This cd serves as a reminder of just how rich The Band’s catalogue of music still is. In addition it lets you understand the Garth Hudson and “Canuck” connection to the group’s unique place in rock history.
Garth Hudson’s inventive and organic keyboard work was central to the dynamics of the group and still remains unique to it’s groove no matter what artist is in the driver’s seat. Upon further listen this cd with 18 Canadian artists comes off warmly with it’s reinvention of The Band’s diverse output.
The Hudson narrative is simple. Think about when you watch the film or listen to the soundtrack of let’s say The Last Waltz (as I have done too many times to count) Amid the chaos of all the performers and musicians Garth Hudson’s keyboard work acted as a type of universal weld that held the music intact.
On this album Garth Hudson a Canadian Celebration of The Band you hear well known Canadian artists pay homage to the Band’s material (a lot of it written by Robbie Robertson) and of course to Hudson’s own musical roots.
Danny Brooks and The Rockin Revelators blast off the album with Forbidden Fruit in sublime voice (think of David Clayton Thomas) while Papa John King supplies some killer guitar fills. From there Mary Margaret O’Hara simply owns Out of the Blue which features Hudson’s shimmering piano aided by the Sadies who show up on a number of cuts (check out their version of The Shape I’m In) including a “sixties” rave up with Canuck Icon Neil Young on Bob Dylan and Rick Danko’s This Wheel’s On Fire. Yep you know it. Ol’ Neil is still the “real thing”
Hudson rocks some heavy duty organ on A’int Got No Home with Suzie McNeil blazing through an excellent vocal aided by some “rippin’ chops by axeman Tavis Stanley.
In a variety of places there are some nice suprises. Raine Maida digs deep into The Cahoots number The Moon Struck One and Chantal Kreviazuk does Richard Manuel justice on her gorgeous rendering of Tears of Rage, while Blue Rodeo featuring Greg Keelor, Bob Packwood and Hudson nail down a rootsy take on the classic King Harvest (has surely come)
It should be noted a lot of tracks (probably because of time constraints) were not represented. Among them Life is a Carnival, It Makes No Difference, Look Out Cleveland, Rag Mama Rag, and Ophelia to name a few. In addiiton it would have cool to hear let’s say Tom Cochrane or the Tragically Hip.
Elsewhere Ian Thornley (Chest Fever) The Trews (Move to Japan) The Road Hammers (Yazoo Street Scandal) and Hawksley Workman who smokes big time on I Loved You Too Much work the rock n roll angle.
From Bruce Cockburn to Great Big Sea, The Cowboy Junkies, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle and Peter Kratz, it’s a an honest record in every way.
Big kudos to Peter J Moore on the engineering and “the mix’.