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…. http://www.daringyoungmom.com/2014/03/16/hello-calgary/

#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!


Joel Thomson said...

Knucklehead - Shelters

Anonymous said...

Gotta be some Chixdiggit! in there somewhere?

Unknown said...

Chantal Vitalis - Pigs Makes Ham Makes Me Happy

Shawn Petsche said...

I checked with Van Reekum from Fist City if he thought it was disingenuous to call Fist City a Calgary band - he gave it the blessing.