Snappy Singles: Spring Is In The Air

Snappy Singles

March is finally here. Winter is practically a fading memory now. We’ve adjusted the clocks again and we’re ready for some longer, warmer, lighter evenings. But this has nothing to do with great music – unless you want to use those longer, warmer, lighter evenings to sit out on your porch with a hot beverage and check out our four hand-picked Snappy Singles here today. With an overflowing email inbox, we had no shortage of submissions to select – and opt to share tunes from artists with geographical roots in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Who knows, maybe some province-themed features are in our future…

The Northern Pikes, “Girl With A Problem (Acoustic)”

We’ve been actively covering Canadian music since 2016, yet have inexcusably failed to devote editorial space to revered Saskatoon, SK folk-rockers The Northern Pikes. Time to rectify that issue right here, right now. Recently announcing their forthcoming tenth studio album, “Time to Time” (out June 2), the band have released this reimagined acoustic version of a prior hit tune – one that remains deeply personal for co-vocalist/bassist Jay Semko. “The song has had a long life [and] the new recording is an expanded version on how I typically perform it solo,” he shares. “In 1988, I was becoming pretty aware of my drinking problem, and I can see I was writing about myself. Life is much better for me now as a person in recovery.” Exploring this theme of addiction and the helplessness felts by those around addicts, this acoustic version offers an intimate listening experience, infused with flickering atmospheres and a plaintive vocal from Semko. “I’ve had numerous people over the years tell me the song affected them positively,” Jay adds. “Sometimes just being open and honest with lyrics and music can be a positive thing for someone dealing with that situation, or at least giving them comfort knowing one is not alone in feeling that way.”

Bella White, “Break My Heart”

Given that the previous Snappy Single kicked off a conversation about dealing with addiction, this latest tune from Calgary, AB-born (and Nashville-based) Bella White easily lures my own addiction issue out into the open – a truly unhealthy love and eternal weakness for some genuine vintage country-twang. Hitting the senses immediately with some rolling piano, low-end guitar rings, and a super-sized portion of steel guitar, cue the all-out nostalgia blast brought on just a few short seconds into “Break My Heart.” There are no shortage of artists keeping this time-honored music tradition alive here in the twenty-first century, but this 22-year-old singer-songwriter from the Canadian Cowtown easily convinces the casual listener of instead being ‘Appalachia Bluegrass’ through and through. “Out of all the songs I’ve written Break My Heart is probably the most explicitly about getting dumped,” Bella shares. “I wrote it with no intention of ever sharing it. I didn’t even feel any particular emotional attachment to it like I do with my other songs, because it was such an isolated experience, zooming in on one specific moment in time. That said, bringing it to life by turning a valley into a peak felt deeply cathartic. It’s a heartbreaker that I hope will at least get you moving.”

Devon Cole, “Call U After Rehab”

Originally from Calgary, and now calling Toronto home, JUNO-Award nominee (Breakthrough Artist of the Year) Devon Cole is another emerging Albertan artist very quickly generating plenty of buzz with her alt-pop hits “W.I.T.C.H” and “Hey Cowboy.”  With the release of this latest single last Friday, Devon is eager to show the softer side of her repertoire. “Call U After Rehab” is my most vulnerable release yet,” she offers. “It’s a love song about pausing a relationship in order to take care of myself. I was putting off my issues for a while and finding any way to justify my bad habits.” “You think it’s funny when I’m angry / I pick a fight and you don’t mind / You kiss my nose and call me baby / I wish we met another time / Because I think this could be love / But I’m working through some stuff…”  Weaving social truths and issues into her songwriting, this enigmatic artist is another force to be reckoned with among the current generation of Canadian artists bursting on to the scene (and across the airwaves). “Deciding to say goodbye to my closest comforts, to give myself the space and the time to heal, felt like ripping off a bandaid that had been there for ages,” Devon adds. “And this release kind of feels the same, in some ways. I hope people can relate by interpreting the rehab idea however they want to.”

Northern Quarter, “Running Like A River”

Now that we’ve determined spring is the perfect time to bid winter farewell and check in on long lost friends, we’re ready to turn the spotlight on Northern Quarter – our pals out west in Canmore, AB, who recently shared this simply stunning new single. “Well, I’ve been stuck in this dusty old town / Feeling six feet underground / Been looking for your face / Among people in a crowded place.” Riding shotgun with this quartet for several years now, the development of their sound has been nothing short of phenomenal – this is a band that continues to raise their own bar with each outing. “This song isn’t about one particular love story, but a collection of stories from years of travels where most people you meet seem to be a little broke and a little heartbroken,” shares vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kerry Hunter. “It’s about moving on and moving forward but never being able to forget that one special person you met along the way.” Adding the stunning orchestral strings and cinematic touches is local fingerstyle guitarist and film score professional Kyle Pullan, which certainly pushes this tune to another level. “I wanna feel weightless but I can’t let go / Feel you pulling me into the undertow / Waves keep crashing overhead / And I can’t seem to catch my breath.

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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