Living in one of the two Canadian provinces failing to boast a salty ocean shoreline isn’t the only cause for East Coast envy out west. Generations of cultural shape-shifters have continuously impacted the way we see art across this great land mass, in spite of more than 5000 kilometres separating us. Growing up, I would comb through my parent’s record and cassette collections to find rich baritone songs of tortured love by Halifax country legend, Hank Snow. One memorable family road trip took us through Nova Scotia past the family home of the Rankins and last year, during Folk Fest, it was touching to hear a tribute to Rita MacNeil in Alberta.
As a teenager, my sights were firmly set on Joel Plaskett’s early work with the band, Thrush Hermit; whose lyrics, emphatically polarize the East and West on their final album, Clayton Park. Sloan shows, were and (from what I’ve been told) still are a full-on party. It’s of little wonder why a region so viscerally steeped in talent would gift another pool of transcendent songwriters, three of whom will be performing Calgary Folk Music Festival next weekend.
Here are session recordings from a batch of Nova Scotian recording artists who are making their way West.