The Vernon Morning Star editorial staff want to set you up with a list of can’t-miss Canadian artists to celebrate Canada Day.
As we can’t come together and celebrate as a community, we at least want to set you up with a patriotic playlist.
Here are the Top 5 picks from the Morning Star team:
Only five?! Wow. Well I have to start with…
Gordon Lightfoot – Arguably Canada’s most successful singer/songwriter. There aren’t many Canadians who don’t instantly recognize Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Sundown, Carefree Highway, If You Could Read My Mind.
Joni Mitchell – Edged out by Gord by a guitar pick. Hard not to recognize the influence she’s had on fellow Canadian artists and others around the world.
The Guess Who – Trailblazers for Canadian groups to come after them. These Eyes, American Woman, Laughing, Undun, all timeless.
The Band – Four-fifths of legendary group are Canadian, joined by American drummer Levon Helm, one of the group;’s three singers. Great collection of stories and characters in their songs.
Trooper – My list, my pick. Have seen them eight times in concert; Raise a Little Hell was Grade 10 basketball team theme song; still out on the road packing them in (when they’re on the road that is).
Honourable mentions: Neil Young, Anne Murray, Bruce Cockburn, Tragically Hip, Loverboy, Chilliwack, April Wine
This is a tough one as the Canadian music scene is absolutely booming with up-and-coming talents from coast to coast. I’ll do my best! Remember to support local artists and venues — especially in these trying times COVID-19 has handed us.
The Zolas – This Vancouver-based four-piece is a must have on any playlist. Their indie sounds have been at the top of my playlist since lead singer Zachary Gray and original Zola Tom Dobrzanski were transitioning from their former name, Lotus Child. This is a must have on my list as I also have the lyrics of Pyramid Scheme in Gray’s handwriting tattooed on my feet.
We Are the City – This young trio of progressive rockers originated from the Kelowna area and has never failed to impress. Now, based in Vancouver, Cayne, David and Andy are multi-talented musicians, filmmakers and marketing geniuses. They are also responsible for the longest film ever made at 360 hours or 21,600 minutes in their project called 24/7.
B.A. Johnston – If you have any interest in 80s films such as Gremlins or Weird Science, old school Nintendo systems, or the Hamilton Tiger Cats, B.A. Johnston is an artist you have to check out. The Hamilton-based solo artist is ready to rock with his busted-up acoustic guitar, discman and Casio keyboard. If you get the opportunity to watch his live show — DO IT! Secret: I have more than 30 of his T-shirts…
Mandible Klaw – These Calgary-based punk rockers are about to release their newest album: Mankind Grind, and if you are into shredding guitars and impossibly charismatic frontmen, this one is for you — especially if you are into the sounds of late 70s-early 80s punk rock like the Ramones and Bad Brains.
Dan Mangan – Danny boy… This guy is a storyteller. The Vancouver-based Juno Award-winning indie artist has a soundtrack for any situation. A must hear from him, for sure, is a song called Basket. Bring tissues.
Jen’s love for local talent:
Clark W. – this newly-famed Lake Country man has gone viral with his playfully patriotic tune Up Here in Canada. What’s more Canadian than that, eh? Read all about it on B8!
NØX – Vernon’s very own, homegrown hip hop artist. I’ve been covering this homeboy’s journey for 15 years, from when he was but a wee lad to his latest musical devotions, including giving back to Food Bank Canada through song plays.
Andrew Allen – This superstar has so much love for Vernon, how can you not love him? Allen always has his hometown at heart, playing local shows and giving back to the community through various initiatives.
Odinfist – While heavy metal isn’t exactly my cup of tea, these Armstrong boys have put their hometown on the map with Armstrong MetalFest. Sadly the annual event, which draws hundreds from around the world to little ol’ Armpit, is one of the many events cancelled by COVID-19.
Darby Mills – The queen of scream, famed for her wicked voice with the Headpins, and she’s a Vernon gal. Don’t she make you feel like dancing?
I have three and that’s the way it’s going to be.
The Weeknd – The Grammy award-winning R&B singer is proof that Canadian artists can reach the very top of a genre largely dominated by U.S. artists—and the vibe created by his smooth voice paired with crass lyrics can’t be denied!
Neil Young – “Alabama” and “Old Man” are just some of the songs that colour childhood memories in the Canadian outdoors.
Shania Twain – This pick might get a lot of hate, but when a Canadian artist dominates the country charts in the way Shania did when I was growing up, it’s impossible to leave her off the list.