Episode 42: Canada Dry

/ October 23, 2018/ Barenaked ABCs/ 2 comments

Episode 42: Canada Dry 

I am American and wet because it is raining.  In my part of the country… which is Maine.  It is raining in Maine.  Okay?  And I hate October Rain.  November, it’s fine because it is usually snow here.  But October Rain stinks.  It’s cold and drizzly…. okay.  I need to get my head off the weather.  What’s this week’s song?  #$#%.  Just enjoy the song. 

House of Strombo appearance 

George Stroumboulopoulos. 

Starts with Canada Dry 


Coke Machine Glow  by Gord Downie played by The Tragically Hip


Unofficial Barenaked ABCs: Canada Dry 



Rock N’ Beards 

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  1. Hey ABCs! I wanted to leave my thoughts on this song (can I say “as a Canadian”? Probably not, I’d hate to speak for all of us). Forgive the slight round tripping in this writing, as I jotted notes as I listened, and am addressing them in order.

    Regarding Michelle’s note about “funeral dirge-like” sound, or the other notes of sorrowful sound, I find it to be much more of a nostalgic remembrance of the narrator’s homeland of Canada. Maybe even with a slight twinge of regret, but not aimed at anything in particular.

    One comment made was that this was maybe directed towards fellow Canadian greats leaving us behind to make their careers bigger in America, but I view it much more simply as a song not towards people, but rather towards the job, or the requirements of the touring gig. I liken it to a Canadian singing towards spending great portions of time on the road away from Canada, due to tours required of his job. I may reference this a little more further down.

    Victoria to St. John’s. No, this may not be the actual greatest distance in Canada, as Tracy definitely mentions Whitehorse in the Yukon. However, with 90% of Canadians living within 100 miles of the American border, we take Victoria to St. Johns typically as the spread of our country, because 90% of us would live roughly within that straight line. No slight intended to our Territories up North, but sadly we do not think about them nearly as often as we think of the provinces in the South.

    I like that you brought up Ballad of Gordon, and the Newfie slang of “I’s”. You are correct, it is short for “I am”, though colloquially the incorrect “I is” is often used, much like “you’s”, which I believe is also used in some of the Northeastern states? However, again Tracy mentioned “I’s the By”, a song that Great Big Sea did. One of the lyrics is “I’s the by the builds the boat, and I’s the by that sails ‘er”, meaning “I’m the boy that builds….and I’m the boy that sails…” So yes, BNL definitely used that vernacular in Ballad of Gordon with “I’s the guy that sails the sky”. I love it!

    Saskatoon is definitely known as Paris of the Prairies, however the province’s motto is “Land of the Living Skies”, most likely due to the wide sweeping horizons created by a stark lack of large hills. Sightlines are incredible in Saskatchewan, and yes, great sunsets could definitely be spotted there. Interestingly enough though, a Hip song called Wheat Kings begins the song with the line “Sundown in the Paris of the prairies”, and tells the story of a man wrongly convicted of a grisly crime in Saskatoon. I don’t personally think Ed was writing with this specific history, but the Hip’s lyric is certainly an evocative line, and with Saskatchewan’s slogan in mind, I think that Saskatoon is a perfectly viable city to utilize in the sinking like a sunset line.

    I really think this song has nothing to do with Steve. Noting my previous paragraph about my thoughts of the narrator (read Ed if it helps) speaking of the American side of the job, I look to the song Bringing it Home. The lines “look back on every misstep and wonder how we got it done”, and “dumb enough to think it would stay that way”, read to me as “Hey look, we did this amazing thing, no idea how, but we’re HUGE!. It’ll always be like this, yeah?” But the BNL craze waned in the overall public thought, “i’m out of your head and i’m losing my mind.” America is still the biggest source of revenue for them due to sheer volume of people, but the need to tour and promote and always be south is leaving him “high and Canada dry” (That is to say, left without Canada too much”). Aaron I think nailed this viewpoint in his notes. I was so happy to hear that! I also view the “you fled the snow while I stayed here” in the same manner, but his heart to his body. His body has fled Canada for duty, but his heart has stayed.

    Side note: I believe “Bringing it Home” is partially referential to BNL preparing to embark on their longest Canadian tour in many many years, hitting many smaller cities and towns that they used to hit before they struck American gold with One Week.

    Last side note: Blue Rodeo and Great Big Sea are both amazing Can-con (canadian content, as our CRTC requires radios to play a certain amount). Good shoutouts to them!

    This song is a solid 4 for me. I loved it the first playthrough and it still gets routine playback on my ipod.

    Thanks for reading this far, if you did!

    1. Of course I did. I won’t say the whole thing on the air, but what a great breakdown. Wish we had you on the show!

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