The 2021 JUNO Awards winners have finally been announced, but fear not, if you are still craving more great Canadian music, then we’ve got you covered here at GDW. That’s right, it’s our monthly installment of Snappy Singles once again, and in the spirit of this past weekend, allow us to share with you our selections for the GDW June-O’s. Take fifteen minutes away from your yard work and enjoy four awesome new tunes from across Canada.
iskwē & Tom Wilson, “Starless Nights”
Following the success of their 2020 collaboration on “Blue Moon Drive,” featuring Chuck Copenace, Hamilton, ON-based JUNO Award-winning artists iskwē and Tom Wilson join forces once again to unleash another blockbuster single. “[This] is a beautiful song, written by an incredible songwriter Misha Bowers,” shares iskwē. “When I was at Words Fest in London, ON, sharing in a songwriters circle with Misha … she performed this tune acoustically and it was mind-blowing. It was one of these songs that the moment you hear it you get shivers.” Recorded at Jukasa Studios in Six Nations, ON under the watchful eye of Darren Magierowski (July Talk), the duo called upon Wilson’s supporting cast from Lee Harvey Osmond to add their signature touches, with Jesse O’Brien (keys), Anna Ruddick (bass), and Ray Farrugia (drums) joined once again by Copenace (trumpet) and a very special guest guitarist. “Our secret weapon on this track was legendary guitarist Bill Dillon, known for his work with Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, Edie Brickell and many more,” offers Wilson. “Bill was the perfect counterpoint for iskwē’s fearless performance.”
Bad Buddy, “Mind Control”
Edmonton, AB Motown-inspired ‘surf punks’ Bad Buddy made quite an impression here at GDW with their single “Fine Hunniez,” so we are delighted to share this latest release, “Mind Control,” which drops today. “We have actually been sitting on Mind Control for quite a while,” shares guitarist and vocalist Emily Bachynski. “The pandemic made the pre-production a lengthy, somewhat tedious process … unlike anything we’ve ever done before. We took the time to arrange parts and create sounds to produce something larger than life.” After giving this one a whirl, I can only agree with Emily’s words, as I was definitely surprised by the tight vocal harmonies that toss a little Doo Wop into their repertoire. I never thought I’d find elements of Doo Wop, punk, and surf-rock in one song, but Bad Buddy seemingly manage to combine all three genres with ease to create a wonderfully charming sixties pop meets eighties punk, with a little surf twang tossed into the instrumental break for good measure. “Having the finished product in our hands feels like we’ve made it to the top of a steep climb,” adds Emily. “We are thrilled to share this with the world, and we’re already looking forward to what’s next.”
Tristan Armstrong, “It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night”
Toronto, ON recording artist Tristan Armstrong recently shared his interpretation of this lesser-played Tragically Hip tune to coincide with the Victoria Day holiday weekend, which, according to Tristan, is traditionally “a time where people in Ontario head out to the cottage to binge on beer and Hip records.” Originally recorded by the Hip back in 2004 and found on their “In Between Evolution” album, Tristan was eager to not only cover a track from one of Canada’s most revered bands, but also wanted to add a little twist based upon his own observations. “The concept here was to do a version the way [US rock band] Spoon might,” he shares. “My good friend Trevor taught Gord Downie’s son Lou drum lessons for several years. After the lessons he would often chat with Gord for a bit and ask him what he’d been listening to. He talked about being really into Spoon and The National.” Tristan’s vocal delivery is pretty similar in style and context to Gord’s unmistakable sound, but where this version truly differs is in the instrumentation, where the Hip’s electric guitar centered approach is replaced by a breezy acoustic and strings laced approach. This makes for an interesting interpretation of an iconic tune.
String Bone (ft. George Leger III), “Waitin’ For My Dyin’ Day”
Recording under his solo moniker String Bone, Stratford, ON roots-Canadiana singer-songwriter Barry James Payne is no stranger to us here at GDW. Both a good friend and an impeccable musician, whether you catch him performing individually or as part of popular Celtic-Traditional ensemble, Rant Maggie Rant, you know that no matter what the cost of admission, the experience shall always exceed the amount printed on the ticket stub. With songs that cut deep, String Bone walks in the shoes of downtrodden vagabonds, and bravely into the fray of collapsing love. “Waitin’ For My Dyin’ Day” is the first offering of new music from String Bone’s highly anticipated third studio album, and based on the initial spin of this single, may signal a much darker shift in his musical persona. Based upon a mysterious character on the brink of the breaking point, seeking mercy in both life or death, it is a stranger’s kind words or stroke of good luck that provides the power for our protagonist to push on, to keep going, and hold thoughts of pain and death at bay. “I’m alive,” soars the chorus, moving from bleak darkness into bright illumination, ending once again with a repetitive plea for mercy.