“Dirty Windshields,” Grant Lawrence’s New Book on Touring with The Smugglers

Readers of this blog may recall how much I enjoyed Grant Lawrence’s first two books,  Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and other Stories from Desolation Sound, a memoir of his many summers spent in the environs of a family cabin on Desolation Sound in the wilds of British Columbia, and The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie, which chronicles his uneasy relationship with hockey. That’s why I’m delighted that yesterday I received a copy of Grant’s new book, Dirty Windshields: The Best and Worst of The Smugglers’ Tour Diaries, which chronicles the life of the band he was lead singer and frontman for in the 1990s, before he became a CBC broadcaster and music journalist. I began reading it right away, and was fascinated with the Prologue, which provides the origin story of The Smugglers. What I love about Grant’s books is how he blends hilarious laugh-out-loud tales you instantly want to share with your seat-mate, along with tug-on-the heart stories that leave you touched and a bit teary-eyed. Rock writer Ira Robbins, publisher of the Trouser Press Record Guide enjoyed Dirty Windshields: “Told with equal measures pride and shame, this uproarious chronicle of vans, violence, alcohol, cops, fires, floods, blizzards, wrong turns, crooked club owners, actual snakes, robbery, bodily fluids and calamities of all sorts is the perfect companion to the band’s mega-fun music.”

 

#FridayReads, October 25–Grant Lawrence’s “The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie”

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Always Something New to Learn about Canada, like the Acadian Dialect Chiac, Vernacular for Author Antonine Maillet

I recently heard a fascinating radio segment on the public radio program The World about a dialect of French heard nowadays exclusively in the regions of Canada where people of Acadian descent live today, Nova Scotia (NS) and New Brunswick (NB). It’s called Chiac, a name derived from a nearby town, Shediac, NB, that calls itself “Lobster Capitol of the World.” The program had run a shortened version of this half-hour podcast on WNYC, and I’m listening to the full version, part of their World of Words podcast, while writing this post. I was particularly excited when at the end of the radio bit they played a song by the incomparable Lisa Leblanc, who I heard live and loved at the CMJ festival in 2014, shown here. As readers of this blog may recall, I’ve traveled a lot in Atlantic Canada, including through Acadian locales, including the scenic island of Cape Breton, NS, where I learned about the mass expulsion of 1755-1764 which the British Navy forced on French-speaking people who’d settled in the region. I’d never known the local dialect had a name.

Relatedly, as editor at Walker & Co in 1987, I published the US edition of a novel by one of New Brunswick’s most honored writers, Antonine Maillet (b. 1929) of Bouctouche, NB, a town just north of Shediac facing the Gulf of St Lawrence across from the southern shores of Prince Edward Island. The book had come out in Canada a few years earlier, and I acquired US rights from a doyenne of Canadian publishing, Louise Dennys, for many years with Random House and Knopf Canada who was then part of her own company, Lester & Orpen Dennys. Maillet’s book was a fantastical historical novel, featuring a female pirate named Crache à Pic (translates as ‘spit-in-your-eye), skipper of a ship called Sea-Cow. who while Prohibition prevails in the States is running whiskey to American smugglers’ boats in the north Atlantic. My flap copy read, “Immediately reminiscent of Compton Mackenzie’s Whisky Galore and Howard Frank Mosher’s Disappearances, the Walker Adventure Series is pleased to publish The Devil is Loose! and Antonine Maillet, a storyteller of international reputation.”

Mackenzie’s 1947 novel was set during WWII, when a whisky-laden ship runs aground near the aptly-named Great Todday and Little Todday, Scottish islands whose ration  of spirits has run out, leaving locals high and dry, who must decide what to do with the contraband; it was adapted for the funny movie, Tight Little Island. Mosher’s Disappearances is a multi-generational romp featuring a family who sometimes go by the surname Goodman, and sometimes Bonhomme. They live in the mythical Northeast Kingdom, Vermont’s northernmost region, and run liquor across the very real Lake Memphremagog, a long body of fresh water that straddles the border with Canada. I used to quote the opening paragraph for customers who I thought would enjoy the novel. Mosher has since written many novels set in Kingdom County.

Maillet was by 1987 already the author of more than 25 novels and plays, rich work that draws on a centuries-long store of folklore and local knowledge, about which she’s a scholar. In ’87, she traveled to NYC from Montreal, where she divides time with Bouctouche, and gave a talk at the Americas Society on Park Ave. Her tour in the US was subsidized by the cultural ministry of Quebec. I’ll add, from the year I entered publishing as an editor, in 1986, Canadian authors I published in the US, including Lt Romeo Dallaire and Margaret Atwood, often received significant support from federal and provincial agencies, eager to promote Canadian writers, including authors freshly launched in their careers, like Steven Galloway, whose first adult novel Ascension I brought in 2002. This held true until a few years in to the reign of PM Stephen Harper, whose government shut off the funds for cultural exchange to the US. I’m hopeful the cultural outreach will be restored and reinvigorated under PM Justin Trudeau.

Maillet is a mighty woman of rather short stature, and quite striking in appearance. We found that the lectern reserved for her was too tall, and unaccountably the venue had no stool or riser for her to stand on. Fortunately, I found a big box holding many reams of photocopy paper and at this ultra white-shoe venue she stood atop it to read from her novel, and lecture in a forceful, accented English about the French vernacular in which she wrote the book, and much of her work. Though I don’t think she called it Chiac, she described the local tongue, and its grounding in the French spoken by arrivals in the new world beginning in the 16th century. She likened it to speaking the French of Rabelais, who I note died in 1555! She described the settlers’ remoteness from French in Europe, as France advanced in to the industrial revolution, an isolation that set the local language, as if trapped in amber. Maillet has also created theater characters like La Sagouine, a wise old woman who tells audiences stories and imparts lore, using the local vernacular. I feel like the live theatre piece must form the heart of Chiac. Maillet’s accomplishments are truly a marvel to be celebrated. I first learned of her when as a bookseller with Undercover Books in Cleveland, when in 1979, with an earlier novel—Pélagie-la-Charrette, or Return to the Homeland, an epic account of the Acadian expulsion, a diaspora that scattered them to other parts of North America, including Louisiana, where the Acadiennes, become Cajuns—she became the only North American writer, male or female, to win France’s most prestigious book prize, the Prix Goncourt.

I was aware that people of Acadian descent still maintain a kind of linguistic flavor now rare in the modern world, but was delighted to learn so much more about it in this excellent half-hour of radio. I love language stuff like this, all the better when it’s about one of my favorite countries, and one of my favorite regions in that country! Below is some detail from the podcast’s web page, which you can listen to in full here.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Will Canadian Literature Finally Be Featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair?

Until this March 4 article by Globe & Mail Books Editor Mark Medley, I’m sure it wasn’t widely known outside of Canadian publishing that two years ago organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair had invited Canada to be the fair’s featured country for 2017, a plum opportunity for any country’s book sector; nor that the Harper government, in typical fashion, stupidly declined the invitation (it would have required some investment).

Harper was horrible, and the government he created did too little to put cultural industries forward as economic generators. Glad to see that with PM Justin Trudeau leading Canada since last November the Book Fair has renewed the invitation. The Ministry of Heritage is considering it, with a decision possibly due this month on whether the funds required (around 4 million dollars CAN) will be provided. It would be for 2020. As an American editor who loves Canadian books, has published many Canadian authors in the US, and worked with many Canadian publishers, I’m very excited about this. It would be great to see Canadian literature recognized globally, even more than it is already. I’m hopeful this initiative will move forward.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

George Elliott Clarke, a Stellar Ambassador for Canadian Poetry

Very pleased to learn via CBC News that George Elliott Clarke—”a seventh-generation Canadian of African-American and Mi’kmaq heritage, whose work has explored the African experience in Canada”—has been named the new Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada. In 2006, I published the US edition of his amazing novel George & Rue. He is an immensely likable person with an ebullient, inclusive personality, and a hugely talented writer.

 

Video of Professor Clarke:

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Happy to See “All the Broken Things” Up for the Toronto Book Award

As readers of my blogs may recall, I enjoy circus novels and fiction about the carney world, with books by Robertson Davies, Angela Carter and Ellen Hunnicutt among my longtime favorites. Here’s a post on that world called “Life is a Carnival.” One literary highlight I discovered last year is Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s All the Broken Things, a resonant and beautifully written novel about a teenage immigrant to Canada from Vietnam who befriends an animal trainer and becomes a carnival’s star attraction wrestling the troupe’s bear. I wrote about the book here on my other site, The Great Gray Bridge. Earlier this week, I was pleased to read that the book is now officially available in the US.

A day later, I was delighted to see the book is a finalist for the Toronto Book Award, along with another novel I enjoyed very much, the apocalypse-tinged, yet gentle, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Here’s a screenshot from Shelf Awareness showing all the finalists. The winner will be named at a public event hosted by CBC Radio’s Gill Deacon at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram and Bluma Appel Salon on Oct. 15.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

NXNE Day IV—Celebrating Community at the CBC Radio3 Picnic

During this year’s NXNE, Toronto’s great music festival, Honourary Canadian is publishing guest posts by Regina Sienra, aka Reginula, a music journalist who hails from Mexico City. She’s a stalwart fan of Canadian indie music, and has been recognized by the CBC Radio 3 community as our Fan of the Year. You can follow Regina on Twitter and Instagram where her handle is @Reginula. From one honourary Canadian to another, I’m delighted to be publishing her work here—Philip Turner.

Every June for the past five years, the CBC Radio 3 community has gathered in Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods Park for a fan picnic on the Saturday of NXNE to celebrate an extraordinary community that always supports and watches the back of the Canadian indie music scene.

Attendees from all over Canada, the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the UK, and other countries, savor the opportunity to spend quality time with a handful of indie musicians who offer to play acoustic tunes at the picnic, gratis I should add. The performers this year were Kathryn Calder, David Vertesi, Rolfe Klausener from The Acorn and Murder Murder, a band that recently participated in CBC’s Searchlight contest, winning the Northern Ontario region. Among the hosts for the picnic is erstwhile Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence, who emcees the proceedings. The photo above shows all the picnickers and musicians in a group shot taken by Vancouver photographer Christine Macavoy.

Kathryn Calder performed a couple sons from her new, self-titled album, as well as her classic “Turn a Light On,” accompanied only by herself on acoustic guitar, which is pretty special considering Calder is more often seen playing keys with the The New Pornographers, who were slated to play Yonge-Dundas Square later that night.

David Vertesi, longtime member of the Vancouver band, Hey Ocean!, performed songs from his recent album “Cardiography,” and although he only had a few hours of sleep after finishing a NXNE set at 3am that morning, Vertesi delivered a mesmerizing performance under the trees. David Vertesi

Rolf Klausener, introduced by CBC Radio 3’s Lana Gay, performed “Dominion,” from his Polaris long-listed album, as well as songs from her earlier work, sharing some stories about his family and how his 2008 Polaris-Prize nominated album Glory Hope Mountain was inspired by his mom’s journey as an immigrant from Nicaragua to Canada.

The New Pornographers are true headliners, which earned them the prime time slot Saturday night at Yonge-Dundas Square. Performing after California sensation Best Coast and Canadian act Mise en Scene, the Pornos hit the stage without longtime members Destroyer and Neko Case (she was in the NYC area for the Clearwater Festival).

To make up for the absence of the auburn-haired crooner, the band crammed some other hits in to the setlist and, as in the past years, Kathryn Calder took charge of Neko’s songs.

Rather than focusing on 2014’s “Brill Bruisers,” the band went through their entire history and played songs like “Slow Descent into Alcoholism,” “Sing me Spanish Techno” and “All the Old Showstoppers,” closing the evening at a packed YDS with fan favorite “The Bleeding Heart Show.”

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NXNE 2015 Day III, Enjoying Born Ruffians & Hollerado at Yonge-Dundas Square

Because I couldn’t be in Toronto for this year’s NXNE, the city’s great music festival, Honourary Canadian is publishing guest posts by Regina Sienra, aka Reginula, a music journalist who hails from Mexico City. She’s a stalwart fan of Canadian indie music, recognized by the CBC Radio 3 community as our Fan of the Year. You can follow Regina on Twitter and Instagram where her handle is @Reginula. From one honourary Canadian to another, I’m delighted to be publishing her work here! Philip Turner, Publisher, The Great Gray Bridge and Honourary Canadian.

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One of the best opportunities NXNE offers live music fans is close proximity to both new and classic acts from the local Toronto and Ontario scene, as well as acts from the rest of Canada and internationally. On Friday, the ones in charge of that approach were the guys from MusicOntario, who threw an afternoon party at The Garrison.

KASHKA, latest project from Kat Burns, leader of the seminal band founded in 2006, Forest City Lovers, performed at this party around 5 in the afternoon, an unusual set time for her. “I feel a vampire,” and it’s understandable, her electronic sound—rather than the indie, almost folk sound from her earlier projects—would fit better at a nighttime party. Still, Kat and her bandmates delivered a relaxing set that included tracks from her 2014 release “Bound.”

One of the biggest shows of the festival had just been announced only four days earlier: Hollerado and Born Ruffians would play a free show at Yonge and Dundas Square on Friday night. YDSQ is like the Times Square of Toronto, and crowds are big at these NXNE shows, especially with two big Ontario acts, definitely what NXNE must’ve been hoping for when they booked the show.

Always stylish and rhythmic Born Ruffians hit the stage around 8:30, opening with their latest single “Oh Cecilia.” The setlist included songs from all of their albums, pleasing both long time fans and newcomers. Singer Luke Lalonde is a charming man on stage indeed, but bassist (Name)’s energy on stage and virtuosity is the soul of the band. Luke Lalonde announced they will be releasing a new album later this year.

Up next came Hollerado, with a brand new female member to help the quartet on keys, guitar, and backing vocals. First song of the set was “Pick Me Up,” the upbeat track from their 2013 release, “White Paint.” Stage props were brought in to play as that first tune that included lots of strewn confetti. Also, when the band played “Firefly,” a song from their recent effort, “111 Songs,” several personalities came on stage to throw white illuminated balls onto the crowd.

The set also included some new songs that will be on Hollerado’s next album. From those samples, it’s somewhat noticeable the band has moved on from their striking sound to a calmer, a là “Pinkerton” sound.

Down west on Dundas Street, CBC Music also held a showcase featuring Jane’s Party, Iceage (a Danish band), CATL and Ben Caplan, the latter being joined by a band called The Casual Smokers, a group of musicians Caplan himself discovered on Queen St in Toronto. The sheer number of musicians on stage enhanced the intense presentation of Caplan, the bearded singer whose voice often resembles an articulate growl.

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Leonard Cohen Singing His 1970 Ode “Joan of Arc,” in 2015

Quite a gorgeous Leonard Cohen song here, a recent recording of his longtime standby, “Joan of Arc,” from a forthcoming album, “Can’t Forget.” His voice has gotten so much deeper over the years, which makes the gorgeous voices of the female singers he chooses to sing with sound all the more gorgeous. Listen to it at CBC Music.   

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Matt Mays Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods The Great Gray Bridge. TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI