You can’t get much more Canadian than this. Every once in a while, a group will come together and put together an album that just makes one’s Canadian heart soar with pride. In this case it’s Trent Severn (the name itself a reference to an Ontario waterway), a group made up of three wonderfully talented women: Dayna Manning, Emm Gryner and Laura C. Bates.
The project was inspired by Canada- its scenery, its culture, its history. Those who purchase physical copies of the CD will benefit from the liner notes that touch on the inspiration for each and every song, and some of the titles should be enough to trigger some knowledge- “Mulroney Times” and “Truscott” being good examples. The only way this album could be even more Canadian would be with a Joel Plaskett cameo.
But wait! “Bluenose on a Dime” does just that, incorporating one of Canada’s most beloved musicians wonderfully with the already beautiful combination of Manning, Gryner and Bates. One of the highlights of the album is their beautiful harmonies and the folksy instrumentals.
So how Canadian does this album get? Let’s look at the opener “Snowy Soul.” Title aside, the song was apparently inspired by hearing a man talk about his trip to the Arctic. The repeated line of “I gotta make it back some day” wonderfully romanticizes a place that our friends south of the border may not immediately want to visit.
“Wild One” is a song that definitely dwells on nostalgia. “You’re a wild one, what would John Livingston say?” sing the women. John Livingston is best known as the voiceover for the popular “Hinterland Who’s Who” TV segments as well as a famous naturalist. “Truscott” imagines an alternate reality for Steven Truscott, the man wrongfully convicted of murdering his classmate when he was just 14 years old.
So some references are going to be inside references, but there’s plenty to enjoy aside from being able to identify the NAFTA mention in “Mulroney Times.” There’s “Muskoka Bound,” which builds from the classic “road song.” “Answers” is probably the catchiest song on the album, despite the alcoholic lyrics “A shot of rye/Turns into five.”
So whether you’re a patriotic countryman or just looking to hear some pretty music, Trent Severn is definitely the album you want to be listening to. And who knows- your Canadian experiences may end up as a future Trent Severn song- along with the liner notes is a postcard you can send to the band to let them know what about Canada inspires you.
Top Tracks: “Like a Donnelly”; “Answers”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)