Saturday, 24 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: THANK YOU!

Well, that was a fun few weeks. Thanks to all the people we reached out to directly for giving us their top five lists for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Thanks to all of you who read these wacky posts and left your ideas and suggestions. And thanks especially to Kenna Burima and One Yellow Rabbit for partnering with us on this fine thing we're doing.

We kind of thought that when we started this, we were just working on creating a list of 30 songs for the upcoming festivities in next year's 30th anniversary High Performance Rodeo. Along the way, though, we got to be reminded of a whole bunch of great music that we had forgotten about - or didn't know about in the first place. We also assembled a long list of just under 200 bands and musicians for consideration, and probably close to 250 songs. And there were some wonderful offshoot discussions that we had, one of which resulted in the creation of an extensive list of women who have contributed to our music scene.

Sure, there's stuff we're kind of surprised wasn't mentioned, but there's also a lot of stuff that was brought forward which, well, is going to make it tricky to thin down to 30 songs.

So what's next? From here, we're going to sift through the recommendations and look at areas where there's consensus about which bands and songs should be included. Part of what we'll be looking it is the relevance of the bands/songs, their diversity and, uh, how good they'll sound on the Calgary Tower carillon. As much as we love the Primrods' Barbet Lad, we're not sure that one would translate that well.

Keep watching the blog here for updates on the project over the next few months. The final list of 30 songs to celebrate 30 years will be unveiled at the launch of the High Performance Rodeo on January 7, 2016.

Thanks again!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: CJSW Picks

Today marks the start of one of our favourite times of year, along with Sled Island and Poutine Week. It's the kick off for CJSW's annual funding drive! Which means we'll be pledging our hearts and wallets out (especially so we can get this year's awesome live sessions CD set - and also because they've helped to make the entire VOX archive available online in a way we never could quite achieve).

In celebration of funding drive, we're going to focus on what a bunch of CJSW peeps think we should include in the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project...

Geneviève Dale - Program Director, CJSW
Walking on Ayr by Lab Coast: This song is perfect. What? Did you say something in opposition? I couldn't hear the details of it over the sound of you being WRONG. This song rules.
Silhouettes by Viet Cong: The band name bugs me so much, but I love this song. Soaring wolf-cry vocals, driving guitars, and unrelenting drums that crash and rise up and then become melodic again.
Dial Tone by Teledrome: This hits my eighties buttons completely. It just sounds so cool, you know?!
Dance Community by Shaani Cage: This song is about having fun and connecting with people who you love. It's soulful, sexy, and waaaay fun.
Guided by Volume by Napalmpom: It's just such a rocking, joyous, anthem of powerful, powerful love. You can't feel bad when you hear it.

Whitney Ota- Music Director CJSW 90.9 FM, Co-Owner Unit Structure Sound Recordings, Musician Yankee Yankee + Burro
Valiska - Clearing  
Bog Bodies - Blood Suds and Bone Shavings
Fuck Off Dad - A1 
Christine Leonard-Cripps - Journalist, Freelance writer (FFWD, Beatroute), Broadcaster (CJSW), Archivist.... Mother, Wife, Lover, Fighter....
Cowpuncher- Raised on Rock and Roll
A Team - IV proud albertans
Highkicks - Good Life
Primrods- Atom Smacker OR Take It Outside
 The Summerlad - City of Noise
Honorable mentions:
Double Fuzz- mountain
Double Fuzz - alone in my city
Skin Barn- Another Day
Adam Kamis - Musician, CJSW & club DJ, goes to lots of good shows.
The Primrods – Alright Tokyo!
Women – Black Rice
Forbidden Dimension – Mars Is Heaven
SIDS – Davidian Branch
OK Jazz – Pioneer Valour
Sarah Kitteringham - Writer and Editor, BeatRoute Magazine, Iron Fist and Noisey. Musician - Smoulder. Dark Agnes on CJSW 90.9's Doom What Thou Wilt.
1. Beija Flor - "Miss May" from the Quiet One and the Lonely One (2005)
2. Beyond Possession - "Final Daze" from ....Is Beyond Possession (1986)
3. Clinton St. John - "No Grand Scheme" from The Minor Arkhama (2014)
4. The Neighbourhood Council - "M is for Matroshika" from Live at CJSW (2008)
5. HROM - "Citadel of Heroes" from The Legend of Powerheart (2015)
6. Thorazine - "Fifth Victim" from Geneticide
7. Chad VanGaalen - "Clinically Dead" from Infiniheart (2002)

8. Viathyn - "The Coachmen" from Cynosure (2014)
9. Women -"Lawncare" from Women (2008)
10. Mares of Thrace - "Act II: Bathsheba's Reply to David" from the Pilgrimage (2012)

Those are some excellent choices all the way through. We're happy to see Summerlad's City of Noise show up, if only because of its connections to the High Performance Rodeo.

Today is the last day to get your picks in for the Calgary Songs Project - leave a comment below and let us know what we should include!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: The Final Stretch

We've been listening to a LOT of music from Calgarians recently, even more than usual. We've been thrilled at the response from people who have given us their ideas for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, and it's reminded us of stuff we had forgotten - as well as pointing us to stuff we had never heard of before. So thanks for all of your input over the past two and half weeks.

We have two more days for you to give us your ideas, and then on Saturday we'll be posting a wrap up and making sure the complete list is up for your perusal. Until then... let's look at some more picks!

Les Seminuk - Former Calgary Folk Festival General Manager and 19 years as CBC Calgary music dude
1. Gun metal grey..Lorrie Matheson.he has been an integral part of the scene since he arrived from sask. As a performer, band member with a host of others, and as a producer and engineer.
2. Insensitive..Jann Arden. No song changed more lives in calgary...
3. Extreme to me..Kris demeanor. Just a fine example of his work, he has crossed all the artistic boundaries in this town with integrity and style.
4. Rolling stone...Reuben and the dark. maybe the best of a great crop of the last few years

5. It's enough to be remembered. Tim Williams. One of the best songs I've ever heard about bring a musician from the hardest working and inspirational performer to ever call this town his home.
Joelle May - Publicist, Mod May Productions
Heather Blush & the Uppercuts - My Favorite Addiction

Jenny Allen - Beautiful Mess
The Bownesians - "He’s from Bowness, she’s from Montgomery”
Scott McLeod - Drank the Ocean Dry
Kaley Kinjo - Afraid
Lorrie Matheson - Fan

1. Levitation - the Quitters
2. Greg Ginn's Sweater - Napalmpom
3. TNT - Wagbeard
4. Down With Safe - Hot Little Rocket
5. Wake Up Honolulu - Jay Crocker and the Electric Apes
Lee Shedden - Musician
5: Hard Part of Town by Tom Phillips
4: Not Enough People by High Kicks
3: Darwin Bonoparte by Wagbeard
2: Sadie Hawkins by National Dust

1: Loss Leaders by Night Committee
Honourable Mention: Insensitive, Jann Arden/Anne Loree

Mike Fury - Musician
Canadian Man - Steve Pineo

When the Lights Go Out - Eve Hell and the Razors
Rumblin' Down - Agriculture Club
Jesus Started Drinking - Plaid Tongued Devils
I Need a Woman - Johnny V and the Houserockers

We find it fascinating that as much as we see some artists and songs popping up over and over (we have a pile of mentions for Anne Loree/Jann Arden's Insensitive - rightly so, we think), that we're also seeing a lot of new picks. So much fun - and you've got two days left to leave us another idea below!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Three Days Left For Submissions!

Well, we're heading into the final stretch of the public input phase of the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. After this, we'll consult the runes to come up with our final list of 30 songs, and Kenna will head into her magic castle and prepare the composition for the carillon. Exciting times!

Of course, we still have a bunch of top 5's (and, top 10's. And, uh, top 12's) to share with you. So, onwards!

Lori Hahnel - Writer
“What a Way to Run a Railroad” -- Huevos Rancheros
“Hillcrest Mine” – James Keelaghan
“Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” -- Karl Roth

“Armando’s Fire” -- Oscar Lopez
“The Fool is the Last One to Know” – Billy Cowsill and the Blue Shadows
Chris Vail - Musician, No Baby
The Primrods "Alright Tokyo"
Straight "The Obvious Things"
The New 1-2 "Pressures On The Eye"
Ryan Bourne "Many Creatures"

Aaron Booth "Sleep In Cinescope"
Dave Muir - Sloth Records
The Sturgeons - Punk Rock Virgins
The Quitters - Feel Alright
Forbidden Dimension - 13 Bloody Graves
Color Me Psycho - Sacred Valley Penetration
The Daggers - Nowhere to Go
The Neckers - Have Love Will Travel
Wagbeard - Alpha
Von Zippers - Bad Generation
Knucklehead - North of the 54

Squat - I Hope You Die
Fake Cops - Snake Eyes
Pussy Monster - Pussy Machine
Eddie Dalrymple - Melodiya Records

Lucid 44 - Yellow Dress
Stalwart Sons - Shared Cup
SIDS - Who ya gonna take to the prom
Chad Vangaalen - Graveyard
Mount Analogue - Mother Fluxus
Jeff Burns - Recordist
The Quitters - Levitation
The Parkades - Attack Me
Primrods - Santa Lucia
The Von Zippers - Cracked Judy

Beagle Ranch - Mr. Ordinary World

Well, that's a pretty long list - and a bunch of stuff that hadn't been mentioned yet. What else are we missing? Let us know in the comments below!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Displaced Calgarians

It's kind of fun to be waking up this morning to a country that's not being led by a degenerate, but also kind of crappy to be waking up in a city that's still a stronghold of Conservative support. It kind of makes us wish we lived somewhere else. Which is why today's post for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project is all about folks who have left our fair city for other destinations. What songs would they include in our final playlist of 30? Well, let's find out!

Mark Macarthur - Executive Producer, CBC Music (and former Hot Little Rocket bassist)
Chad VanGaalen "Willow Tree" from Soft Airplane (2006)
The Dudes "Dropkick Queen Of The Weekend" from Beepuncher EP (2003)
Colour Me Psycho "Black Corvair" from Kiss Me Then (1986)

Jane Vain & The Dark Matter "C'mon Baby Say Bang Bang" (2007)
Tegan And Sara "Walking With A Ghost" (2004)

Greg Kushner - Musician, DJ, Junior High Drama Teacher. Footnote (if he's lucky..).
Delusions of Reality - "Moondog" Amazing. Complex. Epic. Perfect.
Dixie's Death Pool - "Kool Whip" (if available. If not, then...) "The Golden Pain of Desire" Beautiful outsider music.Exquisite.
Funeral Factory - "Abduction" Easily the most intense performance I have experienced, both on CD and live. Heartbreaking.
Mants - "Mants in Your Pants" An acknowledgement of Calgary's long history of novelty tunes.Brilliant comedy concept.
Same Difference - "Soft in her Silence" The perfect storm of talent, humility and genius. Every show changed lives.

James Martin - Bowness High School class of '88
Kara Keith: "Kick this City"
Huevos Rancheros: "Endsville"
Forbidden Dimension: "Anabelle"
Tegan and Sara: "Walking with a Ghost"
Cripple Creek Fairies: "We Are the Bomb"

Tariq Hussain - Musician
Rae Spoon - Come on Forest Fire, Burn The Disco Down
Women - Black Rice
Reverie Sound Revue - Walking Around, Waiting Downtown

Zuckerbaby - Andromeda
Dragon Fli Empire - Mount Pleasant
It's kind of amazing that it's taken about two weeks before anyone has mentioned Zuckerbaby. What do you think? Are they worthy of the final Calgary Songs Project list?

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Into the Forbidden Dimension!

Today for our ongoing search for 30 songs to include in the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, we reached out to our pals in the Forbidden Dimension. Why? Well, we're not entirely sure. We thought they'd have some interesting stuff to share. And, by gum, they did! Well, they took things in a bit of an interesting direction, but, hey, when your band is almost 30 years old, you're allowed to have a certain range of freedom.
We call this one Five Characters In Search of an Epitaph...once you could find them in Calgary, but now you could only find the Twilight Zone. (The Louisiana was kind of a character in a way...and sort of its own Twilight Zone as well!)
Virginia Dentata:

Cal Levitt: My favourite memories of Cal was last call at the Ship where he'd be dancing on the table tops. I saw a picture of him in a suit when he was a young engineer and he reminded me of a very handsome, young Jack Palance. Era: 90s
P.T. Bonham (the Most Nostalgic One):
The 5 Star Bag Lady: She was a somewhat scary woman who perpetually wore sunglasses and a hat adorned with 5 plastic stars. She was the first shopping cart person that I ever encountered. People said she was actually a millionaire. Probably not. Era: early 80's.
The Whooper: The Whooper was a conservatively dressed older man who tirelessly walked the streets of down-town, usually with a shopping bag in each hand. Every block or two he would give forth with a lusty Stampede-style "WHOOOP!" I'm guessing the bus drivers knew him pretty well. Era: early 80's.
The Louisiana: Located in the Motel Village this was a somewhat impossible combination of great Cajun food and low prices. Run a bit haphazardly by a small family the only downside to eating there was being interrogated by the precocious daughter. Re-surfaced briefly on 10th Street in Kensington but it just wasn't the same. I still dream of the Louisiana rice 'n' beans to this day. Era: mid 90's?
Jackson Phibes:
Disco Grandma: Often seen shakin' it on down in a strawberry-coloured wig, hot pants and go-go boots, dancing with her reflection in the big mirrors to the music wafting out from the nearby Sam the Record Man in TD Square. Era: 80s.
P. T. Bonham's Top 5 Calgary Songs:
Bubble Gum - Ex Boyfriends: Mike Paton's most awful guitar sound in the world turns into the most beautiful Johnnie Marr impression ever in the chorus. Plus Jean's backups - this was my fave version of the TXBFS.
Boner - El Caminos: they took the best punk idea ever (1/2 the song is full time the other 1/2 is ... 1/2 time) from the Bad Brains and made a whole band out of it. Plus Kamil is Calgary's Mark E. Smith.
Mom, Dad and the Kids: Eye on You: Kids is pronounced kayyyy-ids. That's why.
The Submersibles: the New 1-2: A perfect song made even more perfect by Toby's 4 second stick on rim solo. If there was a Canadian equivalent of the English expression "The Dog's Bollocks" I'd use it to describe this masterpiece. 
Eyeballs - Thee Cryptics: Ian Manhire is a really great songwriter. This is the only one I can remember the name of.
Virginia Dendata's Top 5 Calgary Songs:
Ramblin’ Ambassadors - The Hairless Cat 
Von Zippers - Insect Idol
Color Me Psycho - My Favorite Nightmare
The Brenda Vaqueros - The very last song in the set at the Palomino before Adam moved to Vancouver left an indelible impression on me and I’m sorry that I don’t recall the title. (Kenna's Note: Virginia, thank so much for including this song. It was "All Over Now" by X from Australia, so sadly NOT a Calgary song)
 The Shiverettes – Stephen Harper Suck My Dick

Both Color Me Psycho and Forbidden Dimension have kept showing up on other peoples' top 5 lists, and they're among the bands where it's going to be tricky to settle on one song if they make the cut. Color Me Psycho's Black Corvair and Sacred Valley Penetration both have been suggested, and Forbidden Dimension songs that have been mentioned so far ar Dial "M" For MonsterTonight I Paint In Flesh ColourMartian Death Saucer and 13 Bloody Graves. Which would you choose? Let us know below!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Record Collectors' Top 5s

Here's another quick way out of a sticky situation (for example, trying to figure out which 30 songs best represent our city over the past 30 years) - ask a record collector! Record collectors are tremendous sources of information and ridiculously inane trivia. So, we asked a few of our vinylphile pals what they thought we should include in the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Here's what we got:

Dan Northfield - Bookings, Concorde Group
Von Zippers - Megavolt
The Dudes - Drop Kick Queen of the Weekend
Reverie Sound Revue - Walking Around Waiting Downtown
Wagbeard - Too Easy
Field Day - Enough for Two
The Neckers - Repeat Last Summer
Baron Mark Von Frankenstine XIII - Dictator, Cannibal, Philanthropist
1) Huevos Rancheros – “Go West Young Bee” (1994) Get a load o’ this sideways take on the national anthem by a much missed local institution. This song should be as famous across Canada as Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” is south of the border.
2) The Von Zippers – “Nothing Can Bring Me Down” (2011) Compiling a list of noteworthy Calgary tunes released post-1986 would be pointless without a tip of the hat to The Von Zippers. They’ve managed to remain consistently relevant throughout a career spanning across three decades, and they released some of their most vital material (this 7” especially) in the past few years.
3) Chixdiggit – “Shadowy Bangers from a Shadowy Duplex” (1996) Nothing quite speaks to the Calgary experience quite like this ode to shady neighbours hailing from some dingy (probably illegal) basement secondary suite.
4) The Parkades – “The Man Insane” (1994) I picked this one because I’m shamelessly kissing your ass. I feel no shame because it’s an amazing song, and I doubt anyone else will pick it because it’s too stoopid. Stoopid is way underrated in this modern era where overwrought pretention is the new mediocrity.
5) The Mandates – “Messing Around” (2015) It might seem a little premature to throw on a song this recent. Although it hasn’t got a decade of critical acclaim standing behind it YET, it stands at the forefront of a global movement to bring back fun, un-ironic rock’n’roll music with big hooks and bigger guitars. Forget Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy; the future belongs to The Mandates. This one puts Calgary back on the international rock’n’roll map in the 21st century.
 DJ Leasa Podloski - Turn It Up Records & Hi-Fi! (formerly The Inner Sleeve)
Forbidden Dimension - 13 Bloody Graves (1988): Horror garage of legendary cult proportions! This came from Calgary? I still can’t believe it! I read somewhere that FD are The Beatles of horrorpunk. Yes! One of our cities most unique offerings from the prolific horrific, guitarist, illustrator extraordinaire, Tom Bagley! My favorite 7” pic sleeve and song to see live.
Same Difference - Cigarette (You Say) (1989): This track exemplifies powerhouse vocals interlaced with honest fragility, like only a woman can, and oh, the percussion! A real inspiration for a teen on the scene back then, and what a treat to see them live for the first time at the CJSW 25th Anniversary gig!
Field Day - Pet (1992): I split my chin open skateboarding at the Nutty Club loft downtown while Field Day played, and required three stitches. Surely gig goers have a similar tale! They played pure pop-rocket punk, every weekend, every venue, it seemed, and we were always there. The cassette was the same three tracks on both sides, so you could flip it and play it twice, like I did just now, 23 years later. Timeless memories for many!
Dragon Fli Empire - Mount Pleasant (2002): Hip Hop homage to our city, as observed riding up and down the #2 bus route. Feel good beats and a shout out to the landmark Rosedale Cleaners! This track received a lot of radio play and catapulted DFE into Canadian hip hop, where they remain a driving force. There is a Mount Pleasant in every city, isn’t there? Nice people dwell there. When asked where I reside, I reply Mount Pleasant, ya’ll!
The Ex-Boyfriends - Longer Than Your Memory (2003): What are your songs about? Vocalist DJewel replied, oh, about 2 ½ minutes. I’ll always remember that quote! TXBF hits with relentless guitar and inimitable vocal delivery in a torn leotard with beer soaked lyric sheet. Pure, unadulterated Rock and Roll mania!
There's some seriously good choices in there. Anything you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: A Whole Bunch of Musicians Weigh In

This is one of those embarrassing situations where suddenly you realize that you have a week left for people to give their ideas for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, and you ALSO realize that you're sitting on a crapload of suggestions from folks that you personally reached out to that you haven't shared yet. Oops. Sorry. To make up for that, here's a heckuvapost, with a whole lotta lists for you to mull over, all from Calgary musicians (hey, who better to ask?). Which of these songs deserve to be on our final list of 30 songs to celebrate Calgary and 30 years of the High Performance Rodeo?

Brendan Tincher - The Neckers, The Pygmies
1. Bar-B-Cutie - Huevos Rancheros
2. I Feel Like Gerry Cheevers (I've Got Stitch Marks On My Heart)- Chixdiggit
3. Misbehave - Dojo Workhorse
4. Six Flags - The Primrods
5. Foot and Mouth - The Summerlad

Bob Keelaghan - The Puritans, Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, Muerte Pan Alley
"Can't Remember Names" by Wagbeard
"Vacant" by Straight
"Burn 2 Ash" by Chad VanGaalen
"Mother's Worry" by Color Me Psycho 
"Hillcrest Mine" by James Keelaghan (Yeah, he's my brother, but he deserves an ass-load of credit for what he did as a Calgary indie musician.)
"Mendoza Line" by the Dudes (Honorable mention)

Mary-Lynn Wardle - The Funeral Factory
Cigarette by Same Difference
Sybil for Free by Big Bang Theory
So Elvis by The Funeral Factory (it was not my song, though we credited things equally. It's Religion Darc's.)
Finders Keepers by Lorrie Matheson
Gravity of Ruin by Tom Phillips
Mr. Invisible on it by Colour Me Psycho
Match Made in Hell by The Walking Dead

Dan Vacon - The Dudes, Dojo Workhorse, HighKicks
Sikome Beach - Chixdiggit
the 403? - Great Evil
Blood Machine - Chad VanGaalen

I'm A Truck - A-Team
Let's Play in Traffic - Hot Little Rocket
(Damn it! Also, the Fall by Forest Tate is maybe the best song I've ever heard.)

Chantal Vitalis - Same Difference, Maud, The Lovebullies and Kris Demeanor & his Crack Band

ONE SHOE by Kris Demeanor. The true story of Neil Stonechild, Lloyd Dustyhorn, and a number of other First Nations men in the Saskatoon area found frozen to death after last seen in the company of Saskatoon police officers. A haunting tale sung/told in a manner fittingly detached, remote…

INSENSITIVE by Anne Loree (made famous by Jann Arden). Fabulous melody, great lyrics and something everyone can relate to: Unrecoited love. “I really should have know by the time you drove me home, by the chill in your embrace the expression on your face that told me, maybe you might have some advice on how to be insensitive…” I was there, with a handful of others, the first time Anne played that song live at a jam that Jann Arden was hosting at the now-defunct club Cover to Cover. Jann was blown away by the song, as were we all, and I’m so glad that it received the attention it deserved.

THE FOOL IS THE LAST ONE TO KNOW by Billy Cowsill/Ralph Boyd Johnson. Billy was ADORED by the Calgary music community and this tune, co-written with another favourite Calgary songwriter, Ralph Boyd Johnson, is why. Here’s some info on Billy...
RIBBONS AND BOWS by Tom Phillips. Love this song and love the way he sings it. “If it has to change well, that’s the way it goes. Ribbons and bows can turn into chains…”

MOUNT PLEASANT by Dragon Fli Empire. One of the most ‘Calgary’ songs I know! “Up and down the #2, Killarney 17th Avenue…” That’s MY BUS, dudes!

Daren Powell - Brenda Vaqueros, Beaver Squadron
Color Me Psycho - Sacred Valley Penetration

Sacred Heart of Elvis - Black Snake Moan
Curse of Horseflesh - Liberty's Cannonball
Cripple Creek Fairies - She Sells Stems Cells

Brent Crosson - Brenda Vaqueros, Beaver Squadron
She Sells Stem Cells - Cripple Creek Fairies
Creepsville - Forbidden Dimension
Sin - Sacred Heart of Elvis
Atom Smasher - Primrods
Mr. Invisible - Colour Me Psycho

Phew. That's a lot of stuff for us to go listen to now. We're really happy to see the Sacred Heart of Elvis and Cripple Creek Fairies show up on someone's lists... We also like how no one can seem to agree on which Chixdiggit or Huevos songs should be included!

Anything else we should be considering? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Calgary Music and the Women Who Were There/Are Here

A note from Kenna Burima:
It should come as no surprise that Calgary has been and continues to be home to a bevy of badass women. We reached out to a few of them for their top five favourite Calgary songs and to get some of their thoughts, ponderings and memories on music in Calgary. We’re continuing to collect them, so if you’d like to contribute, make sure to connect with Arif and I. Reading these stories I am struck by what an amazing sense of community we have here in Calgary. I am honoured to be a part of this continuing history.

We start with one of the most important women in my life. One Yellow Rabbit’s fearless leader Ann Connors. I cannot emphasize enough how much respect I have for her and all the women included in this blog. There are many. Thank you for doing what you do.

Much love and respect,

Ann Connors - Managing Director, One Yellow Rabbit and the High Performance Rodeo
I am from and of Newfoundland. Am actually in St. John’s right now for the Festival of New Dance and am writing this post from my hotel room on Signal Hill Rd with a view that looks out over the harbour. If this was July during the St. John’s Sound Symposium the tugboats would right about this time be playing a harbour symphony composed by a Newfoundland musician.
So you see, music is deeply engrained in my culture; it is in my bones. It has been a part of my life that goes back as far as I can remember – when as a toddler the only way I could tell my mother’s identical twin brothers apart was I knew that Uncle Cyril played the fiddle and Uncle Bill played the spoons. And still to this day, every family gathering ends with a guitar, piano and many songs. And as always, you would be hard pressed to find a pub in downtown St. John’s (or anywhere on the island) on any night of the week where there isn’t some form of music begging you inside– be a gal on a guitar or a dance-up with a fiddler player. It’s everywhere really.
There are a lot of incredible musicians in Newfoundland. So many so that people often say “There must be something in the water”. As I discover more and more Alberta musicians I say “What is up with those mountains?”
I moved to Calgary three years ago. Ship and Anchor, Mickey’s Juke Joint, Ironwood (to name a few) – bursting with live music and cold beer. Wow Calgary – do you ever know how to make a girl feel at home. Since then I have been blessed with countless music events from the Folk Festival to Festival Hall series to the World Music Series and to all great pubs in between and am slowly but surely discovering this incredible music scene. And no surprise to see so many female artists front and centre. After all Calgary – you did give the world Fiest, Jann Arden, Tegan and Sara and so many fabulous female artists – pretty incredible role models for young musicians to follow. It’s a great scene and I fell blessed that it exists.

Nicola Lefevre - Musician (Sequicons, Chick Magnets, TUGS) Founder, Girls Rock Camp Calgary
I started playing in my first band in 1993, a few months after I had started grade 10 at Bishop Carroll High School. My new friends Dan Gaucher (drums) and Mike Hesketh (guitar) had been playing music together for a few years, and wanted to start a new band with another friend PJ Letourneau, and me. Bass and vocals were available, and since PJ wanted to sing, my parents bought me a Vantage short scale bass for my birthday and I tried to figure it out. My bass lessons consisted of a lot of Mike telling me "the third fret on the A string" in those days. We called ourselves "Drew" after Dan's best friend.
I knew there were other women in bands; one of the more prominent bands in the city at the time was Placebo with Leslie Feist, Elescia Eisler and Toby Connoly (and Kieran McCauley as the sole dude.) Just starting out as a contributing musician though, I didn't feel much of a connection yet with anyone in the scene that wasn't already a friend of mine. And my friends were dudes; consequently so was my musical circle.
Mike, Dan and I all had friends in other bands that played pretty regularly, and eventually the day came that we were invited to join a bill with Dayworld and Chixdiggit at the Black Lounge. June 18th, 1994; I know this because I still have the tape that was recorded off the sound board. I was 15, and this would be my first time playing bass guitar on stage. I was nervous, I needed to borrow an amp, I was the only girl, and a big fan of all the other bands on the bill. No matter how many shows I had been to, how many people I knew, how stoked I was on our songs, I did not feel like I belonged there. And that feeling lasted about 5 minutes. Before I even had to ask, one of the other bass players told me he had heard I needed an amp and was welcome to use his. Our friends AND people I didn't know cheered for us. A guy told me he didn't believe I had only been playing for a few months. In the 22 years since that show, I have been told I was "pretty good for a girl" more times than I can count, even now at 37. I have been asked which band my boyfriend was in while carrying my gear into a venue; I've been grabbed and leered at and aggressively propositioned and told I should smile more; but that first show really set the tone for the community I've been a part of for most of my life. And truly, it's an experience I always bring to mind when things seem unrelentingly awful and I wonder about why I should care to even try and help fix it.

Nicola’s Top Five!

1. 20 Something (by Rusty Nails. Technically this band was from Vancouver, but they had a VERY strong connection to this city and were here a lot. This is one of my favourite songs of all time by any band.)
2. You'll Need a Telescope (by Schecky Forme)

And more recently...
3. Sick Daze (by Zackariah and the Prophets)
4. Across the Country (by Miesha and the Spanks)
5. Loss Leaders (by Night Committee)
Special mention, cuz I gotta... "Feint of Heart" by Napalmpom.

Christine Berger - former Night Gallery bartender and all around badass
These women...
With what I thought, coming from a vacuous small town to the bright lights and big city of Calgary, being a young and impressionable teenager, starting at the Night Gallery, I was pretty nervous and intimidated by the incredible talent I was surrounded by.

I remember watching these prodigious women walk into our club with such presence and stature, with gear in hand they would climb onto the stage and stand with what I thought was sheer grandeur and grace. They would either belt out their lyrics or play their instruments with such undulated purpose. I longed to have their courage. They had something to say to the world through their music and I intently wanted to listen and learn. These women with such raw aptitude helped me shape my way through my teens and give me my voice. I'm not sure if they all knew at the the time that they were breaking down barriers and creating new forks in the road for those to travel who might not be so bold, but their actions and presence made it okay for others to follow or break the mold.

I don't want to name names because there were and are so many intoxicating, creative visionaries out there that it's hard to do so, but if you do want a name, I can honestly remember looking up at Kara Keith on stage I thought she was at least 20 feet tall if she were a foot.

I would love to thank all those powerhouse women in the Calgary scene and beyond, those women who gave and still give it their all. I Thank you. X

Onalea Gilbertson – One Yellow Rabbit Ensemble Member, ACTOR, musician singer, Creator, Currently resides in NYCand is performing in the off Broadway show Sleep No More
God. Impossible to say only one musical memory. So I share a kaleidoscope - OYR - meeting and working with all of the freaks lovers brothers - on avant guarde music theatre. Life changing- genre shifting. Singing penultima arcane (in in klezskavania) with giant prosthetic breasts belting a high g! Working/touring in dream machine - all those tender tours - Michael greens America as we walk slowly towards him - no music but yet MUSIC!!! ZAPPA!! What?? Being only girl singing all of the high stuff - really dreaming out w the freaks. Working w all these freaks inspired me to write my own work. BANFF CENTRE 2007 my life changes forever as Morag Northey and Jonathan Lewis play my music with me - first time I play piano in public. RODEO 2010 world premiere REQUIEM FOR A LOST GIRL - written w composer marcel Bergmann and people experiencing homelessness - no words. Unbelievable And life changing. Bring supported in all of this - bringing my shows REQUIEM AND BLANCHE to NYC. Bringing MATA HARI IN 8 bullets ( solo version new creation) to NYC. all life changing. WHY? artists hearts - poetry expression audience discussion - laughter tears FREAKS

What can I say - emotional - abundant and unbelievable

Onalea’s Top Five!

Plaid tongue Devils - in klezskavania " spend a penny"
David Rhymer/Blake Brooker - surrounded by chrome from dream machine
Kris demeanor/ david Rhymer - Vesuvius from " crime does not pay"
Rhymer/Brooker " loneliness" from Mata Hari

Onalea Gilbertson/ Morag Northey -isn't it scandalous" from Blanche the bittersweet life of a wild prairie dame

Honourable Mentions: Illinois enemy bandit from zappa's little creatures/ Michael Green and the shiney beast ensemble

Bonus top 5's!

Vicki Stroich - surfer, dramaturg and Executive Director at Alberta Theatre Projects

They’re a Comin’ - The Dudes - I guess most folks might choose Dropkick Queen of the Weekend, which I also have a strong affection for, but if I were to choose one song by The Dudes that does it for me it’s this one. When I get ornery and rebellious I still sing to myself “It’s alright now, you won’t win and I don’t owe you anything” over and over.

Sunshine Snare Hits - Chad Van Gaalen - I have a CD I bought from Chad when he was playing out on 17th Avenue with a drawing he did of a little body with an analog telephone for a head. He did a panel discussion that I curated once and I remember exchanging an e-mail with him before we met at the University where he said he would be “the really tall, quiet guy.” I picked him out of the crowd immediately. This will always be my favourite of his songs.

Insensitive - performed by Jann Arden - A lovely song, to be sure, performed by one of Calgary’s own great voices but it makes the list for me because the video started an obsession with the Anderson Apartment building that has lasted through my teenage years and my entire adulthood.

Crowchild Trail - Huevos Rancheros - Every all ages gig I ever went to these guys were playing.

Tough Cookie - Samantha Savage Smith - A song for cold nights in February when the snow is falling outside and one is looking for something or someone warm to hold.

Mariel Buckley - Musician 

(and of course Mariel NEVER follows the rules, she's given us her favourite Calgary songwriters. "I'll allow it," says Kenna)

Really, I can't pick five songs specifically, because each of the people I've chosen has an insane catalogue and all of their songs should be put in high praises.

- Billy Cowsill: If you're not listening to Billy, or haven't listened, you're dead inside and not a local country artist. Or maybe you are and just haven't heard. My bad. (*When Will This Heartache End, *The Fool Is The Last One To Know, *Think On It)

- Tom Phillips: Same applies. Genius lyrical abilities, and a golden voice. (Like A Rodeo*)

- The Dudes: Holy fuck, pay attention, these guys are staples of the local scene and have a Christmas Party every year that blows your hair back. Not to forget the side project Dojo Workhorse - love their stuff. (Misbehave* - Dojo)

- Feist: Vocals and composition speak for themselves, she's a real gem and we should be proud as fuck that she came out of our city. (The Bad In Each Other*, When I Was A Young Girl*, Honey Honey*...)

- Tim Leacock: Not sure if I could locate a solo record to boast, but this guy has remained a faithful sideman to almost every notable roots artist in the city and has an incredible catalogue of original material. Flying under the radar may be his way, but I'm hoping to hear a solo record of material in the near future. (Nowhere Radio* - co-write with Tom Phillips)

Colleen Langford - Former Night Gallery Queen

Pussy Monster - Dracula's Teabag: At this time, the Riot Grrrl movement was fervent and totally happening. But not in Calgary. Women had a really difficult time getting any stage time, and despite what we know now about some internal sexism in the band, Pussy Monster was an electrifying Woman's Band! Val's vocals were raw, dirty and messy and she embodied a lot of classic rock machismo mixed with the tongue-in-cheek schoolgirl uniform that really signified the Riot Grrrl movement. Pussy Monster couldn't exactly be categorized as Riot Grrrl though. Their influences were as much English Punk as they were MC5 as they were garage. At any rate, this song still hits me right in the chest. How can you not love a song about used tampons?

At this time, the Riot Grrrl movement was fervent and totally happening. But not in Calgary. Women had a really difficult time getting any stage time, and despite what we know now about some internal sexism in the band, Pussy Monster was an electrifying Woman's Band! Val's vocals were raw, dirty and messy and she embodied a lot of classic rock machismo mixed with the tongue-in-cheek schoolgirl uniform that really signified the Riot Grrrl movement. Pussy Monster couldn't exactly be categorized as Riot Grrrl though. Their influences were as much English Punk as they were MC5 as they were garage. At any rate, this song still hits me right in the chest. How can you not love a song about used tampons?

The Puritans - Dennis Wilson: It was a tough choice between this and Wolloping Dollop. To me, The Puritans really epitomized Calgary rock and roll in the 90s. I'm sure I'd get a fair bit of argument from Von Zippers fans, but The Puritans had this incredible urgency about them, and Dennis Wilson was their signature. All tension and build, this song still makes the hair on my neck stand up.

Earthquake Pills - The Pink Bomb: I'm sure picking this makes me seem like a Chris Temple super fan - and maybe I am - but his voice could easily travel from whimper to bellow with so little effort, and I think of him as a bit of a hometown hero for that reason alone. Earthquake Pills were bit of an anomaly at the time and they're not remembered the same way that garage or novelty, costume-heavy bands from Calgary are. This song is all twee and feelie and still kind of breaks my heart.

The Ex-Boyfriends - Longer Than Your Memory: Calgary's Only Rock and Roll Band! TXBF easily put on the best rock and roll performance in Calgary and I miss seeing them! Djewel is a god and a legend because he knows everything about music and it all pours out when he's live. This one is snotty and sexy and arrogant. Like rock and roll should be.

The Von Zippers - Kill That Guy: I dunno. It's just their best song and they're amazing. But I kind of also wanted to pick The Mants - The Mants.

Dawn Loucks - Cheerleader. Believer in the Karma Economy.

1) Tom Phillips - Ribbons and Bows (or Life is a Rodeo). I truly believe that Tom is one of the best songwriters this city has ever produced. Ribbons and Bows, I think, is one of the best descriptions of the ending of a relationship that I've heard in song ("ribbons and bows have turned into chains..."

2) Lorrie Matheson - Mission to Inglewood. I honestly don't know that Lorrie ever recorded this beyond the 'demo stage'. This was from the 'Brass Tacks' period. We all know what amazing contributions Lorrie has made to the city and scene. This song describes his moving from Mission to Inglewood. So Calgary.

3) Rae Spoon - My heart is a piece of garbage, fight seagulls fight. I can't say enough about what a contribution Rae has made to present the issue of gender identity in a new and different light. And, through that work, Rae has shown the world that Calgary is not quite the place that it has often been 'labelled' as. This song mentions the Calgary Tower.

4) Primrods - I can't remember the song name, but it is the one about the swimming pool that is on the split 10" with Wagbeard (Santa Lucia). These guys were signed to Geffen. Amazing, totally crazy, brilliant.

5) Parkades - Attack Me. Highlighted so many elements of the DIY ethic. I still remember when The Parkades were on Nightlines (David Wisdom) on CBC.

Honorable Mentions - Chris Vail in any of his projects; Kara Keith/Falconhawk; FD.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Steve Elaschuk

Now, we at the CCPS are, as you know by now, the type of people that like to hone in on one joke and tell it over and over again until it's really not funny anymore (in fact, it likely wasn't funny in the first place). SO, without further ado, for today's post in preparation for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, we're turning to one of our favourite people AND one of our favourite people to make fun of, Steve Elaschuk.

See, Steve is a central figure in the Calgary scene, having played the bass guitar on a whole pile of our favourite recordings, and filled in with pretty much every Calgary rock band in the 90's and 00's. He's had a ringside seat for almost the entire 30 years we're covering with this project, and thanks to that he's got endless advice for bands (usually, when to stop playing and hurry off stage), bandmates (just ask Kenna Burima!) and bloggers (usually, when we're wrong about stuff).

So, we had to ask Steve for his top five Calgary songs.

Of course, being who he is, he couldn't stick to the rules, and gave us ten:

Beyond Possession - Skater's Life
Forbidden Dimension - 13 Bloody Graves
Ninth Configuration - Happy

Skin Barn - Another Day
Arm & Hammer - Children's Day

Ded Souls - Green Sweep
Fire Engine Red - Theresa Says
Fire Engine Red - Shank Pony
Primrods - Six Flags
National Dust - Before you Wear The Grindstone Down

A few things about this list strike us: first, several of these bands (Arm & Hammer, Ded Souls, Fire Engine Red) are guys that he went on to play with. Second, he's picked two Fire Engine Red songs (we can count!). Third, he gave us ten songs instead of five. 

So, in return, we're going to give YOU five songs featuring Steve Elaschuk that we think are worthy of the Calgary Songs Project. Or at least a mix tape for your girl/boyfriend.

Wagbeard - Worth: Say what you want, this is hands-down our favourite Wagbeard song. It has helped to ensure that our Wagbeard/Primrods split has received almost equal play on both sides.

Falconhawk - Try a Little Longer: Kara Keith helped remind us that keyboards deserved to be front and centre in rock bands, and while her first CD was bouncy and fun, Steve didn't play on it. As soon as Steve joined the band, she started writing more serious, sober songs. Coincidence?

The Neckers - Share Secrets: Ignoring that painfully awkward music video, this is a great, great slice of exuberant power pop.

Thousandsticks - Begin Again: Thousandsticks was, on paper, a weird band. Fronted by the drummer from Joker and Fire Engine Red, with guitars by a guy from Brass, keyboards by the guitarist from Red Autumn Fall and drums by the guy from Skin Barn, and little Steve Elaschuck thrown into the mix for good measure. BUT - a seriously underrated band. 

The Brenda Vaqueros - Zen Bud: Here's great one. The Brenda Vaqueros were a tremendous force of psych/garage rock. Oh, and that's our Calgary Songs Project co-conspirator, Kenna Burima, on the killer lead vocals.

Oh, plus the Daggers, Earthquake Pills, the Roaming Storms, Elaschuka... the list goes on and on. And if you get a couple of drinks into Steve, he goes on and on as well.

But we really do love him and all he's done for our scene.

So, what's your favourite band that included Steve Elaschuk?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Songs About Calgary

One of the questions we heard almost right away when we announced the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project last week was, "are you looking for songs BY Calgarians or ABOUT Calgary?" To which we reply, "YES!"

Well, that is - we really want songs by Calgarians. But there's a nice subset of songs ABOUT Calgary that we think we should highlight here.

Earlier in the week, Ian Chiclo, past editor of FFWD and VOX magazines recommended Cat Ranch's Song for Calgary, We already posted Chad Saunders' pick for Chicken on the Way by the Golden Calgarians (which is probably disqualified since it was released pre-1986). Tona W. Ohama had suggested Tim Hus' Goin' Back to Calgary:

Both musicians Tariq Hussain and Chantal Vitalis have suggested that we include Dragon Fli Empire's Mount Pleasant in our top 30:

Interestingly, no one has suggested OUR favourite ode to Calgary Transit, The Ted Clarke Five's Number Ten Nirvana.

Anyways, Dan Vacon (of the Dudes and HighKicks) suggested Chixdiggit's Sikome Beach:

We also had someone nominate How Allen Saved the Radio Station by the Bownesians, the telling of an infamous piece of CJSW history. And this ode to anyone who's ever been suck in traffic, Huevos Rancheros' Crowchild Trail:

We also had a commenter on the blog tell us we should include Woodpigeon's ode to our city's favourite phallic symbol, Our Love is as Tall as the Calgary Tower:

But here are a couple that no one has mentioned yet. First, the Browns' American Werewolf in Calgary:

Or the Bittermen's My Last Calgary Winter:

What do you think? Are there any great songs about Calgary by Calgarians that we should include in the Calgary Songs Project?

Edit: we should have included this! How could we have forgotten Danny Vacon's ode to the Calgary rock scene, My Scene's Better Than Your Scene?!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Week One Wrap-Up

Okay, so it hasn't been a full week, but it's Friday and it feels like time for (a) a beer (or more) and (b) some sort of re-cap of stuff that has been suggested on this blog (and elsewhere) as recommendations for inclusion for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. There's been a great response - so thank you! And here are some extra picks that have come in:

An anonymous poster suggested "I Have Seen the Future" by Kris Demeanor, saying "It expresses something primal about the city. It's ugly, and that's a good thing." This is great pick, and timely with spectres of racism rearing their ugly heads in the federal election. 

Another anonymous poster wants us to include Forbidden Dimension's "Dial "M" For Monster", and says: "Ask yourself, does it get any more creepy cool than FD? and damn! that drum machine is so great." Yes. Yes it is. That's one of our favourite FD tracks, but is it THE best?

Booking guru Greg Curtis decided to go all out - which makes sense, considering how long he's been putting on shows in this city. He left a list lengthy list, noting, "I could do this for days...":
Primrods - Bully-Proof Vest
Gravity Thugs - Take You Down
Tinderbox - Bucket of Frogs
Samantha Savage Smith - The Score
Jane Hawley - Going Out of Style
Dragon Fli Empire - Mt. Pleasant
Tariq - Chevrolet Way
Same Difference - Kiss of Ice
Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend
Chad VanGaalen - Clinically Dead
Tegan and Sara - Walking With the Ghost
Reuben and the Dark - Like a Rolling Stone
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald - Brand New Spaces
Chad VanGaalen has such a huge and impressive body of work (already!) that it's going to tricky to pick just one song of his, as well. Why not "Gubbish"? Anyways, clearly we should have reached out to Greg earlier on in this project.

And, finally, Johanna Schwartz said we should include "Anything by Straight - but I love Brains." We like Brains as well, but we really, really, really like Vacant, their ultimate self-loathing anthem. So we're going to use that for now. Ha!

Anyways, thanks for all of your participation so far. We'll keep on keeping on for another two weeks, so there's lots of time to dust off your old CDs and let us know what you think we should include in the Calgary Songs Project!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project - Music Writers' Top 5's

As you probably know by now, we at the CCPS have a very fond place in our heart for VOX magazine, and all the good folks who helped make that magazine what it was. And since so many of those folks went on to make the Calgary Straight and ffwd what they were, we figured, heck, let's ask a bunch of music writers for their top 5 Calgary songs for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Here's what they told us:

Ian Chiclo - Past Editor, VOX and ffwd
Cat Ranch - "C-A-L-G-A-R-Y" This song still pops into my head a dozen times per year. It was Cat Ranch's bratty response to a contest to come up with a song for Calgary prior to the 88 winter olympics. This was, of course, also the era of Channel 2&7's infamous "Hello Calgary" song, so it many ways it's a perfect punk rock response to the times from one of the city's hardest working bands of the time.
Gravity Thugs - "Take You Down" Simply a great song from an under-recornized, and often forgotten band that included the Brent Cooper, the Wolfe brothers and Tom Kennedy, who had come together after playing with the likes of the Cryin Helicopter and Jr Gone Wild. I think the Gravity Thugs were the first local band I ever saw who owned the stage of MacEwan Hall.
Same Difference - "Kiss of Ice" I'm torn between this song and "Adrian," but Same Difference should be recognized. They had great energy live and Janine Bracewell's voice was a wonder in itself. There is also the girl power factor with Same Difference.
Wagbeard - "Too Easy" The quentessential 90s Calgary rock song. It doesn't get more perfect than this in terms of guitar-driven power pop.
Jay Crocker - "Below The Ocean Over" Choosing a song from his album Below The Ocean Over is tough, but I have a spot in my heart for "Below The Ocean Over." Produced by Craig Schumacher at his Wavelab studio in Tucson, the CD is, arguably, the best ever recorded by a Calgary musicia but somehow never got any traction.
Honourable mentions (ie. if they're not mentioned I'd be sad): Primrod's "Barbet Lad," Forbidden Dimension's "Tonight I Paint In Flesh Colour," The Dudes' "Do The Right Thing," Chixdiggit "I Wanna Hump You," and the Parkades' "Attack Me"
Well, we can't argue with any of those. As much of a seemingly throw-away song that Cat Ranch tune is, it embodies a certain spirit of the city. 

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth - freelance writer, former CJSW DJ
1. Fire Engine Red — Black Day: This is not only one of the greatest songs to ever come out of Calgary, but it's one of the greatest songs ever about being a true fan of music. Lorrie Matheson wrote this after he found out his favourite local band, The Quitters, broke up and it's a song about tragedy and disappointment and feeling like you care about something more than anyone else in the world. I cry whenever I hear it, thinking about poor Lorrie sitting in his bedroom staring at the wall.
2. The Parkades — Attack Me: The Parkades are criminally underrated (I don't think everyone "got" Ian Doig's frantic vocal style) and this 7" (on Roto-Flex!) is one of the best slices of garage rock our city has ever heard.
3. Straight — Vacant: Joe McCafferty is such an excellent songwriter and has been a part of so many Calgary bands that never quite got their due fanfare (see Fire Engine Red's song about Joe's band The Quitters breaking up and no one caring). All of Joe's bands are great, but this song was his "hit" during my personal glory days and hearing it transports me back to a different (more angsty) time.
4. Huevos Rancheros — Crowchild Trail: Not only does this song embody all of the guitar magic of the great Huevos Rancheros, but it's named after the very road that I would drive to the University (and my show at CJSW) every day during the band's peak. Is there anything more Calgary than Crowchild Trail?
5. Aaron Booth — Ramblin' Train: Okay, I'm married to this guy, so I'm biased, but this is an expertly written song that still stands up over 15 years after Aaron recorded it. I'm not saying I fell in love with him just because he can write melodies like this, but it didn't hurt.
Fire Engine Red's "Black Day" is such a great meta-song, capturing the angst we've all felt at some point when we've found out our favourite band broke up. But is it a better song than FER's "Shank Pony"?
Mike Bell - Music Writer
Colour Me Psycho - Black Corvair
Wagbeard - Too Easy
Jann Arden (Anne Loree) - Insensitive
Tegan and Sara - Walking With A Ghost

Samantha Savage Smith - You Always Come to Mind
Another nod for Wagbeard - must have been something in the water in the VOX offices. But we're really happy to see a mention for Samantha Savage Smith. We're still a bit stunned that her second LP, released earlier this year, didn't get her the attention she deserves as a songwriter and musician.
Peter Hemminger - Former FFWD music & film editor and current host of The AM on CJSW 90.9FM
The Reverie Sound Revue - This City Belongs to Us - The Reverie Sound Revue (Boompa)
Azeda Booth - Big Fist - In Flesh Tones (Absolutely Kosher)
Beach Season - Midnights <3 br="">Hot Little Rocket - Down With Safe - Our Work & Why We Do It (Flemish Eye/Catch & Release)

Clinton St. John - Sunlight, Good-Light - The Minor Arkhana (Self-Released)
We've been a big fan of Clinton St. John since his time with the Cape May, and last year's Minor Arkhana is a stellar record - and "Sunlight, Good-Light" is one of his best songs. 

Phew. The list of contenders is growing - what would you add? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Community Top 5s

When we were prepping for the launch of the Calgary Songs Project, we asked a bunch of friends what their top five picks would be. We figured that the first songs that come to mind are probably the strongest contenders for our final list of 30 songs to celebrate 30 years of the High Performance Rodeo. And we got some great, diverse responses:

Jim Button - Village Brewery, Community Builder
Transit - Calgary
The Dudes - Do the Right Thing
MBF - Care For You
Feist - I Feel it All
Paul Brandt - Alberta Bound
But my fav is Ian Tyson - Four strong winds…not sure that it counts though.

We suppose it was only a matter of time until Alberta Bound showed up on someone's list. We also are impressed by how many times Feist is being mentioned - for different songs!

Kimberly Cooper - Artistic Director, DJD
The Will - Funky Babylon
Huevos Rancheros- Huevosaurus
The Ramblin’ Ambassadors - Meat Sweats
(all Brent Cooper bands- disqualify me if you have to for nepotism!!!)
Honourable Mentions
Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - Oh Sorry
Rubim de Toledo - The River
As biased as Kimberly may be, we have to say - Huevosaurus is probably the CCPS' favourite Huevos track. 

Chad Saunders - NMC Manager, CJSW programmer
Huevos Rancheros - "Blonde Girl In A Blue Volare (At 100 mph)” but “Rockin’ in the Henhouse” is probably the go-to one
Hot Little Rocket - “Down With Safe"
The Golden Calgarians - “Chicken on the Way”
The Quitters - “Do You Know”
A-Team – "Always Call me By Name" vs "I’m A Truck"
The Best include: Maud - “I-95”; Wagbeard - “Too Easy”; The Primrods - “Santa Lucia”; The Dudes - "Dropkick Queen of the Weekend”; Lemonjade - "Fragile Little People”; Matt Masters - “Highways”, Ninth Configuration - “Then and Now”; Chixdiggit - “Sikome Beach"
Long shot pick: Mike Newans - “Fan the Flames”
Honourable mention: The 2&7 "Hello Calgary” theme. Magic but not a Calgary song.
Oh, how much do we want Chicken on the Way to be in the final 30... but our records indicate it was released around 1980, so at least five years before our cut-off date. BUT we'll take the rest of Chad's excellent recommendations... 

Phew. There's a lot of stuff in there to mull over. As always, we want to know what YOUR top picks for 30 songs to celebrate 30 years would be. Leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: 30 Songs to Celebrate 30 Years

The CCPS is very (VERY!) excited to announce a new project that we’re honoured to be a part of, entirely because of the partners we get to work with. Working closely with the amazingly talented and somewhat kooky Kenna Burima (which is super fun, we have to tell you), we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of what we think is Calgary’s longest-standing cultural festival - One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo (have we ever told you how much we love One Yellow Rabbit? Sooooo much!).

To mark this milestone and celebrate the festival’s deep connections with the Calgary music scene, Kenna and our wee little group are launching the Calgary Songs Project, a 30-song tribute to this city’s musical highpoints. From now until October 23, we’re reaching out to Calgarians for their input into which 30 songs released since 1986 (the year of the first High Performance Rodeo) by Calgary musicians, should be included in that tribute.

We’ll be taking all of the feedback from the month and curating a final list of 30 songs that will be unveiled in January during the High Performance Rodeo. The Calgary Songs Project will feature a performance of the 30 songs on the Calgary Tower’s carillon as performed and programmed by Kenna, a playlist of the actual songs on the “Galleria Trees” sculpture on Stephen Avenue, and a final wrap-up concert at the #1 Legion with Calgary bands covering the songs chosen in the project.

Getting down to 30 songs is a daunting task. Sooooo… we went and asked a bunch of friends. It turns out that we know a bunch of opinionated folks, and they were quick to share their Top Fives. Or more, in some cases. Turns out that some of our friends can’t/won’t count. To be fair, it’s kind of like picking your favourite child. So, what do our friends think? Here’s a start.

Allen Baekeland, Musician
Ribbons and Bows - Tom Phillips
In Rehearsal For The Blues - Tim Williams
Cold Missouri Waters - James Keelaghan
Insensitive - Anne Loree
Melina's Bath Pt 1 - Nick Diochnos (for the Rembetika Hipsters) I know it's my own band but it's a supercool instrumental in 9/8.
Wow. We forgot about Ribbons and Bows, and what an amazing song that is. Killer melody, and the recording gives it such a great treatment. Okay, who else?

Shawn Petsche, Festival Manager - Sled Island, Guitarist - Napalmpom
My Calgary love is heavily weighted towards my time actually living in Calgary, from 2007-present.
Night Committee - Loss Leaders - This is not just my favourite Calgary song of the last 30 years, it might just be my favourite song. Period. Over 7 minutes, it smartly and maybe even economically (hah!) pummels the listener with the joy and depression of being a contemporary rock & roll musician. It is a perfect song. Those are rare things that should be cherished.
Teledrome - Boyfriend - Forget talks of cruddy streaming royalties and the death of the mid-level rock club, this song not being a massive hit is all the proof I need of a dysfunctional music industry.
Fist City - Let's Rip- I rarely think of Fist City in terms of a song, or experience them outside of a relentless and dizzying 30 minute helping, but if I have to pick one, it might be "Let's Rip." To me, they are one of the most unique and important punk rock voices in the country and it is baffling to me that more people (read: everyone) don't sing their praises. Maybe this song's chorus will snap some sense into people.
Tie Girl's Rock Camp Calgary 2015 - Girls Rock Camp Calgary 2015 Camp Song / Various Interests - Lime Flavored Disappointment / Suburban Moms - Suburban Mom / PIE! - Sweet Summer Treat, I know it's cheating putting these all in one and I *did* consider dominating my top five with all four of these, but I'm going to try to slide this one past the judges. I'm not sure there has ever been/will ever be more encouraging/great music news than when the Girls Rock Camp Calgary compilation hit #1 on the CJSW charts.
Viet Cong - Death - If I'm being completely honest, there is a fair amount of conflict in celebrating and loving a song by a band whose name I dislike so much. To me, this 11+ minute epic is the sound of a band hitting its stride, meeting and surpassing some admittedly lofty expectations. Heavy feelings captured perfectly. Equally importantly, I've had great conversations over and about this band and hope those conversations continue. They're important to have.
Wait - are Fist City a Calgary band or a Lethbridge band?This list also highlights something we struggle with - we always find it difficult to be objective about newer releases. How will these hold up in another 30 years?

Tona W. Ohama, Electronic/Synthesizer Recording Artist
Okay, this has been tough. It's impossible to pick these songs!

So I'm cheating and giving you two lists. First list - very popular songs but I believe these have been very important songs for Calgary from Calgarians…

#5 - Tegan and Sara "Closer" (2012)

#4 - Ian Tyson "Springtime in Alberta" (1996) 
#3 - Ann Loree "Insensitive" (1994)

#2 - Tariq "Chevrolet Way" (1997)

#1 - Feist "1234" (2007)

Now, my other list is more obscure songs, the first 2 are very Calgarian…

#5 - TIm Hus - "Goin' Back To Calgary" (2002)

#4 - Jenny Allen - "Seventh Avenue" (2000)

And then 2 songs that I personally like a lot, synth pop of course…

#3 - Mannequin Depressives - "Victim Of Circumstance" (2008)

#2 - Mozart's Rage - "Things I'll Never Know" (1997)

and my final song that is not even our song, but a jingle that was used in many cities, but in Calgary it really took off…the "hello Calgary!" jingle... Found this article below which might shed some light on it…although I can't figure out the exact date…but it was in the 80s….

#1 - Hello Calgary Jingle
Oh, that Hello Calgary jingle. Technically, we don’t think it counts. Also, Tona managed to find a band that we aren’t that familiar with… who else remembers Mozart’s Rage?

Kerry Clarke, Artistic Director, Calgary Folk Music Festival
Lorrie Matheson – Wear the Grindstone Down
Big Sugar – All Hell for a Basement
Kris Demeanor – Extreme to Me
The Cape May – Hunting Grounds
Ralph Boyd Johnson/Billy Cowsill – the Fool is the Last One to Know
We're trying to sort out that Big Sugar inclusion. They're from Toronto, aren't they? But Kerry knows her stuff, so we'll get to the bottom of that one...

Grant Burns, Co-host - The Road Pops, CJSW, Producer - High Performance Rodeo, 1989-99
The Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend (I always get this song stuck in my head, check the young lads out featuring a beardless Dan V)
Freak Motif - Killin’ Me (Vocal) featuring Lady C (Afrobeat with killer vocals - also a killer dance video)
Feist - My Moon My Man (hard to pick The Feist song, I love her beautiful pop sensibilities, the simple piano riff on this one allows her voice to rise up)
Plaid Tongued Devils - In Klezskavania (from the One Yellow Rabbit play of the same name, check out the You Tube video - great performances by Michael Green and Andy Curtis, the OYR ensemble, Jonathan Lewis and the Plaids)
Huevos Rancheros - Please Pass the Ketchup (there were so many amazing gigs - with everyone in the room rocking out to this amazing power trio)
and a close sixth: Highkicks - Goodlife
Oh, Huevos. We could fill a whole top 30 with just Huevos Rancheros songs...

What do you think? Which songs would you put on the list of 30? Leave a comment and let us know!