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Top 5 Canadian Female Solo Artists

December 14, 2015

Music of the World_Canada

exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

I’ll eventually get back to 1001 album reviews, some favourable ones are on the way.

But for now, more CanCon celebrations.

These are 5 of Canada’s finest females!

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5. Diana Krall
Really enjoyed seeing her at Massey hall years ago.

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4. Sarah Harmer
She’s splendid independently & this particular tune is one of my favourite duets – with Gord Downie, from a film about curling, featuring Leslie Nielsen. Could it be more Canadian?!

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3. Chantal Kreviazuk
Under These Rocks and Stones is a fine front-to-back album.

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2. Feist
Wonderfully unique voice. This is one of those basslines I wish I’d written!

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1.kd lang
Makes a pair of well deserved appearances on the 1001 list.

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46 Comments
  1. Very nice list, at least for the 3 artists that I’m very familiar with. I’m sure the others are excellent too, since I trust your taste. Leaving off Joni Mitchell might cause the internet to explode. I hope you’re prepared for the backlash. Haha. Sarah McLachlan, Jann Arden and Alanis Morissette fans will also be upset, but likely less vocal than Joni supporters.

    • THanks RIch – I wouldn’t be surprised if Joni Mitchell is #1 on a list of mine some day. I had no use for Neil Young at the beginning of this project and he grew on me considerably after a few albums. So my Joni moment of enlightenment is likely imminent!

  2. Nice list, Geoff! Although I’ve never been much of a Kreviazuk or lang fan, myself.

    Rich is right, people will probably say ‘Hey what about Joni Mitchell!!”* and that’s perfectly understandable. She really is one of a kind. Like you, though, I’d probably leave her off my list because I never got into her music enough to be a fan myself. Ah well.

    * for that matter, you’ll likely hear the same from the Anne Murray and Celine Dion fans.

    Here’s a few more for your consideration!

    Carolyn Mark
    Kathryn Calder
    Kathleen Edwards
    Sarah Slean
    Holly Cole
    Holly McNarland
    Serena Ryder

    • I second the nomination of Kathleen Edwards. Love her voice & songwriting.

    • Much appreciated Aaron – Carolyn & Kathryn are new to me but the rest I certainly approve!

      • Carolyn Mark is brilliant and I think everyone should own everything of hers. (ED. bias noted, and approved). She has just the greatest approach, smart and fun songs, and she’s a really nice lady too!

        Kathryn Calder has done three solo records, but before that she was in the amazing Immaculate Machine (and also plays with the New Pornographers too)!

      • Nice people writing smart songs sounds good to me!

      • Oh man, I’ve met them both and they’re both super-nice, and super-talented.

  3. Also:

    Margo Timmins
    Julie Doiron
    Lee Aaron
    Melissa McLelland

    • Really liked the Trinity session! And of course Julie Doiron’s appearances with Gordie are delightful

      • Hard to fault any of the Cowboy Junkies’ stuff, actually, and yes Trinity is awesome! And don’t forget Julie’s work with the amazing Eric’s Trip!

      • And I have the hip’s Put it off to thank for introducing me to Eric’s Trip!

      • That’s right, they do mention that there! Man, I had Love Tara back in the day. I really got into the east coast thing, all the Sloan, Thrush Hermit, Local Rabbits, Eric’s Trip, the Superfriendz… all that good stuff!

      • I was at a restaurant in Ottawa recently that played TH’s The Day we hit the coast, I was blown away!

      • Oh yeah, and Jale too!

  4. Hi Geoff, kd lang is one of my favorites!

  5. Great to see Feist in your five, Geoff. I do believe I heard the internet explode. Can’t be sure, though … my ears aint what they used to be.

  6. Lovely list! Chantal seems like a nice person, and she’s got an amazing voice, but I find her songwriting to be a tad on the generic side. I guess that’s how she got a job writing songs for Canadian Idol winners. LOL

    Anyway I endorse this list.

    One of Feist’s most fun (and seasonal!) songs was a tune she did for the Steven Colbert Christmas Special…which iTunes sell the soundtrack for…anyway, check ‘er out!

    • Jenn permalink

      I was never a Chantal Kreviazuk fan until I landed at an outdoor concert at one of those summer music festivals, maybe in Oakville(?), where she sat on the stage, alone at a piano, and talked to the audience and sang and played for over an hour to a quite small crowd on a damp evening. I was really impressed by her musicality and her audience interaction. Don’t love her music, but that definitely cemented my respect for her as a musician.

      I agree with a good chunk of this list, G!

      • Many thanks Jenn – I don’t think I’ve seen her live yet (only on TV at a New Years Eve) – that’s encouraging to hear she doesn’t phone it in!

      • See that’s a real genuine musical experience. I would enjoy that a lot more than Chantal’s radio hits!

    • Thanks Mike – I’ve got Please be Patient playing as I type, nice choice!

      • Just thought of one girl that I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet. If they have I apologize but I like Lights.

      • Lights definitely makes life easier when the sun goes down.

  7. Where the hell is Metal Queen Lee Aaron? Ha just bustin your chops Geoff. Seriously though she was the first female Canadian artist I had bought back in 84 with the actual Metal Queen album release. So you gotta hand it to her for that! Ha! First female purchase for Moi was Benetars Crimes Of Passion album ..Wowzers!

  8. Glad you mentioned Sarah Harmer. Went to high school with her, she was in my sisters grade, though. Fantastic voice, particularly joy her escarpment album.

    • Ian = that’s ditto for me (went to high school but was my sister’s age), but with Melissa McLelland of Whitehorse, another nice Canadian voice!

  9. Interesting left-field choices! Diana Krall, I only know her album The Look of Love. From that, her recording of Besame Mucho stayed with me. Feist put out some good music a few years ago and then seemed to disappear.
    Loreena McKennitt has a beautiful voice, although I haven’t listened to her music in years so I don’t know if it holds up.

  10. Margot Timmins is a great inclusion from KMA.
    Loved Rich K’s comment on Ms M’s exclusion. If she is not there, then no surprise that you haven’t yet absorbed the strange beauty of Jane Siberia. Another one to investigate…?

    • I’ve seen the name Jane Siberry but am unfamiliar beyond that – an investigation sounds like a good idea!

      • There’s a huge 2CD compilation by Rhino for a thorough grounding in the unique Ms Siberry’s world. For a single album I’d suggest ‘Bound by the beauty’.

      • I’m so glad you figured that out! At first I was like Jane Siberia? Who’s that? Haha I need more coffee…

      • I second Bruce’s recommendation of Jane Siberry (and love the “Siberia” nickname). Although I was aware of her for many years I didn’t check her out until someone recommended her music during my k.d. lang series. I got the 2-CD Rhino compilation that Bruce mentioned as well as a couple of her albums on vinyl. Definitely a major talent & well worth exploring.

  11. I am not a Joni Mitchell fan, and find that her albums (and their covers) get worse as time goes on (i.e. the older stuff is better). However, she really should be in the top 5. As evidence, I present:

    There are shorter versions available, with just the song, but the cornball introduction takes one back to those glorious day of yesteryear.

    Here, she channels traditional English folk singers, which tradition was brought into the world of rock by the likes of Sandy Denny and Maddy Prior (both of whom are simply beyond words; absolutely beautiful (and not bad voices either). Something about these old songs remind me of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen and the films of Ingmar Bergman and, with respect to some of their works, Shakespeare and Goethe: A good artist is one who truly comprehends what it means to be human and can convey this to others, by making very personal things very universal.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m sure after listening to The Book of Souls (latest Iron Maiden album) that Bruce Dickinson has listened to Joni’s first album.

    • Thanks for your comments & sharing the song Phillip, I really like that idea of making the personal universal (and perhaps it works the other way too, the best universally appealing songs can have very personal meanings).
      Haven’t heard book of souls yet but it’s been highly recommended by a few trusted sources!

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