Is Canada the hottest musical place in the world right now?


So far this year we have been treated to three magnificent Canadian releases from Feist, Arcade Fire and now Rufus Wainwright (review to follow when I’ve given it due consideration).

And yet say Canada and music in the same breath and musos sneer. Why? Is Canada sooo uncool? Well, for the record here are my top ten Canadian acts of all time.  I’d be interested in your comments.


1 Joni Mitchell (Too many albums to choose from and at least five utter classics)

2 Arcade Fire (Neon Bible is awesome)

3 Leonard Cohen (The songs of Leonard Cohen is spellbinding)

4 Rufus Wainwright (Cannot put a foot wrong)

5 Martha Wainwright (Ditto. Her duet with Snow Patrol last year was the highlight of a fine record)

6 Neil Young (A patchy legend)

7 Daniel Lanois (As artist and producer)

8 Cowboy Junkies (Kings and Queens of hushedness)

9 Feist (Great new LP. See review)

10 Martha And The Muffins (OK, their albums were so so but Echo beach is a classic)


And the Hall of Shame?

Celine Dion

Shania Twain

Avril Lavigne

Bryan Adams.

All total pish.

The Hold steady. Boys and Girls in america.


I saw this band putting in an awesome performance on Jools Holland last week and rushed out to buy this, their latest record.

I’ve not listened to it enough yet to draw a final conclusion on its greatness or otherwise but, put it this way, It holds a great deal of promise. They are compared to Springsteen (with the E street Band) and I can see why. But I don’t like Sprinsteen and I DO like this. Tales of Blue Collar US life abound.

What a shocker of a sleeve though.

PS two months later;

This is an awesome record.   The songs are hopeless, despairing drug filled hell.  But what a ride.  A very good record and extremely highly recommended.  The fact that the main man is such a poor singer is one of its great touchpoints and I think should fuel its popularity.

Feist. The Reminder.


I’ve been listening to this for a while and was rather disturbed when I heard it played TWICE in Starbucks. That is the kiss of death from my point of view as I thought it was a bit of a discovery. But turns out it’s merely Starbucks Coffee table fodder.

Anyway for the record it’s a moody rather pleasant distraction. Apparently her third (or so) album she hails from Canada and is a member of Broken Social Scene – not familiar with their stuff.

So, is it any good?


The Outsider, Edinburgh

It’s about time I gave you lot, my occasional readers, (God help you, have you nothing better to do with your time) the odd food review. After all, we all have to eat don’t we?

Friday 18th May, my 45th birthday and I decided to take my gorgeous wife, Jeana, out for lunch. I know, I know it should have been the other way round. But c’est la vie. She got the pints in at The Doric afterwards. We chose The Outsider in George IV Bridge for this rare event. I took the eftie aff so as to prolong the experience and only had about 20 phone calls so not too bad.

Anyway I can report a very favourable experience. After an oily (as opposed to buttery) garlic bread starter that had spent little time in the garlic fields of Francais we moved onto more positive territory. The Chorizo and pepper mash topped with Boudin Noir (That’s Black pudding if you don’t speak French) was delicious, if a little on the sparse side and it wasn’t mash it was slices of tatties. Buit it was very good indeed. Big J had a Ceasar salad with smoked chicken that she pronounced, ‘nice’.

Then we shared an apple and blueberry crumble which was excellent except that it seemed to have raspberries rather than blueberries in it. Anyway, after three bottles of Western Australian Chardonnay between us we didn’t really give a monkeys.

Service was pretty good, the dining room light and airy with huge ceilings and a great view across to the art college. Good music, kinda French house stuff that was unintrusive but kinda cool.