Obama's Canadian Playlist

Sorry I don't have a new episode up by now. There's been work stuff that has had me uncomfortably busy, and a couple major technical snafus in the past week have not helped. If I don't get something up in January, an early February episode is very likely. I hope.

While I'm checking in, I'll say a little something about this initiative CBC Radio 2 has been doing which is now in its final day: voting for a playlist of 49 songs ("from North of the 49th Parallel") for incoming U.S. President Barack Obama to listen to (likely around the time he visits Canada soon) so he can get a better idea of Canada through its music. It's unlikely the guy will have time to listen to all this, but it's a nice exercise and probably beats giving him a polar bear statue or something.

Nominations came in from all over the place, and CBC settled on a shortlist of 100 tracks. Again, this the last day of voting from those lists - I say "lists," because there's one for pop/rock, one for classical, one for Francophone and one for jazz - and one can vote for just one track per list per day. So being late, I had to decide on one for each. In the end, I voted for "The Canadian Dream" by Sam Roberts in the big pop/rock list, although my other choices would have been "Bobcaygeon" by the Tragically Hip, "Crabuckkit" by k-os, "Democracy" by Leonard Cohen, "Four Strong Winds" by Ian & Sylvia, "Ordinary Day" by Great Big Sea (which I know I've played here way back), "Rise Up" by Parachute Club, "Try" by Blue Rodeo and "Soobax" by K'naan. In classical, I went for "I'm Going Up a Yonder" sung by the very awesome Measha Brueggergosman; my Francophone pick was the previously-featured "Dégénération" by Mes Aïeux (though I would have also gone for "Montréal -40C" by Malajube); for jazz, I had to go with "Hymn to Freedom" by The Oscar Peterson Trio.

If you have a chance, head over to that shortlist and vote if it's not too late, or just check out the list of pretty amazing music (with samples and iTunes links), all Canadian, and all just really scratching the surface.

In these heady days prior to the inauguration (not to mention the impending re-opening of Parliament here, and we should mention it a lot), if I could nominate a recent song for Obama that is not Canadian, it would be the title track off the album Join With Us by the British band The Feeling, an album I was looking for in Description 55 (I still don't have the damn thing, btw). I've said in passing how much I love these guys, and I first heard the song when I saw them play in Wolverhampton UK a couple years ago. It took that long for it to grow on me, possibly in part because of the way the world is now.

While I love the crunchy bits in the last minute, what matters are the lyrics, which include "The world is in your hands / The world is in your hands / The world belongs to those of us who still believe we can / And it matters what you do / Though they all look down on you / Cuz it's better that you've come from nothing / Than nothing comes from you"

Join With Us - The Feeling