I’m about to make some sweeping generalizations about a whole country of people, but I think generalizing is okay if you’re doing it in a good way. And if you’re so politically correct you can’t handle generalizations of any kind, you don’t belong on this site in the first place. So buh-bye.
I love Canadians. Remember #19 on my 25 Random Things About Me post? I wasn’t kidding. Look at this couple I met back in January on that Hummer tour to the Grand Canyon.
That’s Heather and Colin, from Alberta. They were really nice. So nice that when I asked them how many people live in the city of Alberta, they didn’t even roll their eyes and say, “Alberta’s not a goddamn city, you stupid American.” No, they just chuckled politely. See? Canadians are nice.
Canadian cities are awesome! So far I’ve been to Montreal, Toronto, Victoria, and Vancouver—all fabulous. Others I’d love to go to are Ottawa, Quebec City, Calgary, and Alber… ha! Alberta’s not a city.
Canada also seems to produce amazing musicians. One day I was looking through my CDs (yes, I still have CDs) and I noticed I have a disproportionate number by Canadian artists. Then I realized--holy cow!--most of my very favorite artists are Canadian.
This Sunday I’ll be front and center at the main stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to see one the coolest guy on earth, Neil Young. (See #6 on the aforementioned list.) He’s Canadian—born in Ontario. And earlier this month you may have read my post about the trip the BF and I took to see Leonard Cohen. He’s from Montreal.
Originally from Quebec, Daniel Lanois is a name that isn’t widely recognized—he’s know only to incredibly cool people like moi—but I bet you’re familiar with his work. As a producer, he worked on a bunch of U2’s CDs, including The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. He’s also produced many, many fine musicians including Dylan, the Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, and more.
I got to meet Daniel Lanois after a show at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock (fantastic venue) back in 1993. DO NOT tell him this, but I thought his handshake was… kind of weak. I feel bad saying that because he was really nice. Who cares, anyway? He did the music for one of my favorite all-time movies, Slingblade, and his debut CD, Acadie, is my “desert-island” CD. It’s also a great make-out-on-the-couch CD, too. I’m not kidding; it’s a gem. You can listen to a song here.
Speaking of make-out music, how about those Cowboy Junkies? They're Canadians. How much did you love The Trinity Sessions? Can you believe that’s over 20 years old now? Geez.
And hey, four-fifths of The Band--Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson, and Rick Danko—hailed from Ontario. I did a phone interview with Rick Danko back when I had my radio show on WRPI and I got to meet him twice, too. I talked with him after his show at Café Lena in Saratoga—I want to say it was in maybe 1991—and then again at the Van Dyke in Schenectady, NY, in November 1998.
Alright, this is bad. Don’t tell anybody. That same year—1998—back when I worked at GE, my demented friends and I had a “ghoul pool,” meaning we each kept a list of the 10 celebrities who we thought were going to die. Whoever went through their whole list first would win. Sick, I know. Anyway, Rick Danko was on my list, so after the show at the Van Dyke I asked if he would autograph the back of my receipt and write “I’m still alive.”
“Sure,” he said. Oh, man, I was psyched!
Yeah, it says, “Rick Danko…Keep rockin’” then God knows what that scribble is. Damn!
Rick Danko died just over a year later and in real life I was very sad. He had some tough things happen in life and every time I watch The Last Waltz, I’m struck by how young and sweet he seemed. Now I feel like an a-hole for putting him in my ghoul pool. Well, not really. He probably wouldn’t care.
More Canadian artists on my CD shelves include Joni Mitchell (of course), Bruce Cockburn, kd lang, John Campbell, and Meryn Cadell. Other Canadian bands and artists not on my shelves include Paul Anka, Jesse Winchester, Gordon Lightfoot, Alanis Morrisette, Crash Test Dummies (are they still around?), Rush, and The Guess Who.
Pretty impressive, eh? Sorry if I haven’t mentioned your favorite—there are a ton more. But you get my point. Yay, Canadians!
So I’m not going to be able to post on Saturday. My friend Donna and I are flying down to New Orleans tomorrow to meet my sister, brother-in-law, and my other friend Donna for Jazzfest. If you’re a music lover, all I can say is get your ass there next year. It’s an amazing scene, and it’s not just jazz. Actually, I don’t even care much for jazz; you’ll find me eating beignets in the gospel tent and dancing my ass off to zydeco music at the Fais-Do-Do stage. I can’t wait.
I may be able to post something from the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott at some point while I’m there. I’ll try.
Have a good weekend and as always, thank you so much for reading my blog!