The Weakerthans mean a lot to me. They’re a Canadian band from Winnipeg, and they sound like home. I’m not even from Winnipeg, but I associate them with all of Canada, and I feel their music really deeply. Theirs are the records my boyfriend and I would play in his student house in undergrad while we sat on the old couches in his living room in our sweats (the kind of sweats that roofing contractors might wear on the job if it were chilly). And now when I play the albums, that’s what I remember. Their music evokes a deep sense of nostalgia in me, for … well, kind of for everything, somehow.
This album is special. It’s a live album, which can sometimes be hit or miss, but let me tell you this is one you’ll enjoy listening to. It was recorded by the CBC at a concert in Halifax, in 1993, and you get so much of the concert experience on this album. You get the stories behind the songs, you get the banter between band members, you get tales about this and that and the other thing, all interspersed among some of the best music you’ll ever hear.
And I don’t say that lightly; I truly believe that. Stan Rogers wrote all about the struggles of working people, primarily on the East Coast, and about those who had to move to the West to protect their livelihood and their dignity. My good friend Paul Maddalena puts it perfectly when he says “It all feels so Canadian, it’s real and down to Earth”.
I think this is maybe my first favourite album. When I say that, I mean the first album that I, by myself, autonomously, decided that I loved. Though the Beatles’ 1 was very important to me, the Beatles are important to a lot of people, and it’s a very easy and common album to have as one of one’s favourites. But Come Away With Me, even though I was, of course, introduced to it by my parents, struck me early as a favourite that would be more unique, a little less known, a little more special. Not that liking a less popular album makes you better of cooler or more deserving of limo services than someone whose favourite album is better-known, but it was because Come Away With Me wasn’t quite as popular that it felt more like a personal favourite than one I’d just adopted from everyone else.
I know I spent so long on the About page talking about how important it is to listen to an album all the way through because of the artist’s intent and whatnot, and then I go and champion a best of album in my first post. I know. I see the hypocrisy. But I couldn’t leave it off of the list. Just like a residential plumber kitchener wouldn’t leave “pipes” off of their shopping lists. Just wouldn’t be right. This album is one I grew up with. My dad loves the Beatles, and when I think of my childhood and spending time with my dad, I think of this album. It’s just had such a huge impact on my musical preferences that it would have been a sin to have left it out.