Growing up, most of us went through musical phases by genre, but in my case I seemingly went through phases based on geography. At one point I was in a British chapter, listening only to Duran Duran, Blur, Pulp, Oasis and The Verve. During junior high I was stuck on the U.S. of A. and couldn’t get enough of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. Looking back, the most loved part of my musical trip around the world was most definitely Canada.

Canadian music has, without a doubt, had the deepest impact on my personal musical history. While I’m not sure if the same is true for most of you, I know that for myself, I can pinpoint almost any time in my life and attach a song to it. When I entered high school, “Naveed” by Our Lady Peace was forever on repeat. During the summer of 1996, many day trips down Vancouver Island were filled by Sarah McLachlan’s “Building A Mystery.” High school graduation was marked with Bif Naked’s I Bificus and I can recall countless snow-filled walks through my mom’s neighbourhood in the Comox Valley with Sam Roberts’ debut record spinning on my Sony Discman.

Perhaps it’s simply the fact that, because these artists are homegrown, there’s a naturally instilled sense of pride when listening. Whatever the reason for the intrinsic connection to music of the Canadiana variety, it amazes me how nourishing it feels to re-visit my past by listening once again. Several days ago I purchased “Bobcaygeon” by the Tragically Hip on iTunes and have since lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to it. That is, however, when I’m not relentlessly spinning Closer, Sarah McLachlan’s greatest hits collection.

Maybe these songs feel safe to me. Maybe these songs represent times in my life when everything turned out alright and serve to remind me that everything is still turning out alright – or even better than before. Regardless, despite it all, this music ensures that I walk to work each day with a huge grin on my face. Yes, even on Mondays.

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8 Comments on “ONE STAR AT A TIME

  1. My friend Chelsea got me into the Hip last year and Bobcaygeon is simply amazing. It’s in my iTunes Top 25 Most Played ever since. I also love Sarah McLachlan; Sweet Surrender, Building a Mystery, Adia, Possession (original and acoustic)- I’ve loved them all for years, I never get tired of hearing them =)

  2. This is my fav Hip song as well. The lyrics are perfect ‘It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellation, reveal themselves one star at a time’. Lovely and fantastic. The music is so great and the song tells me that the singer has found contentment and knows where he belongs and go to stay with his lover.

  3. Shortly after this album was released, I took a trip to Puerto Rico and Brazil for a couple weeks with some good friends. In hindsight, it was one of those coming of age/finding oneself trips. The kind they make movies out of. The whole while this song, (and Thompson Girl) was the soundtrack running trough my head.
    I still remember how, when returning home to Vancouver, the usual melancholy sadness one feels at the end of a trip was replaced by an overwhelming sense of luck and peace.
    All the while, that bass line groove was running through my head….

    Thank you for reminding me of that tremendous experience.

  4. Canadian artists top my all time list…Neil Young, Tom Cochrane, Bruce Cockburn, Matt Mays, Sam Roberts, The Hip …

  5. When I first moved to the states I would listen to a lot of Canadian music to remind me of home. Now, Bobcaygeon in particular, reminds me of San Francisco :)

    One benefit of living in the US is that when the Hip come to town, it’s almost always in a small club, because they’re not nearly as popular here. So you get to see this amazing band that in Canada you’d have to go to a GM Place type venue to see, in a small intimate place. And, you’re usually surrounded by Canadians living in that city.

    In fact, when I saw the Hip in San Francisco, the entire crowd burst into “Oh Canada” about 5 minutes before they took the stage. It was a room full of Canadians working in silicon valley.

  6. Music is funny like that. Listening to an older song seems to bring you back to the time you were listening to it. Which is probably a reason why most passive listeners tend to stick to the stuff they listened to in high school and college throughout most of their adult lives. Obviously just not having the time (or energy) to check out new stuff, and not being smothered with exposure to it is another reason.

    As for liking bands from your country — yeah, that makes a lot of sense. They just feel closer I suppose — like you have more of a connection. I’ve got quite a few of those as well.

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