Category: Canadian Coverfolk

Canadian Thanksgiving Coverfolk:
Canadian Artists covering Canadian Artists

October 10th, 2011 — 03:30 pm

Though it falls on Columbus Day, Canadian Thanksgiving Day seems relatively untainted by the parallel history of white privilege and savagery which have come to typify the two American holidays with which it shares either date or name. Rather, though giving thanks in the territories is still partially grounded in the European exploration of territories and provinces, Thanksgiving Day in Canada was originally established as a harvest holiday, pure and simple, first as a natural extension of the human need to celebrate the cornucopia, and subsequently by proclamation, in 1957.

My connection to Canadian Thanksgiving is familial: my father in law is originally from Montreal, making my wife a citizen by proxy; as such, in order to help ensure parity in a large and growing family, the spousal clan has occasionally used the date as a kind of pre-Thanksgiving over the years, taking advantage of the long weekend to come together for good food and good company, as the celebration seems to warrant.

But my connection to Canada itself is broader, still, through my love of music. From an American perspective, Canada is an extraordinarily prolific contributor to the sonic scene – astonishingly so, given that the country has a smaller population than California, and a much lower population density.

And though there is broad diversity in the Canadian music scene, the Canadian influence on modern folk music alone is vast and varied. Expat luminaries from Joni Mitchell to Neil Young to The Band, and native sons and daughters from Gordon Lightfoot to Stan Rogers, have all had strong impact on the evolution of sound below the border; similarly, the traditional folkforms of Acadia and elsewhere, like so many other world beats, have both arrived wholesale in our collections and, as influence, have found their way into the sounds of other folkforms, from Cajun music to the Boston fiddlefolk scene. And the modern inheritors of this dream are legion, as evidenced by our proud promotion of Reid Jamieson, Kevin Fox, The Duhks, Danny Michel, The Be Good Tanyas, and others who have found their way to these pages.

Searching through the combined output of these Canadian folks and folkforms on this day of thanksgiving, I find a mixed bag of relevant songs: about harvest, home, and appreciation. And so, on this Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for their contributions through a themed set, with Canadian artists taking on the works of Canadian artists, each one a song of praise and promise, each one in its own way a thankful, loving celebration of and for the joys of the universe.

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