What a great ride it’s been! If you are just tuning in now, make sure you catch up via the links. The comments are every bit as good a read. We started with self proclaimed unprofound, but in actuality very profound, M.E. Girard as she tripped nostalgic on the music of her youth, and how the different generations see Canadian music. Then we tried on some 80′s headgear with Loverboy, stomped the scene with Stomping Tom Connors, and finally we were anything but sedated with the Ramones as Tobin Elliot ran us through the gamut of Canadian Music and it’s impact.
And here we are, at facilitator number three… me, Dale Long, literary thriller, comedic prat fall artist and general Jack-of-all-trades. Eloquent, Tobin? I don’t think so, but then being on the inside looking out is a whole different veiw than being on the outside, trying to see in.
What a great segue! When I read On a Cold Road, I was struck by the depth and honesty of Dave’s voice. I have stood on the outside trying to see into the smokey room that is the music industry, trying to catch a glimpse of the greatness therein. I’ll admit I had the mistaken idea that musician are all hard partying, low conscience people to whom music fell from the sky. I’m happy to say that I’ve been proven wrong more times than that misconception has been reinforced. This book is a prime example.
There are demons that come in the package with great artistic talent. We all suffer from some sort of quirk that makes us unique but also adds fuel to our craft. Musicians are no different. On a Cold Road turns on the house lights, revealing these demons but at the same time shows Dave’s sense of unflinching respect for his Canadian roots, his respect for the work of others before him. Of the blood sweat and tears they paved the road across Canada with. Of careers beaten to a bloody pulp against the barrier between Canadian music and the U.S. market.
Dave Bidini shows, from the very start, a writer’s sensibility. He sees the world through the “writers eye”. To him a car travelling along a road isn’t a 1975 green Plymouth Volare driving north on Highway 404. To him, he’s driving wrapping in the rusted out, green memories of skin blistering, vinyl family vacations, along a pockmarked highway to his future.
I couldn’t help but make the connection between Dave’s respect and recollections of the past and how the traditional Canadian music of Anne Murray and Murray McLauchlan paint a rich tapestry of Canadian history and the essence of the Canadian wildness.
So, I ask you, do today’s Canadian artists still show that respect to their heritage or are they trying to hard to emulate the two dimensional music that makes up a large majority of what is popular today?
Do you think Canadian music has had an influence on new artists like Mumford and Sons, Adele etc (all considered folk music which is the new upcoming BIG genre)?
And finally, I have to make you think and keep this writing related, do you find more traditional descriptions easier to read or do you like the unusual, more visceral descriptions (a method I employ myself thanks to James Dewar and Sue Reynolds for cramming poetry down my throat)?