I work fairly close to Trafalgar Square in Olde London. So yesterday I wandered down there on my lunch hour to catch some of the free concert being laid on by the Canadian Embassy as part of the Canada Day celebrations. It consisted of series of short sets by Canadian artists, and the two that I saw were very good indeed.
First up was Lennie Gallant, a new name to me but one who obviously been around a while as he has nine albums under his belt (seven in Englsh, two in French). And he has the Order of Canada as recognition of his distinguished contribution. This is him.
Lennie plays good solid roots music in what might be called a traditional Canadian style - there is definitely a touch of the Gordon Lightfoots about him, with some nice story songs and some choruses you can sing along with. He was also accompanied by a lady fiddler with a lovely smile, with whom I became slightly infatuated.
Next up was Devon Sproule and her band, which was the main reason I had gone down there. They played a very enjoyable set mostly drawn from her latest album, "I Love You, Go Easy". Devon herself was in fine form, and the fact she had recently returned from a trip to the face-painting stall enhanced her "not quite as bonkers as Victoria Williams but heading in the same direction" persona. But as with the first set, I got a bit distracted by the support staff, specifically Devon's pet hippy who flaunted around the stage looking like a cross between two famous Phillips', Emo and John from the Mamas and Papas.
They were joined for one number by Mantler. He does not look like a conventional rock performer, resembling as he does a slightly down at heel Boss Hogg, but the three of them together made quite an arresting sight.
Enough of my holiday snaps, on with the music. Here is a track apiece from Lennie, Devon and Mantler.
"The Coldest Road" - Lennie Gallant (from "If We Had A Fire", 2009)
"The Unmarked Animals" - Devon Sproule (from "I Love You, Go Easy", 2011)
"In Stride" - Mantler (from "Monody", 2010)
To finish off, here is Lennie's sister Patsy with her own contribution to the storytelling tradition.
And I am indebted to my old friend Mister F for drawing my attention to this touching tribute to the city of Vancouver.