We five nuts are absolutely women of the world, who take huge delight in sporadic vacations and tours of foreign countries during our young adult lives. There’s something to be said about being worldly, cultured and engaged with faraway places that at first are only push pins on a map – because exploring the unknown is actually a wonderful mechanism of growth at this age. That being said, in terms of the seeds that are planted in us, there’s nothing more exciting than our own Canadian soil and everything it breeds.
I find this particularly to be the case with the Canadian arts. I went through an ignorant teenage period, probably like the rest of us, when I preferred everything from our larger and more intimidating Southern neighbour. But, now I find that CBC Radio 3, Spinner and ChartAttack, and Canadian festivals are some of my go-to havens for new music. I find a curious thrill in sleuthing around my own backyard of musical sprouts, picking out obscure sights and sounds, and enjoying the idea of a homegrown band whose humble beginnings may have originated in a rundown basement four towns or two provinces away. It’s organic, and it tastes good.
An example of this kind of nationalist pride comes from our longstanding devotion to a particularly down-to-earth but larger than life 6-piece Newfoundland band, Hey Rosetta!, who only two days ago received news that their most recent album Seeds has been long-listed for a coveted Canadian accolade, the Polaris Music Prize. In a press release issued just yesterday, the band expressed excitement in the news of their nomination for a prize that celebrates and rewards Canadian creativity in recorded music. As one of 40 Canadian acts chosen to go into the running for this shining trophy, the band’s high spirits are merited, seeing as if you’re a maple-leaf musician – a nod for the Polaris is probably one of the greatest pieces of news you’ll receive. Knowing that recording executives, a diverse jury of music critics and your country believe in your creative capabilities – it can’t get much better than that.
Hey Rosetta! arose from the shores of Newfoundland, beginning with mastermind lyricist and lead singer Tim Baker who after completion of a sociology and creative writing degree, returned home only to feel what he called a “magnetic” pull to adding instruments, sections and concepts to his once dream of being a solo singer-songwriter. Before they knew it, they were a collaborative and symphonic indie-rock band who received overwhelming critical acclaim from their East Coast comrades and fellow Canucks during nomadic and empowering cross-country travels. The ingredients of Tim Baker’s joint degree have been undeniably visible on stage and in the songwriting booth – because he certainly knows how to communicate with audiences, and his poetic aptitude for songwriting is infectious.
Baker’s raw but sugary vocals combined with gigantic guitar sounds, cellos, violins, and a booming rhythmic section have crammed into the three explosive albums that structure the set list of their famously lively and sparkling shows. Seeds, the February release and catalyst in their second Polaris nomination, is a mature and profound step forward – which could be the ticket to the short list, and then a win. Aside from the mighty use of instruments, lyrically, the album speaks to the hope of re-birth, the faith in elevating from rock bottom, and the belief that everything really does get better. On Seeds, we’re treated to the comforting life lessons explored in “Bandages”, where Baker croons, “You get up, you get out into the sun, that’s where we belong, it’s been a bit too long.” A weighty orchestral greeting to a friend’s baby girl won maternal hearts everywhere on the first single “Welcome”; his velvety rasp telling the newborn, “You will be alright, you have everything you need for this hard ride” even though he admits, “Sorry this is it, it’s cold and hard and badly lit.” Although Baker thinks he might have botched the original idea on “Yer Spring” (above) – the uplifting feeling it creates proves you really can’t hear it. What starts out as a quiet, plucking loop and pattering drums behind his voice – shifts to swelling vocals and a colourful blend of banging instruments that continue to tell the ongoing story of rising up and seeing that spring light.
Through sincere words and passionate instruments – Seeds from Hey Rosetta! has only further affirmed our belief in home being where the heart is. This so-called light they write about might be hard to find sometimes, but it will only continue to grow for them – and their recent UK and USA tour, critical acclaim and Polaris nomination are all evidence to that. We’ve got their backs during this wild ride – and how could we not? They’re a perfect example of how our “secret” Canadian talent is really not so secret at all; sometimes it’s just a matter of planting the seeds, and waiting for them to grow into something this beautiful.
….A taste of the live experience.