Friday, 17 February 2012

Songs of the Prairie Poet : Greatest songwriters of all time

From Joni Mitchell and Ian Tyson to Neil Young and Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Prairies have birthed some of the greatest songwriters of all time. The National Music Centre Project is bringing together a group of musicians including Cam Penner, The Travelling Mabels, SAVK, Tim Hus, Jowi Taylor and Voyageur for Songs of the Prairie Poet, a night celebrating these songwriters' gems about cowboys, rivers and the harvest.

A cowboy poet in his own right, the Calgary-based Hus kindly submitted a list of his own Prairie favourites. Featuring both classics and little-knowns (and one of his own for good measure), Hus's list serves as a great primer for the evening. Check out for links to the music. -


1. "M.C. Horses" by Ian Tyson.

2. "Indian Cowboy" by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

3. "Roll on Saskatchewan" by Stompin' Tom Connors.

4. "Harvest Moon" by Neil Young.

5. "Short Native Grasses (Prairies of Alberta)" by Corb Lund.

6. "Ten Years Old and Barefoot" by Gary Fjellgaard.

7. "Hotel &Saloon" by Tim Hus.

8. "It's a Cowboy I am" by Ed Brown.

9. "River" by Joni Mitchell.


1. "Ian has written so many classic songs and really stands as the king of the cowboy singers. This is one of his quintessential songs about the changing West."

2. "Buffy is legendary for her very strong message songs such as 'Universal Soldier' and 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,' but for me 'Indian Cowboy' is adefinite Prairie gem."

3. "This song by beloved Canadian icon Stompin' Tom is written in a straightforward traditional country style and celebrates the watershed of the Saskatchewan River, which runs through the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba on its way to the shores of Hudson Bay."

4. "For a travelling band, touring the Prairies in the fall can be areal challenge. When the harvest is in full swing and the weather is good, those farmers don't stop for anything and you might end up performing in empty concert halls. This great song captures the nostalgia of the thrill of a successful harvest and the Prairie institution of the harvest dance."

5. "This song was recorded on Corb's quintessential Five Dollar Bill album and is about as Prairie western a song as you will find anywhere. Anybody who grew up in the wild rose province will surely understand this song."

6. "This song contains as much Prairie imagery as it is possible to fit into one song. My favourite line is 'I swear that a thousand gophers stared down the barrel of my 22.'"

7. "My travellin' cowboy band has been on the road for close to 10 years, and I sometimes think we might have played every small-town saloon across the Prairies. This song contains a little bit of every place where we have shared our music on 'The-Great-Plains-Never-Ending-Highways Tour.'"

8. "Ed Brown is an ex-bronc rider, musician, cowboy poet, champion bird carver, and founding member of the Manitoba Cowboy Hall of Fame and one of my good friends. This waltz is about staying true to your roots and is one of my favourites by this lesser-known songwriter."

9. "A perfect wintertime song from this legendary Prairie songstress. This song would make anybody miss the Prairies-even if you have never been there."

Songs of the Prairie Poet: Friday, Feb. 17. At the Cantos Music Foundation, 134 11th Ave. S.E. 8p.m. $12 -$15.
Article Via The Calgary Herald

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