Nancy White,
Stickers on Fruit
(Borealis, 2002)

Canadian folk-music comedienne Nancy White is back again with her trademark acerbic wit and flair for catchy tunes on Stickers on Fruit. Joining her on this project are Bob Johnston (piano, keyboards, percussion, record, guitar, vocals and whistle), Tom Leighton (accordion, bones & feet, vocals), Rick Whitelaw (guitar), Juan Opitz (Latin percussion), Dale Koshida (organ, drum programming), Barbara Johnston, Catherine Merriam-Gorman and Stella Walker (vocals) and daughters Maddy and Suzy Wilde (vocals).

It is a raucous group and they make joyful music together, from the odyssey of "Jesus at Tim's," a story of donuts, coffee and religious revelation, to "Mary Jane's Got Your Number," a cautionary tale of middle age, dope smoking and heart attacks. White tackles everything from environmental stupidity ("I Sweep the Sidewalk with the Hose"), insomnia ("Freefloating Anxiety") and odd hobbies ("Nova Scotia Squirrel Stuffer"), to her biggest pet peeve ("Stickers on Fruit") and French nudity ("Les Belles Belles Fesses"), with the intelligence and irreverence that have come to characterize her music.

And mixed in amongst the comedy shorts are four of what she calls "real songs," which include the beautiful piano-based ballads "River Mend My Heart," a reflection on the private thoughts of a solitary man as he paddles his canoe on a remote river; and "Love in Wartime," a simple celebration of the joy and tragedy of lovers in the French resistance movement.

White's daughters, the Wilde Sisters, are hilarious on "My God My Mom," a ditty about the love/hate relationship between moms and teenage daughters. Their voices, embellished by "the Cher button," join their mom on a standout track, "And I Copied It," a biting commentary on the nemesis of independent musicians: well-intentioned theft of artistic property. White celebrates that other nemesis of musicians in "Procrastination Rag," an old-time piano tune about doing everything but writing.

Stickers on Fruit is a musical comedy cabaret collection of songs that is sure to make you laugh -- and it will teach you about religion in Cape Breton, motherhood, songwriting and about why a psychedelic loon can be both a blessing and a curse. While these are all important things to learn, I find I really have to be in the mood for this kind of silliness: it can be a bit too kitschy at times for my taste. But if you know what you're in for, I say jump in with both feet and enjoy!

- Rambles
written by Rachel Jagt
published 2 August 2003

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