Music Mix: The Ballad of Sawchuk and Bower, Canada Turns 150 (Mixes 1 and 2)

June 30, 2017, by Darren Clarke


The cover for this mix is a picture from the Toronto Star of Maple Leaf legends Jonny Bower and Terry Sawchuk. Two great goaltenders, two real different personalities, and the last two goaltenders to play for a Stanley Cup team in Toronto.

I thought I’d share the music that will accompany me on my home and native lands 150th birthday. It’s an all-Canadian music mix starting with the remarkable Feist’s, “Look at What the Light Did Now,” and ending with Rush’s, “Xanadu.” In between there’s everyone from the Irish Rovers to Julie Doiron to my own band, Melody Motel with our song Empty Highways, a tune about driving from Ontario to Nova Scotia, “Empty Highways, nothing but time, I had a country but only the music was mine.”

Music is of course the most beautifully subjective of all things, which, combined with the fact I did this in one day, means it’s not the Best Of by any means, rather some fantastic Canadian tunes, by some fantastic Canadian people, that happened to tickle my fancy on one particular afternoon in June. I did try to bear in mind what’s important from a Canadian perspective, as in, if you’re Canadian you need to know who Anne Murray and Kim Mitchell are, you need to know that, “We’re here for a good time, not a long time,” you need to know that on the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, not three french hens but rather, in the words of Bob and Doug Mackenzie, “three french toast,” and you need to know what Bobcaygeon is and that, in the words of Gord Downie,

“It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves, one star at time.”

There’s a ton of poetry, would-be poetry, not to mention over the top nonsense, being written about being Canadian this week: Who we are, what it means, how it has changed over time. For my part I like being Canadian but I struggle to understand writing about millions of people and 150 years. So I am not going to.

What I can write about here is the people I dedicate this playlist to- my mom and dad. The best of what they are is likely the best of what we can be: humble, kind, funny.

Can’t aim for much more than that.

Enjoy your Canada Day. Here’s to our differences. Here’s to the Leafs winning another Stanley Cup.