Claire Peacock


Rhett: One of my favourite things about living in Saskatoon is that it can still feel like a small town. You can run into people you know regularly. I don’t think there is anyone I run into more than Claire and it always brightens my day! She’s always smiling and eager to chat even if she’s working. I feel that there is this unspoken bond between us because we know where each other comes from. Not just where we lived, but our families and the people we grew up with as well. Our grandmas are even dear friends.

All my sentimental feelings aside, I think we have similar taste in music too. That is why I am very excited for you all to read/listen along! Thank you for doing this, Claire! Catch you later!


Claire: I’m just delighted to be writing this edition of PB&Jams.  Rhett and I are linked by family and townie ties but didn’t really get to connect until our college years in Saskatoon.  We happily catch up whenever we bump into each other – from riding the bus during our uni days to me slanging pints on the Yard & Flagon rooftop.  He eagerly accepted my proposition (both a challenge and offer) to write a female-centred post for the blog, and I am happy to say I’m joining the company of other contributors rounding out the female and 2SLGBTQ+ content. I hope my list encourages you to not only hit up the singles I share here but to dig into the albums and catalogues of these artists;  so let’s get to it!  The hits gonna be coming at y’all fast.  I’ve included selections ranging from alt-pop to Americana to full on rock and roll, and I’ve been crushing hard on all these tunes.  I am 100 percent not ready for the summer to fade into fall, so I’ve been pumping these hits to delude myself into endless summer bliss.



VISSIA – “My Wom”

VISSIA is the perfect combination of indie meets pop.  When people ask me what her music is like I usually reference some combination of Robyn and Sheryl Crow.  Everything VISSIA puts out – from her merch, to her Spotify podcast “Making Out with VISSIA,” to her latest album, With Pleasure –  is filled with colour and life.  Her blue splatter vinyl has been spinning constantly at my house because it is one of my favourite albums to play when entertaining.  And I did not know how much I needed her Tarot Tee until it was on my bod!  Her new music video for “My Wom” is energetic, bright, and bursting with powerful lyrics that will leave listeners feeling sassy AF.  So throw on your high rise jeans and dance your ass off to this song!



Mariel Buckley – “Hundred Cities”

Need an occasion to wear your Stetson and slam back a few whiskeys? Please go see Mariel Buckley ASAP.  I know she is eager to be hitting the road with her band coming fresh off the recording floor with a Sloan cover and this new single, both featured on the 97 Riverdale EP.  Currently based out of Edmonton, AB, her live show is not to be missed.  You will fall in love with her swagger, drawl, stage banter, and old school Americana vocal stylings.  Touring bassist Kurtis Cockerill is sure to crush some brews with ya after the gig too.  If you dig on the tunes check out her merch too (hello “grass jacket” rolling papers) and let’s help get our local artists on the road after all this damn C****d mayhem.     



Haim – “Summer Girls”

In case you haven’t already been jamming out to this song all summer long this is your chance.  So relaxing yet simultaneously energising.  Listening to Haim just makes me want to create a playlist with everything from Savage Garden to Fleetwood Mac.  And if you want to pump it up a notch, the Amber Mark Remix or the Solomonophonic Bouncy House Remix are both really enjoyable.  Haim Radio on Spotify is one of my favourite ways to chill out and feel good when I’m on my commute to work.  



Partner – “Play the Field”

This catchy track, along with the quirky music vid, will hook you on this band.  Please note the 420 and 69 jerseys they sport for the occasion!  These adorable stoners will have you in a daze in no time with their bass heavy pop.  Hailing from Canada’s East coast, Joseé and Lucy come together with a sound harkening back to the 90s garage band era out of Portland. MoSo fest was the first opportunity I had to see them live and I was grooving and singing along at the top of my lungs in Amigos Cantina.  I’ve since hit up their live shows any chance I can and have all their vinyl – I can’t get enough. Blast them into your headphones at the grocery store and just zone out.  I recommend you start with “Hot Knives” and “Everybody Knows Your High” before blissing your way into some of their newer jams like “Big Gay Hands” and “Honey.”  Screw it, maybe just order an extra-large pizza and throw on all the tracks.  



Tanya Tucker – “MUSTANG RIDGE”

Hit play on “Mustang Ridge” but make sure you have time to then enjoy the 2019 album, While I’m Living, in its entirety.  Tanya Tucker should not be relegated to the 90s country that she was initially known for but instead should be celebrated as a modern troubadour and Grammy winning sensation.  I particularly enjoy this record when I’m getting ready for work or when I’m taking a long solo drive in the country.  Would recommend enjoying a cruise and the changing fall colours to help ameliorate any summer-slipping-away blues.  



SATE – “Howler” 

I first discovered SATE by happenstance.  To explain, my mother is a Johnny Reid superfan –  like go on river-cruises in Europe to see him perform kind of superfan.  And as her child, and the good Scottish descendant that I am (lol), I’ve attended my fair share of Johnny Reid shows.  Now as much as adult contemporary music may not be my go-to genre (it surely is not), Johnny Reid always has an insanely stacked band of talent up on the stage to support his act.  Other notable female singers who have performed in his band include Miku Graham and Juno-nominated Tanika Charles.  So when I discovered that after the Johnny Reid show one night SATE was doing an impromptu set at The Capitol I had to be there.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone rock so damn hard.  “Howler” will have you wanting to rock out, dance, and scream. It makes me want to build the hugest campfire and howl at the moon all night long.  Experience her magic and mayhem at your own risk because it’s going to make you want to get frisky or smash the patriarchy.         


Megan Nash & The Best of Intentions – “Chew Quietly/Clean Slate”

Megan Nash can often be heard gracing the CBC Radio 2 airwaves and is one of my favourite Saskatchewan artists.  I absolutely fell head over heels in love with their Juno nominated 2017 album “Seeker” and am thrilled that they are putting out a new album.  This single is such an exciting tease for what is to come with Soft Focus Futures, out November 3rd.  Maybe the fall season won’t be so bad after all!  And in major Saskatoon excitement, Megan Nash & The Best of Intentions are going to be playing Amigos Cantina November 27th.  In addition to Megan’s sensational song writing skills, soothing voice, and captivating as hell tunes they are also an advocate for inclusion and safe spaces in our communities and music venues, most recently fundraising for Moose Jaw Pride.  I’m blushing with Sasky pride over here right now! 


Yola – “Diamond Studded Shoes”

I was first curious about the artist Yola when I discovered she was featured on the track “Highwomen” by country music supergroup The Highwomen.  And to my pure joy, I further realized she also collaborates with artists like Jason Isbell and Sheryl Crow – bless!  As much as her collaborations excite me, no questions about it she holds her own on her solo albums.  Her tunes have elements of gospel, blues, and soul while creating a very contemporary Nashville sound.  This ain’t no pickup truck country pop but the real deal and Yola is blasting through stereotypes in the country music scene.  



Claire



CLAIRE PEACOCK

  • VISSIA – “MY WOM”
  • MARIEL BUCKLEY – “HUNDRED CITIES”
  • HAIM – “SUMMER GIRLS”
  • PARTNER – “PLAY THE FIELD”
  • TANYA TUCKER – “MUSTANG RIDGE”
  • SATE – “HOWLER”
  • MEGAN NASH & THE BEST OF INTENTIONS – “CHEW QUIETLY/CLEAN SLATE”
  • YOLA – “DIAMOND STUDDED SHOES”

Jordynn Thienes


Rhett: Where do I even start with this post? So many things to say about my next guest. In preparation for this I started looking through old pictures to find some good ones of Jordo and I to put up here. They are almost exclusively from 2012-2014, which means it is certainly time to get some new ones together. Nevertheless, here is one of the oldies:

If you don’t know her, you need to meet her. One of the most fun, hilarious, genuine people that I know. From a few summers in Cypress together, to Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington (see below: a picture Jord took of me watching Rodriguez at The Gorge), to an infamous road trip to Great Falls, MT (shout out to Julie as well on this one). These memories are deeply ingrained in me. I feel like it has been a lifetime since we last hung out, but it has been so nice to text back and forth a bit about this blog over the last little while.

I hope this post brings you as much joy as it brought me today! You are the best, Jord!


Jordynn: Hi folks, just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to have a peek into some tracks I’ve been wild about this summer season. Although not many of them are hot new stuff, I’m hoping something resonates or you maybe check out a genre you might not have considered up your alley before! I feel very lucky to live in the current ‘great wide open’ era of musical tastes, where we can all be into anything and share it so easily with our friends – and thanks to Rhett for making that even easier with this lil’ blog. 

I feel that I come from a much deeper pop & country background than our other lovely friends that have contributed their picks (for example, I’ve been Shakira’s biggest fan for the last 20 years – like to the point that it’s not healthy). I also feel like I’m a bit of a loose cannon when handed the aux cord; Rhett and our other friends have been on a more than a few road trips where I’ve taken the car on an experimental pop journey that nobody asked for, but that they always politely nodded along to. I’ve spent a good chunk of our slowed lifestyle this past year or so building psychotic playlists, with titles such as “music for a sleepover at Joanna Newsom’s house”; “dirtbag canadiana”; and “Guy Fieri’s discman on shuffle, probably” (this last one is heavily Steely Dan). Again, I’d like to reiterate that nothing good will come from being kind and passing me the aux if you’re ever in a car with me.

I really had no intention for this little list to skew as Canadian as it did – can’t say I’m a great patriot or anything but tend to just leech onto the current music scene of wherever I’m living for a few years, and have been especially lucky to always be near wicked college radio stations. I’ve also noticed how female-dominated my top tracks seem to be, in complete contrast to our pal and previous contributer Tegan’s tastes! Jesus… maybe Shakira has an even deeper grip on my psyche than I previously thought. 

This Summer of Jord has been insane so far – I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt in the spring about summer events with tons of faces going ahead, but I buckled up and took the vaccine doses that had been marinating in my arm for a few months out for a spin. I’ve been drinking doubles and yelling at the top of my lungs like the good old days, and feel like I’ve packed months of good times into the past few weeks. It’s been GREAT to get out and see all the friends I’ve been missing since summer 2019, now with a whole new layer of appreciation for our time wasted together. I hope these songs I’ve settled on give you some semblance of a summer feeling, even if some of them are pretty low key!



Starpainter – “WILD AZaLEAS”

This southern Alberta band has been strategically placed at the top of this list along with Vanessa from Swift Current – if there’s any groups I hope you take away from this and gas up to your friends for the remainder of the summer, it’s these Western Canadian artists. I bought multiple copies of Starpainter’s 2020 album “Bury Me by My Family” as housewarming gifts for friends with varied music tastes as a little experiment this last year, and have had my heart swell hearing back from each of them about how much they liked every single track. This country/rock ballad for me stirs a lot up, like nostalgia of backroad drives in an ancient single cab Silverado that absolutely everybody’s Dad seemed to have when we were kids. Other standout tracks on the album included “Mark of Cain” and “Slammin’ on the Brakes”, which are a bit less dainty than this one but still hit hard in the emotion department; all up, we’re talking about a truly unskippable album listing.



Vanessa Gauvin – “HOME”

I was lucky enough this month to spend a week at my childhood summer camp with Vanessa, who spent her summer out there leading introductory music classes for the kids and working on her own music. She held a room full of teenagers rapt when she played them this song from her EP Devil Man, which I can guarantee you is not easy (or do kids just hate me?). Another track I’ve been enjoying from the EP is “Sunshine with a Storm Brewing”, which I’m shocked wasn’t written about our weather in the woods that week. Although I wasn’t able to push kids out of the way to have her help me learn chords for myself, I did bang out a kazoo riff for Heart of Gold I’m pretty proud of. We’re all very glad she was able to make it out for the summer and share her passion for music with so many kids – you never know who the next young Vanessa in the crowd is going to be (spoiler: not me).



SG Lewis – “WARM”

Gotta say that when summer started I was having more of a smoky contemplative summer than the hot vax summer that was promised by our various premiers, and I found myself reaching back to this fairly introspective 2015 track from the UK producer SG Lewis heavily. It isn’t a hot new summer track by a long shot, but I would call this an easing into summer track – the wooziness of our long winter hangover is real, and reminds me of this faraway sounding, potentially-underwater production style.



Ratboys – “ELVIS IS IN THE FrEEZER”

Ratboys’s lead vocalist Julia Steiner has a real diminutive vocal style that often gets completely overpowered by their energetic rickety-ass country instrumentation, and I’ve thought more than once while listening to them that it’s like waves are crashing into what she’s trying to say – which I love. The group had a wicked album out in 2017 called “GN” which was where they piqued my interest; other standout tracks from this album included “The Record” and “GM”. They also put out an album recently that was very well-received; definitely worth checking out if you liked these few tracks that have gripped me.



Benee f. Grimes – “SHEESH”

Although Grimes’s wrinkly space cowboy boyfriend seems to get most of the press these days, the Vancouver/Montreal mystic is a powerhouse whose first album from a decade ago rocked my world and was the playlist to my morning snowboard laps while living broke out in Whistler for a fun, weird winter fresh out of uni. Here, the Galadriel wannabe adds a dreamy, bratty touch to this track from Auckland, NZ’s other (better?) popstar, Benee. If my frantic pop tastes aren’t speaking to you here, Benee has also put out some great/less hyper stuff such as her track “Winter” that features a fellow antipodal musician on the rise, Mallrat.



Toro y Moi – “OMAHA” 

Although the guy behind Toro y Moi, Chaz Bear, has put out some really strong albums in 2019 & 2020, this older track was one I revisited quite a bit early into the summer that helped inch the sad cobwebs of a global respiratory outbreak off of my mind, even for 3 minutes at a time. I’ve been making countless smoky trips on the Crowsnest highway this summer getting moved west for a new job, and whenever this track has come up on rotation in my aforementioned playlists, I throw rational caution to the wind and roll that window down and sing while sucking in that gritty ash – but frig it, ya know? And if that isn’t summer energy, not sure I know what is. I continue to attempt the high vocals that loom in the background after the two minute mark, and then quickly abort when I remember I have no musical talent and my lungs get pissy and I wonder if my childhood asthma is gonna resurface from smoke irritation. Worth it, baby.


Eamon McGrath – “SIGNALS”

Do you have a driving while mad song? Do you want one? If so, most things by this guy originally from Edmonton could probably fit the bill. My favourite band of the 80s was The Replacements from equally-landlocked Minneapolis, and Eamon McGrath has always reminded me of their best stuff; kinda snarly, wounded, and real loud. Again with an older pick from his album “Young Canadians” from like a decade ago here, but bite me. If you’re into this song, some other tracks I’ve also always enjoyed from him include “Chlorine” and “Dark End of the Street”.  


WAYLON NAPADOGAN – “On a Scale of Rob Ford to Jim Lahey, How Drunk are You Lady?

Our friend Dave texted me and our other pal Randy a spontaneous link to this song a couple months ago, and it hit me like a ton of bricks and became a cornerstone of my summer listening. While reading up on him further, I found an iconic intro that read “You probably know Waylon Napadogan from being voted the 12th-best country music singer from southeastern New Brunswick two years running now” – I laughed til I cried and it cemented my appreciation for his brand. Mr. Napadogan is a deeply Canadian artist, with other sizzlers such as “Frig Off Bud” and “Gettin’ Stoned Behind the Tim Hortons” that are equally great and droll. This track makes me giggle every damn time and think of all the times you’ve gone out for drinks with the homegirls, go full ‘Alberta Premium princess’, and then end up shutting down one shady establishment or another while being complete terrorists and making multiple enemies as the night unfolds. What a glory. 



Jordynn



Jordynn thienes

  • STARPAINTER – WILD AZALEAS
  • VANESSA GAUVIN – HOME
  • SG LEWIS – WARM
  • RATBOYS – ELVIS IS IN THE FREEZER
  • BENEE FT. GRIMES – SHEESH
  • TORO Y MOI – OMAHA
  • EAMON MCGRATH – SIGNALS
  • WAYLON NAPADOGAN – ON A SCALE OF ROB FORD TO JIM LAHEY, HOW DRUNK ARE YOU LADY?

Dillon Currie


Rhett: I’ve got a real one this month, folks! I am very excited to get Dillon to write a piece for me this month. He is a guy who most certainly has his finger on the pulse of the music world. A front man in a rock band, a singer/songwriter, a family man, and the owner of one BEAUTIFUL head of hair. He’s a creator of great songs himself but also just a lover of music at the core. 

I’ve known Dillon for many years now, both being from small town, southwest Sask. We were even dorm mates at a hockey school in our younger years. While we don’t see each other often anymore, I always admire that when we do he takes the time to say hello, have a chat, and often remembers some little details about what I’ve been up to. For a guy who could easily have his head in the sky, he’s as grounded and kind as they come. Salt of the earth. 

I wanted him to lead us through the current changing of the seasons and I’m thrilled with what he came up with! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!


Dillon: This last winter lingered longer than most. I don’t know or particularly care if that’s true in terms of seasonal norms in the region, but I do know that, to me, it felt DAMN long. I’ve grown up having busy winters—travelling and competing in years and years worth of frigid prairie hockey games; touring and performing across the mountains and through the Canadian shield regardless of the road conditions; skipping from one family Christmas in the southwest to the next in the southeast. Traditionally speaking, winter is a busy time of year for someone like myself. Of course, this last year was (and I know this is a colossal understatement) different—in so very many ways. In many ways, it felt like we had less—less time with friends and family, less opportunity to travel, and certainly less toilet paper in the aisles of our local grocery stores; however, one thing I do know that I had MORE of was free time, and a lot more time with myself. So Rhett, go ahead and play Time by Hootie!—just kidding. Hang with me here.

So, you know that feeling near the end of a scheduled pause, maybe it’s a holiday or a school break or a destination vacation (remember those?!…swoon), where you’ve overindulged in almost EVERYTHING that’s bad for you, you’ve had little to no responsibilities for the majority of that time, you’ve devolved into a whisper of the parent you were at the start of the break (effectively rendering your children feral), and you’ve just had enough of doing ‘nothing’? 

OK…maybe that got a touch specific for most, but I think you likely know what I’m TRYING to say here: WINTER WAS LONG AND SOUL SUCKING. So much so that, after a considerable spell spent deliberating with myself on whether spring was even real anymore and yearning for sunshine, I realized that due to the circumstances we find ourselves in, it may just be the first time I’ve really had the down time to see Spring clearly—in its entirety and for what it really is. 

I was born in April and so, as a kid, I always connected with spring simply because of that—I liked that it was the pretty and hopeful season, but now I see it’s a lot more complex than that, and it’s really more like me than I thought it was. What I mean is, despite the convincing pitch, spring does not always come as advertised (and if you live in Canada, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s actually pretty filthy at first until the street sweepers get out). 

Like myself, and if you humour me and we imagine spring as a person for a moment, I think it’s fair to say that Spring is not always a morning ‘person’. It can be a groggy, miserable wreck of a thing—one that hits snooze a few too many times before it finally rolls out of bed. One that does so knowing full well that it’s off to a late start and may need to skip the shower, but gets up and out the door anyways, and (eventually) gets back to work—extra-large coffee in hand.  If that’s not admirable, I don’t know what is. 

Spring is really just like all of us. It’s ugly and it’s beautiful. It’s tired and it’s hopeful. It’s…well…before I start reciting Alanis Morissette lyrics, let’s just agree to celebrate that inherent dichotomy, and enjoy a few dandy tunes while we’re at it.



Half Moon Run – How Come My Body

Half Moon Run was one of the last live ticketed events I was fortunate enough to attend before the live music business, and the rest of the world, effectively shut down—and what a show it was. I had regrettably missed them a few times throughout previous tours due to bad excuses, but the last time was an unexpected cancellation on their behalf. They had played Regina the night prior, and then proceeded to cancel the remaining dates of the tour, leaving the Saskatoon show to be rescheduled (thanks a lot, Regina). Sorry, I just had to get that jab in there. Anyways, when they returned the following year to Saskatoon, I was finally able to catch them live, and the show was unbelievable—the energy, the musicianship, the sound was all basically perfect. I would seriously not recommend missing them if you ever have a chance to attend a show. Since that show, they have been busy and have released several EPs, as well as one to be released later this year. The first single is ‘How Come My Body’—a succinct, vulnerable, gorgeous teaser of what’s to come. I chose to share it not only because its been on repeat for me the last few weeks, but also because it highlights those awkward, uncomfortable stages of growing up, much like the turmoil we see from spring so often. In a recent interview with Exclaim!, Half Moon Run’s frontman Devon Portielje described that difficult metamorphosis we as people endure as we transition from adolescence to adulthood to be at the heart of this beautiful little song, and that’s a sentiment I imagine Spring could empathize with if, you know, it had a body.



My Morning Jacket – Spinning My Wheels

MMJ is an all-time favourite of mine. I love EVERYTHING they do, and so I was thrilled when they released The Waterfall II last Summer and I had some fantastic music to help me cope with the limitations of our newly-adapted lifestyle. A year later, this heart-wrenching song certainly resonates with me now more than ever. Back in late November of 2020, much to my surprise, I wrote a Christmas song (see ‘Staying Home This Christmas’) and like a lunatic, I decided to write, record, and release it in a matter of a few weeks—so December WAS busy. After Christmas, however, with the ensuing lockdowns and the heightened risks of travelling, it became clear that I wouldn’t be finishing the full album, which I’d been working on writing since last spring, anytime soon. Making an album always takes more time than one would expect, but in a world where so many things are currently at a stand still, I must admit that I had hoped to be able to put more time into recording these songs at this point. Alas, it just hasn’t been in the cards, and reaching that one-year point since I began writing has certainly been a wake-up call. These lyrics really do speak to my feelings, and perhaps the feelings many of us are having as our plans and goals continue to reside in limbo for the time being:

“I held white snow in the palm of my hand
And watched it turn back into water again.

Just spinning my wheels, just spinning my wheels, just spinning my wheels

Gotta find a way out—A way out of here.”

Perhaps the most impactful part of this song, however, is its idyllic resolution. In the end, the narrator chooses a path of hope rather than defeat by vowing to look towards a new day instead of dwelling on his troubled past. May we all go forward with such grace this spring! Have a listen:



Plants and Animals – Flowers

I like to think I’ve chosen to share this little gem not only because it’s called ‘Flowers’ (although, I must admit that’s probably what brought it to mind), but primarily for the undeniable spring feel the song has. Again, this song is equal parts lovely and melancholy. Somehow, the constant refrain “Oh, we’ll all be together, or we’ll never be together again” has the power to provide hope and despair in the same breathe, and it seems to me to be a mantra that is all too real for today and the world we presently find ourselves in. 



Foxwarren – Sunset Canyon

It’s no secret: I am a massive Andy Shauf fan. I think he’s one of the best songwriters in music—period. The fact that he is also a small-town Saskatchewan boy is really just icing on the cake. Much like his solo catalogue, his work with the band Foxwarren is brilliant. Their self-titled 2018 record is a staple in my personal record collection, and one I strongly encourage you to have a full listen through if you haven’t yet. Paired with a serene, nature-themed music video featuring Busy Philipps, ‘Sunset Canyon’ is a laid-back, introspective tune which pairs nicely with a nice spring walk or jog.  



Hannah Cohen – This Is Your Life

Speaking of Andy Shauf, I had the pleasure of seeing Hannah Cohen support him at Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon a few years back, and I became an instant fan. Accompanied by her band and the exceptional Sam Evian, who also produced her wonderful album ‘Welcome Home’, she has an absolutely pure voice and is not only an entrancing performer, but a gifted songwriter as well. Her song “This Is Your Life” is the first track on the aforementioned record and was an easy choice for this list. In keeping with the theme of waking up and going for it, this track is about taking action, taking risks, and creating your own destiny in the face of adversity—an apt message for those who are looking for some extra motivation this spring! 



Said The Whale – Wake Up 

This song is about—you guessed it—waking up!  With chants of ‘Wake Up’ and the persistent refrain, ‘Time makes all things fall together. Time brings all things together’, it’s a perfect anthem for springtime and for waking up my boy every morning for school (I don’t do this, but I may start). There is a slow-growing energy and drive to this one which takes you on an interesting sonic adventure, to which I say, what a way to start the day! Check out the video below to see Said The Whale’s very own Ben Worcester making what looks to be a delicious pot of coffee in a French press, not unlike the one I use most mornings…when I wake up early enough, that is. 


My Morning Jacket – Spring (Among The Living)

These guys clearly were meant for this blog, and I clearly couldn’t help but include another atmospheric banger like this from them. This one is a slow burn but worth the ride and an obvious choice. Check out these tailor-made lyrics:

“Boy, I was ready. Boy, I was ready for spring. Its beauty changes—changes everything. Done hibernating. We animals roam out of our holes. Then we spend all spring looking for the next one to go down.”

“Among the living. Among the living again. Out in the light of day’s warm embrace. What a gift!”

What a gift, indeed! With all the figurative examples I’ve used today to exemplify spring and what it means to me, I think this is a nice tone to end on: literal AND positive. Despite all the work I’ve put into making the case that spring is not all rainbows and flowers, when it comes down to it, it’s undeniable: spring really IS beautiful, growing pains and all. It just is–and I wish you all the very best one yet!



Dillon



Dillon Currie

  • HALF MOON RUN – HOW COME MY BODY
  • MY MORNING JACKET – SPINNING MY WHEELS
  • PLANTS AND ANIMALS – FLOWERS
  • FOXWARREN – SUNSET CANYON
  • HANNAH COHEN – THIS IS YOUR LIFE
  • SAID THE WHALE – WAKE UP
  • MY MORNING JACKET – SPRING (AMONG THE LIVING)

Winter Songs – Eric Anderson


Rhett: My friendship with Eric started out different than most. He moved to the southwest in my grade 10 year and became my high school English teacher. While I likely can’t give you a full synopsis of The Chrysalids or Julius Caesar (Beware the Ides of March, am I right?), I did learn some things with Eric at the helm. Most importantly, I learned that listening to music could be a hobby all on its own. Up to that point, music was either something you learned to make yourself (ie. learn an instrument or take singing lessons) or a background soundtrack to other things I was doing. But Eric treated it as something more than that. He was going to live shows, travelling to watch bands he liked and to check out different venues. He had a sound system set up in the classroom and he always had an “Album of the Week” written on the board that we were able to put on while we did work. Band posters from the likes of Wilco, Broken Social Scene, and Neko Case covered the classroom walls.  He knew about the bands, he had their vinyl at home, and he likely had a beer stained t-shirt in his closet from their most recent concert. 

Since moving on from teaching a year later Eric and I became good friends. From Mr. Anderson to Andy. He is one of the first people I text when a band I like is coming to town and we often (before COVID) meet up at the record store to do some perusing before heading to a pub for a beer. Almost every time we go Eric buys an extra record and then gives it to me once we get outside. He is a wonderful, cheerful, generous person and I can’t wait for you to give his piece a read! I’ve asked him to focus on the theme of “Winter Music” as we start to wind down on another season. (PS. Check out Eric’s podcast “YXE Underground” wherever you listen to podcasts!)


Eric: I think winter lends itself to getting to know an album better because we are in our homes for weeks and months on end. What else are you going to do when it’s minus 40 outside? I mean, you could watch Netflix or read a book or assemble a puzzle I suppose, but isn’t taking a record out of its sleeve, dropping the needle on your turntable and getting cozy with the liner notes sound way more enjoyable? Awkward silence…

Ok, maybe it’s just me, but I have been listening to a lot more albums this winter and so I feel adequately prepared to suggest a few songs that I think lend themselves to Saskatchewan winters. 

Just a quick note before we dive in. I’m a big believer/dork when it comes to the sequence of songs so I hope you’re able to enjoy these songs in this order!



The Weakerthans – “Sun in an Empty Room” from the album, ‘Reunion Tour.’

Winnipeg bands understand the importance of a cold winter. It’s a time to write, rehearse and record music and The Weakerthans are one of that city’s best exports. This is one of my wife’s favourite songs and she especially loves the line, “Know the things we need to say – Been said already anyway – By parallelograms of light – On walls that we repainted white.” At our old house, we would open the front door on chilly days to let in streams of light through the screen door that would instantly warm up the kitchen and provide perfect napping spots for our dog, Fred. John K. Samson sure knows how to write a memorable line. 



The Constantines – “Soon Enough” from the album, ‘Tournament of Hearts.’

When the NHL season was cancelled in 2004/2005, curling was thrust into the Canadian sporting spotlight and served as the inspiration for The Constantines’ third album. Tournament of Hearts is a fantastic album by one of our country’s most amazing live bands, and this song makes me think of winter as Bry Webb sings about a gentleman hoping his future daughter will one day win Canada’s national women’s curling championship. It’s a great song about a great sport performed by an incredible band.



Gord Downie – “Retrace” from the album, ‘The Grand Bounce.’

There’s a great line in this song from Gord Downie’s third solo album where he mentions a snowy basketball court and it always reminds me of the basketball court behind my childhood house in Swift Current. It was full of snow and yet the rims were just waiting for kids to come and shoot layups. You could also see the footprints of every neighbourhood kid walking across the court on their way to school. Downie sings about retracing his steps, which I think lends itself to winter as it offers us time to reflect. This song is gorgeous and comes near the end of a really adventurous album from a gifted artist. 



Leif Vollebekk – “Big Sky Country” from the album, ‘Twin Solitude.’

One of the last concerts I saw before the pandemic was Vollebekk at Saskatoon’s Broadway Theatre as part of the Winterruption Festival and he put on an amazing show. This song from his 2017 album paints a stunning photo of wide-open prairie skies wrapped in the warm, mellow sound of keys and drums. It begs to be enjoyed with a glass of brandy beside a fireplace. 



Radiohead – “Give Up The Ghost” from the album, ‘The King of Limbs.’

Since you’re already by the fireplace, enjoy this stunner by Radiohead. Full disclosure, Rhett could have asked me for a list of songs relating to pretty much everything and I would find a way to incorporate a Radiohead song. Songs about cats? Myxomatosis. Songs about existential dread? Climbing Up the Walls. 

In this case, Give Up The Ghost sees lead singer Thom Yorke tapping into his love of Neil Young for an acoustic slow burner that shows off his incredible voice. Bonus marks for the birds singing at the beginning and end of the song. I may have become a backyard birder this winter. My wife is thrilled. 

Also, this song comes from an album that I think is criminally underrated within Radiohead’s discography. I love The King of Limbs and after four or five listens I think you will too.



Interpol – “Hands Away” from the album ‘Turn On The Bright Lights.’ 

This song sounds cold in the best possible way. The way the band’s guitars sound so steely and distant makes me think of a vast winter landscape and when the synthesizers fade in…it’s just perfect. It’s frigid, desolate and over in just under three minutes. If only our winters were that short. 

Also, this is one of my Desert Island Albums. Please listen to it on headphones. 


Sarah Harmer – “Washington” from the album, ‘Oh Little Fire.’

This is one of my favourite songs from Sarah Harmer (who I had the pleasure of interviewing once when I worked for CBC Radio and she is delightful. I also once took a bus from Prague to Amsterdam to see her live and still have the photo of the two of us in my office. Yeah…I love Sarah Harmer).

The back story is a group of Harmer’s friends drove from Ontario to Washington for President Obama’s inauguration in 2008 but she decided to stay behind. Harmer has this gift of placing listeners right in the middle of a story and this is no exception. She lists the reasons why she chooses to stay home while her friend braves the winter weather on his way to America’s capitol.

“Cause the fire needed tending and the windows are so wide. Sometimes I feel I’m in the world when I’m looking from inside. I will pack down the snow, make a path to the road and thing of the long ride. I hope you don’t need snow tires through the Pennsylvania night.”

Sarah Harmer…A national treasure.


The Deep Dark Woods – “The Winter Has Passed” from the album, ‘Yarrow.’

This song may be a little on point but it’s really gorgeous. Ryan Boldt’s deep baritone makes you grateful for making it through another winter and the hope that comes with spring. There’s something hypnotic about The Winter Has Passed, which is found at the end of a fantastic album. The chorus has great harmonies and listening to it now reminds me that it has been four years since this Saskatoon band has released new music. I hope that changes soon. 


Thanks again to Rhett for asking me to choose some of my favourite winter songs! 

Eric



Winter Songs

  • THE WEAKERTHANS – “SUN IN AN EMPTY ROOM” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘REUNION TOUR.’
  • THE CONSTANTINES – “SOON ENOUGH” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS.’
  • GORD DOWNIE – “RETRACE” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘THE GRAND BOUNCE.’
  • LEIF VOLLEBEKK – “BIG SKY COUNTRY” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘TWIN SOLITUDE.’
  • RADIOHEAD – “GIVE UP THE GHOST” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘THE KING OF LIMBS.’
  • INTERPOL – “HANDS AWAY” FROM THE ALBUM ‘TURN ON THE BRIGHT LIGHTS.’ 
  • SARAH HARMER – “WASHINGTON” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘OH LITTLE FIRE.’
  • THE DEEP DARK WOODS – “THE WINTER HAS PASSED” FROM THE ALBUM, ‘YARROW.’