O, Canada, we thank you for your music

Brand new #ThematicStatic sponsor, Eastside Bowl — a vast, multi-purpose playground in Madison that’s home to bowling lanes, a diner, a bar, an arcade and a music venue — hosted “Neil Night 2022” on February 24. On that occasion, an assembly of talented locals, plus special guests, played impassioned covers that honored the dual citizenship of Canadian-American rock bard Neil Young. (ICYMI, Young has been in the news a lot lately, not just for his new record with Crazy Horse, but also for pulling his music from Spotify. Lucky for you, the FM dial, including 91.ONE, still rocks in the free world and plays Neil Young tracks.🤘🏻)

In advance of Thursday’s show, I was thinking of other amazing Canadian artists, and you also lobbed some great requests my way to build a super themed set. Stream the February 24 #ThematicStatic 👇🏼 and weigh in (on Instagram, Twitter or via voice memo) to request a song for next week’s theme: sexy saxophone solos!

Learn more about Eastside Bowl in this piece by The Tennessean‘s Dave Paulson. Thinking about the shepherd’s pies on the venue’s menu just might make you want to visit.

#ThematicStatic Playlist

Broken Social Scene – “7/4 (Shoreline)” – I kicked off the show with a request from Jenny, who had this air-tight rationale on Twitter re: the Toronto supergroup that spawned other successful acts including Feist and Metric:

Lots of candidates, but this has the best
Canadian bang for the buck
(by having the most Canadians)

Listener Jenny requesting Broken Social Scene

Kathleen Edwards – “Options Open” – Listen to the whole album Total Freedom, which Edwards recorded after a many-year hiatus and the end of a marriage, and thank Maren Morris for inspiring the artist known as “Kitty” to get back into this songwriting game she so dominates.

Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Down at the Khyber” – Before this request on Twitter, I’d honestly never heard this artist, and I am now springboard diving into the discography of the Halifax native who often references his Atlantic Canadian hometown in his tunes, including this one.

Stars – “Pretender” – This is a brand new song from celebrated Montreal group Stars, who will release their first record in five years, From Capelton Hill, in May. To say that their 2004 release Set Yourself on Fire shreds my heartstrings is an understatement, so I can’t wait to be destroyed again in late May.

Gordon Lightfoot – “Sundown” – Neil on Twitter reminded me of this 1974 folk-rock hit by the future Canadian Musician Hall of Famer from a small lake town in Ontario.

New Pornographers – “Letter From An Occupant” – This is my pick from yet another Canadian supergroup, from their smash early 21st Century debut Mass Romantic. Do the singers Neko Case and A.C. (Carl) Newman ring any bells? Yeah, this Vancouver band is stacked with talent. Here they are playing this tune live during their Mass Romantic/Twin Cinema anniversary tour late last year:

The Weakerthans – “Plea From a Cat Named Virtue” – Just as fitting on last week’s Songs about Cats #ThematicStatic, this request of Jon’s (also a tribute to newer friend Lindsey, with whom I bonded over love for the sort of obscure Winnepeg emo/indie rockers) is written from the perspective of a depressed person’s cat. RELATABLE.

KAYTRANADA ft. H.E.R. – “Intimidated”
– You’re hearing this one a lot on WNXP, since it’s new and it rules. Did you know Haitian-born producer Louis Kevin Celestin (who makes music as KAYTRANADA) is based in Montreal?

PUP – “Robot Writes a Love Song” – This is also a new single from Toronto punk rockers PUP, which stands for “Pathetic Use of Potential”. ALSO RELATABLE. Their new record is out April 1. Dig this pure poetry:

Oh, the first time I saw you, I confess
You nearly put me into cardiac arrest
It was way too much data to process
And oh, I’m wearing cargo shorts down in Florida
Please tell me, is there any room in your aorta
For a beta test?

“Robot Writes a Love Song”

Cowboy Junkies – “Sweet Jane” – I served up this honey-dripping Velvet Underground cover from a female-fronted, late-’80s/early-’90s band also out of Toronto.

Neil Young – “Cinnamon Girl” – Let’s end with the GOAT, braying as he does about paramours like this unnamed aromatic lady. (ICYMI, this song also made an appearance on an edition of #ThematicStatic when I took you to Flavor Town.) Let’s chow down on a live Crazy Horse recording of “Cinnamon Girl” from 30-ish years ago, including some fervent fist-pumping from the crowd. Classic:

We Could Go On and On

Other notable Canucks who made and/or make sweet music:

  • The Band
  • Sum 41 – Requested by a listener on Instagram!
    k.d. lang
  • The Bloggers – Listener Drew in Kentucky said he can’t get enough of this song, “Crazy Glue”:
  • The Guess Who
  • Allison Russell
  • Sloan – Requested by a listener on Instagram!
  • Rush – You don’t have to like it, but you should probably at least respect “Spirit of Radio.” Here you go:
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Hawksley Workman
  • Nelly Furtado – Requested by Nancy via Instagram!
  • Shania Twain – You’re welcome, internet:

  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • OLP – Requested by Zach via Instagram!
  • Chad VanGaalen – I first saw this lovably eccentric Sub Pop Records artist in Atlanta on his 2006 Skelliconnection tour. His 2021 release is The Worst Gardener in the World, an homage to COVID-era hobbies. From Skelliconnection “Flower Gardens”:
  • Arcade Fire
  • Alvvays
  • OK, OK, Avril Lavigne and Drake, you make this list, too.