Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The Halifax-based music blog Herohill has become one of the most important sites in the country, a place where new bands hope to get mentioned, and where up-and-comers hope to become favourites. A nod from Herohill is more than a pat on the back for artists; inevitably it gets mentioned in any band P.R., in that section where they put the positive review quotes. It's known as a taste-maker site, able to pick the next cool group. I've even seen mainstream media using it as proof of quality; The Globe and Mail ran a piece on a band which mentioned it first broke on the Herohill blog.

One of the reasons people go there for their Canadian music news is the liveliness of the site. Run by big fans, they know what their fellow listeners want, which is something different and fun. There's always lots of actual music to hear, and great links. Now, Herohill is even coming up with its own unique and exclusive content. It started last year, when the gang realized they had an embarrassing secret to share: They loved old Hall & Oates. They inquired of some musical pals if it was also a hidden shame shared by them, and in fact it was easy to find like-minded musicians. So Herohill asked several to record their favourite H&O songs. The results ended up on the site, for free, in a special blog called Herohall & Oates.  It's still up by the way, at http://www.herohill.com/2010/12/herohall-oates.htm.  It features such artists as Rae Spoon, Gianna Lauren and The Provincial Archive doing all those 70's and 80's hits.

Fast-forward to the preparations for this year's Canada Day, and Herohill all of a sudden got all patriotic on us. Wanting to do another of these cover compilations, they sent word out to dozens of like-minded Canucksters, asking them to pay tribute this July 1st to one of our iconic songwriters. Bryan Acker of Herohill explains the choice: "Lightfoot is never mentioned - at least by the younger crowd - in the discussion of great Canadian artists, so we thought this would be a great way to put a modern spin on some timeless classics, and hopefully keep his music relevant for people that only download what the cool Brooklyn blogs pump out."

This time, they couldn't move for submissions from bands. Although a couple had to turn it down, in the end there are 36 different cuts, by such acts as The Warped 45's, Shotgun Jimmie, The Wheat Pool, Andrew Sisk, Clinton Charlton, Jerry Leger, Lorrie Matheson and more. Some are completely different arrangements and feature backing that's far from the original acoustic folk style Lightfoot uses. Others keep it pretty close to normal, but all are enjoyable, especially at the price. Bring us more, Herohill! Who's next? The Guess Who? April Wine? How about The Tragicall Hip? Anyway, check out the download-only fun at http://www.herohill.com/2011/07/herohill-vs-gordon-lightfoot-turning-back-the-pages-of-my-sweet-shattered-dreams.htm

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