various artists,
Tears of a Thousand Years
(Fogarty's Cove, 2001)

"These are songs of strength, courage, love and hope." - liner notes

Twenty Canadian musicians band together and lend a hand to the September 11th relief fund efforts in Tears of a Thousand Years. Featuring previous releases as well as new material, Tears includes a small assortment of musical selections and styles, including folk, country and easy listening.

Of all the offerings, some were easier to relate to the events that changed the face of New York and the nation than others. A few of the most on-target songs in the bunch prove to be "If It's A Long Way Home," the title song, "There is A Time" and "Bomb Them With Butter," by James Gordon. Hearing his introduction to this musical contribution, I felt a sense of pride and deep sorrow as I thought of our great loss:

Our friends and neighbors with the United States of America have gone through an awful rough time. We've got a 4,000-mile-long border that we share with the United States. No matter how the rest of the world dumps on them, you've got to hand it to the Americans, they are a great country and a great people.

Despite the title, a wonderful message is contained in this song.

Although touched by the sentiments this worthwhile project and its artists convey, I was not hooked by the music. In addition to relatively all songs being a little too country and corny for my tastes, nothing grabbed me, shook me up and set the home fires burning. However, those who enjoy Canadian country and folk, you may be pleased to spot artists such as Valdy, Lynn Harrison, Brent Titcomb, Scott Cameron Smith, Katherine Wheatley, Stan Rogers, James Gordon, Randy Uberig, The Laws, Don Bray, Doug McArthur, Eileen McGann, Aengus Finnan, Fireweed, Tim Harrison, Paul Langille, D'Arcy Wickham, John Gracie and Susan Crowe. For more information about the artists and songs, visit their website.

While it is true that these are "songs of strength, courage, love, and hope," they're all too quiet. Perhaps it's that I'm a New Yorker, or just that I'm American -- but songs like "God Bless the USA," "Hero" and "God Bless America" say it all, for me.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 13 April 2002