consider peak Prairie Canadiana. It was the half time show of the 97th Grey Cup - Blue Rodeo was playing Lost Together at the 50 yard line - the field was swarmed with Rider fans wearing green - Couples are boozily slow dancing on the field - as the camera sweeps by a woman wearing a Bobby Jurasin style bandana kisses her goateed man. This is the most Canadian prairies thing ever. With such a high peak we had to descend and this is evidenced by the Riders losing the game like idiots as they can't count to 13. The rest of the country laughs.

5 Days in May - Blue Rodeo

Here is where I break my own rule. Yes, it is another Blue Rodeo song but this one is sung by Jim Cuddy. Jim Cuddy is cool. I wish that I could pull of the denim shirt with piping look like he does. I have even bought a couple over the years - Chrissy will confirm though that I just look stupid. I am such a poser.

When I started at EEDC I would often default to Blue Rodeo songs to listen to while working. They blended into the background well.  Around this time I started to really take notice of the pretty girl in the office beside me.  Chrissy, that pretty girl, remarked one time that she liked this song so it stayed on high rotation. It has continued to be a favorite ever since.

Balls of Ice - 3 Inches of Blood

Writing this blog I have come to realization that I like a lot of pretty songs. To keep my street cred up I present to you some great Canadian metal; 3 Inches of Blood. It was a tough call between this song or Curse of the Lighthouse Keeper but Balls of Ice wins based on the call out of "Balls, Balls, Balls, Ice, Ice, Ice (repeat). Probably every couple of weeks someone says balls or ice in a statement and in my head I sing "Balls of Ice" in my best metal voice and smile.

Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire

The first time I heard Arcade Fire I was in Saskatoon driving around listening to CFCR 90.5FM. When this song was over and the DJ came back on I pulled over so I could write down who it was. That same day I bought the Funeral CD. It is still in my car even though my CD player no longer works. When they broke out they seemed to have an urgency to them. They had music they needed to get out of them (to steal a quote from Bryce). Subsequent albums have been solid but the urgency is gone. They seem more content to try and get you to dance - whatever.

Romantic Rights - Death From Above 1979

The whole You're a Woman I'm a Machine album is outstanding. This song sticks out above all else for DFA's performance of it on Conan O'Brien back in the day. I remember flipping through channels late one night and caught Conan announcing his guests which included DFA. It was quite late and I was starting to fall asleep when they came on. They absolutely killed it with an assist from Max Weinberg. Check out the smile on Max's face, he is loving it. Suck it Springsteen.

Ageless Beauty - Stars

Another pretty song that I can't help but like. A few years back on a Halloween night Chrissy and I went to go see them live at Edmonton's Winspear Centre. The Winspear is renowned for its great acoustics and Amy Millan in full preggo glory sounded outstanding. This night was also memorable for Chrissy wearing the full length brown leather and fur trimmed jacket I got her out in public. It only ever sees the light of day on Halloween which is a shame as Chrissy looks great in it.

Tournament of Hearts - The Weakerthans

It's a song about a guy that can't articulate what he wants to say to his lady friend and so instead drinks by himself at a curling rink. We've all been there man. Fucking genius.

Edmonton - Rural Alberta Advantage

The best song ever written about Edmonton. Why this gets no love on local radio and they play Tornado 87 instead is beyond me.

I can dream some days of moving to the coast or living in a foreign country for an extended period of time but it won't happen. I won't be leaving Edmonton. Chrissy's family is here, we have good jobs, a great house and I am too shitty of a hockey player for any other rec team in another City to take me. And that is ok. Edmonton has been good to me.

Honorable Mentions that didn't make the playlist:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Introducing Solid Food

Today was a big day for Sophia as she got her first taste of solid food. We decided to go with something nice and easy and selected a Gerber Rice Cereal.

What's in that bowl? For me!?

Hey you! Give me more!

Sophia took the food like a champ but it was really more obvious that me and Chrissy were more excited than her.

If you are up to it - the full first 3 minutes of her trying food are below. Sorry for the jerky zooming - I suck.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Swimming Lessons

Chrissy wanted to start Sophia early with swimming lessons. One of the early lessons I have learned is that if "Mom" wants to do something it is in everybody's best interest to do, Sophia is in swimming lessons.

I thought she was a little young but according to the course offering through the Edmonton rec-facilities she was capable, "Starfish is the entry level with a focus on orientation to water, buoyancy, movement, entries. (child must be able to hold their head up)".

For the last couple of Tuesday's we have been heading off to our Clareview Recreation Centre for Starfish swimming lessons.

Sophia takes to the water really well. She doesn't get upset or scared and is now even starting to splash around a little bit. It helps that she has her mothers buoyancy as opposed to the lead-lined bones of her father.

She doesn't even mind getting her head dunked. Pro-tip from Chrissy blow air in the baby's face right before dunking. They will instinctively take a big gulp of air.

Chrissy's parents have come to watch a couple of the lessons and we often sit and visit in the lobby with them afterwards. Sophia has started picking up new tricks like trying to eat peoples faces. In the picture below Baba is getting sized up.

Being in the pool really seems to take it out of her and often she falls asleep before we even leave the parking lot. That works for us, as we can take long luxurious car-trips through the Dairy Queen drive through.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

City Managers Cup Champs

It was a slow spring for hockey this year. Our team took a year off on hosting our charity hockey tournament and I decided against traveling to Ottawa for our annual rec hockey trip to instead spend more time with Christina and Sophia.

In attempt to get my "hockey fix" in I participated in a fun tournament at work - The City Managers Cup. Our team from last year did alright, losing out in the semi's to the eventual pool winner. So, I thought it was a little weird that they ended up dropping us down a tier. With a couple of pick-ups from our Section / Department we looked good going in.

It turns out not only did we look good, but we were good. We walked through the competition, never trailing once in our 4 games and took the Div 5 championship.

Everyone else looks fresh and it looks like I just ran a marathon.

My buddy Riley and myself

Flaunting our trophy and championship rings at work

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sophia's Baptism

As good Roman Catholics, or at least raised by good Roman Catholics, it was inevitable that our daughter Sophia would be baptised.  Earlier this month, our heathen child was made part of the flock.

When deciding on Godparents it really wasn't too difficult - Chrissy's only sibling Alex, and my closest in age and proximity sibling, Monica. However, in choosing Monica to be the Godmother we forfeited the opportunity for Monica Kehrig Photography to be the official photographer - a near flaw in our otherwise perfect planning.

I say a near flaw as Monica took some pictures for us prior to the big day with Sophia in her gown.

The lovely baptism gown was a surprise gift from her soon to be Godfather, Alex. After knowing him for 5+ years I would have never guessed he had such good taste. 

Due to Monica's involvement in the ceremony most of the pictures that day were taken by my sister-in-law Alison who was fighting off a flu and also taking care of her daughter with a cold at the ceremony. She is pretty impressive - another signal that Alex has good taste....I should have realised sooner I guess.

Thanks to the Godparents who will be helping watch over her, thanks to Mom who made the trip for the baptism and to everyone who came out for the ceremony.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

37th Birthday and Easter Weekend

This year my birthday happened to occur on the same weekend as Easter, which is pretty sweet. Extra long gluttonous weekend!

I think Chrissy sensed that I was having issues living with a set schedule (needed for Sophia) so for my birthday she chose to wake up early (on little sleep) and take me out to the Farmers Market for the first time with Sophia. We arrived early before it got too nuts, or at least not too crazy unless you wanted to buy tulips.

It was a small venture out and greatly appreciated as the rest of the weekend was spent mostly hanging with Sophia around the house or consuming copious amounts of food and drink.

In the absence or any of my nuclear family being in Edmonton over the weekend Chrissy's parents helped me celebrate  by baking an angel food cake and picking up a bucket of Chicken (my sole request).

Overall a pretty great birthday and weekend.

Bonus: Chrissy's gift to me was tickets to Return To Grace the following week - basically an Elvis tribute show. The perfect "first" date for us in months.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Sophia's first trip to Edmonton Valley Zoo

As the winter was unseasonably warm Chrissy and I have been itching to get outside with Sophia. However, as first time parents were are still timid on excursions due to length of time between feedings, catching a cool breeze, and the need for Sophia to be in near constant motion to be content.

Finally, we decided that it was time for a quick sojourn to one of our favorite spots: The Edmonton Valley Zoo.

Sophia slept through most of it but her Mom and Dad had a nice time.

Even meeting an elephant for the first time wasn't as exciting as sleeping.

Even though it's a bit of a drive from our house I think Chrissy is going to get herself an annual pass and do many a walk-through with Sophia this summer.

Bonus - We ran into the Bells.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

First Family Day Weekend in Saskatoon

With some apprehension to how a 3 month old would do in the car we packed ourselves up and headed to see my mother and family in Saskatoon for Family Day weekend.

Much to our surprise and glee, Sophia was excellent for the 5 hour car ride sleeping the whole way with the exception of a bottle break in Lloydminster.

Grandma was a great host and many of my siblings, neices and nephews got to meet Sophia for the first time including a very pregnant Nikki.

No visit is complete with out Mom's home-cooked meals. Sophia had the best seat in the house.

The weather in Saskatoon was pretty temperate so Chrissy and I took Sophia out for a walk along the South Saskatchewan river valley in the Downtown.

The first of many visits back to the promised land...