Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh Susanna's Tough City



So the CBC's Great Canadian Song Quest wraps up today. As I mentioned before, Oh Susanna was chosen to write a song about Tofino. Her song, Tough City, is now available for download and you can hear a snippet here. (You have to click on the province to bring up her link.)

Here's a story from The Westerly on the creation of the song.

I've heard of Oh Susanna of course, but I think this close listen will be sending me back to iTunes for more of her work. (And the rest of the Song Quest album sounds very worth a listen, too.) Her voice is strong and her storytelling rooted in place. I see from her website that she was inspired by Bob Dylan, Sarah Harmer and Ron Sexsmith among others and that her band includes musicians from Blue Rodeo so that seals the appeal — I'm fans of them all.

I downloaded the song this morning and have listened several times now. I'm a sentimental gal at heart, so the song appealed to me a great deal. Tough City is the "she" in this song and in it we hear of the history ("when I was young / there were no roads to spare / only the ocean could carry you there"), changes in the economy (the decline of fishing, for instance), and some of Tough City's new reality ("new people come / with their buckets of money / no notion of staying / or knowing her story"). (I know, I know, that last bit is a sweeping statement, but you can't deny that it isn't/hasn't been true in many cases.)

So why don't you take a listen for yourself? Let me know what you think.

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