Throwback Thursday Videos - Great Lake Swimmers, Blue Rodeo, Broken Social Scene

Recent conversations with friends from the neighboring north not only reminded me that many of my favorite bands are countrymates of theirs, but also introduced me to some artists who rapidly became “new” favorites. This week has also seen me embark upon a banjo binge, seeking out some of my most-beloved songs that showcase its twang. That might seem an unusual statement, but I’m from West Virginia, so ’nuff said. (Please refer all Deliverance jokes to the editor, thanks.) This week’s #TBTV is thusly inspired – an “Of Canada and Banjos Edition", if you will.

We kick off the set with “Your Rocky Spine” by Ontario’s The Great Lake Swimmers (Ongiara, 2007). The banjo intro sets a narrative tone that methodically punctuates the band’s homage to Canada’s landscape. Lyrically, the exploration of harsh topography seems an extended metaphor for the vulnerability one experiences when establishing intimacy with another person. These characteristics, combined with Tony Dekker’s emotional delivery, all add up to a wonderfully wistful folk tune.

Next up is Canadian country-rock band Blue Rodeo’s “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet”, from their 1993 album Five Days in July. Although their music is new to me, the style of this video is so similar to those featured on the early CMT countdowns I watched as a youngster that there’s a definite sense of déjà vu. Even more familiar to any country-music lover is the open embrace of loneliness with the lines, “Still I kind of like this feeling/of being left behind.” Even if you don’t want to watch the video again because of the cheesy group-looks-down-at-the-camera-lens shots, the song is definitely worth multiple listens.

Finally, we have a live performance of “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” by Toronto’s Broken Social Scene. One of the reasons BSS has had a massive impact on my musical taste is its unfixed nature as a collaborative of talented indie musicians. Because of this, their recordings and tours have brought close to twenty artists and their associated projects to my awareness, each time expanding my musical horizons a little more. The recording of this song on their 2002 breakout album You Forgot it In People features Leslie Feist (of solo fame) and Emily Haines (co-founder of Metric). In this 2011 version of the song Lisa Lobsinger takes over lead vocals, with support from Jen Turner and Ariel Engle. These three women are members of Calgary’s Reverie Sound Revue; New York’s hazy, electronica group Here We Go Magic; and Montreal pop collective Land of Kush, respectively.

Here’s hoping these videos bring back all manner of fond memories, or if not, the plethora of groups aforementioned gives you fodder for making new music memories.