Chilliwack There And Back: Live

Think what you will about CanCon, but the fact remains it has been responsible for integrating Canadian artists and their music into our individual musical tapestries. Chilliwack is a case in point. Formed in ’69, this Vancouver-based band pumped out some 12 albums over a 15-year period largely under the musical directions of the talented Bill Henderson, Brian MacLeod and a full family of musical partners. Some 35 years later, Henderson has assembled a crack cast of musicians to revisit the catalogue and delivers some classic Canadiana as presented live to the faithful — new converts and old. The delicious difference with this 77-minute opus is that these songs continue to send up shivers, which addresses the fact that, given the accelerated state of musicianship that often comes with maturity, this is much more than a nostalgia act. These songs remain an integral component of our Canadian fabric and, judging from the upgrading they get here — with full voices (Henderson can still hit the high notes) and tight, inventive musicianship — Chilliwack remain a valid force to be reckoned with as they continue to evoke the spirit of what Once Was in today’s terms, having nicely survived the distance travelled from There And Back. This is no mere flashback. This disc is fun and the finely-crafted rearrangements of some of our nation’s greatest musical contributions make for a nice surprise — Brian MacLeod is surely smiling somewhere. (Paradise)