Stringband The Indispensable (1972-2002)

Long before Gord Downie or the Rheostatics injected popular music with a much needed Canadian lyrical slant, a fearless folk group was busy singing about, and helping to create, a national identity. For the first time, Stringband can be heard on CD with this two-disc retrospective culling 42 classics from their four studio albums and two live ones, together with four new songs that are the product of a 2001 Stringband reunion. Their repertoire includes witty Arlo Guthrie-style rag-folk, East Coast sea shanties, gutsy political singer-songwriter polemics, traditional French Canadian folk songs, jumpy string jazz and soft acoustic ballads. Always fiercely independent, the ever-changing Stringband unpredictably drew from many sources and in turn inspired a generation of Canadian songwriters (Stan Rogers sings back-up here on "Tugboat" from 1977, and Daniel Lanois produced 1978's The Maple Leaf Dog). This collection gives a long look at the career of a band that modern day independent musicians could stand to take notice of - both for their unflagging Canadian passion and their pioneering business and marketing sense. Such a retrospective is long overdue. (Festival)