Various BYOP (Bring Your Own Plywood): Calgary Does Connors

Stompin' Tom is due for a renaissance. Perhaps he needs a Rick Rubin to help reinvent him for a new generation — or maybe to release a revved up record with the Sadies (one can only dream). In the meantime we have a second tribute album to the quintessential Canuck bard — this time from a motley group of Calgarians. These artists take Connors' three-minute Canadian gospels and speed them up, slow them down, add instruments that weren't invented when they were first written, completely deconstruct them and lovingly shake the beaver shit right out of them. From garage rock mayhem (the CEOs’ "Sudbury Saturday Night") and punker than thou plywood kickers (Knucklehead's "The Canadian Lumberjack"/Cripple Creek Fairies' "Marten Hartwell Story"), to stark open ended dirges of mass murder (Chantal Vitalis' "Jenny Donnelly" — a sadder, and slower, lament has rarely been heard) and spiritual light beams (the Summerlad's "I Am The Wind" — a sort of atmospheric epic sonically akin to enlightenment atop the Moosehead factory overlooking Saint John harbour), BYOP shows Connors's influence on a wide variety of artists. His staunch nationalism, geographic lyricism and historic pedagogy are well known and represented here but Stompin' Tom as ardent political activist is also present, especially in the reworking of "The Consumer" by a guy named the Spam Avenger. Mr. Avenger constructs his hilarious rendition using prank phone calls to a camera phone company and recites the lyrics to the unlucky operators he encounters. Crack open a bottle of 50, rustle up some plywood and sing along with Calgary singing along to Stompin' Tom. (Catch and Release)