Hidden gems for your CanCon summer playlist

Summer is finally here. Almost. Time to get your summer playlist in order. And while I probably don’t have to remind you to include a little BTO in there, along with the requisite Tragically Hip hits, it’s worth remembering a couple other CanCon stalwarts that you might’ve forgotten about. Whether you’re heading out on a road trip, lounging in your Muskoka chair, beer in hand, or sitting by the campfire, these five tracks will help ensure you get the full Canadian summer experience:

Nowhere With You, Joel Plaskett: A proud son of Dartmouth, N.S., Joel Plaskett has been on the Canadian music scene since the mid-‘90s (perhaps you remember his first big band, Thrush Hermit?). His songs have the rare ability to make you feel instantly comfortable – maybe that’s because Plaskett never seems to take himself that seriously. “Can I go nowhere with you?” he asks in the song’s chorus. Sounds like a good summer plan.

The Canadian Dream, Sam Roberts Band: Yes, it’s a song about socialism — more specifically, why socialism is “here to stay,” and “the only way.” No, you don’t have to be an NDP voter to like it. For me, this song takes me back to when I was a university student and flirting with “radical” ideas (as university students are wont to do). I’ve moved on, but still, it’s nice when a song takes you back to more innocent times. And besides, Canada is kind of socialist, right?

Life is a Highway, Tom Cochrane: Alright, this one is actually pretty famous (Mad Mad World, the album this song appeared on, sold six million copies worldwide), but I always feel like Tom Cochrane doesn’t get enough CanCon credit. And anyways, Life is a Highway is the perfect summer road trip anthem – it evokes the freedom you feel when you hit the open road. At least that’s what I though Cochrane was talking about when I was kid. Now I think he might be talking about sex.

Funkmobile, Bass is Base: Another perfect tune for your summer road trip. If you watched as much MuchMusic as I did in the early-‘90s, you know exactly what I’m talking about. North York, Ont.’s Bass is Base came out of nowhere with this funky CanCon classic. After that, they pretty much drifted away into obscurity, but “Funkmobile” has stood the test of time. And it’ll fit in just right on your summer CanCon playlist.

So remember: When it comes to putting together your Canadian playlist this summer, leave some space for the lesser known legends of CanCon. Besides, if you really want to hear the Guess Who, all you got to do is tune into your local classic rock radio station. I bet they’re playing “Share the Land” right now!




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