Published Sep 15, 2011If you're looking to revisit the Canadian music scene of the '90s, you might want to tune into Life Is a Highway: Canadian Pop Music in the '90s, a two-part CBC series that aims to explore the era. The first part screens tonight (September 15) at 8 p.m. EST, the second comes a week later on September 22. The show comes from the same team that produced well-received earlier looks at the '60s, '70s and '80s (respectively, Shakin' All Over, This Beat Goes On, and Rise Up).
Life Is a Highway is executive produced by Luc Chatelain (of Montreal-based Echo Media) and Nick Orchard (of Vancouver-based Soapbox Productions), written and co-produced by veteran Canadian music journalist/author Nicholas Jennings, and directed and co-produced by Gary McGroarty. Jian Ghomeshi hosts and narrates, and does extra duty in performance footage of his '90s band Moxy Früvous.
As would be expected, much of the show focuses on performance footage and interviews with such major '90s stars as Tom Cochrane, k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, the Tragically Hip and Barenaked Ladies, but screen time is also given to the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Odds, Bass Is Base, and the late and much-missed Lhasa. The growth of Canadian hip-hop and Celtic music is also explored.
The show was given a press launch at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto earlier this week. Jennings told the audience, "We are very proud of this penultimate show of what will be a five-part, 50-year history of Canadian music that the CBC has supported so generously. We tried our very best to reflect the diversity of music in Canada through each decade. Life Is a Highway is no exception. We tried to represent all the genres and biggest hits, as well as some of the most influential cult artists in Canada through the '90s."
Exclaim! readers may be amused to note that, according to the liner notes, Canrock favourites Sloan are defined as a cult band.
Jennings explains, "This show was about two years in the making. It was a massive undertaking, with 150 interviews and 44 songs. The amount of work in sourcing archival performance footage and to clear both that footage and the publishing and licensing rights is huge. I now look forward to one more in this series, the Noughties [2000s]."
As with the earlier titles, a DVD release of Life Is a Highway will be released through EMI Canada.