My Latest Mega Project – I Need Your Help

Posted on January 4, 2016

I used to release albums or mini albums at a pretty consistent / prolific clip, beginning in 2002 with the literally incredible Selected Readings From The Book Of Ghosts (with Brandon Fodden).


This is so dumb that I think I might do a separate feature on it. Great album, truly. Check out that design too. Wow.

From there my semi-pseudo record label – Dominion Recordings – saw a torrent of 39 releases to date, most by me solo, some by me and friends. Averaging almost 4 releases a year (quantity, not quality, baby!), the trail goes cold after 2012’s James Bay. Since then? Nothing.

What happened? Did I quit? Did I sell out and devote my time to writing radio jingles? No I did not; I have been very busy indeed.

2017 will see the release of something called Sesquicentennial. It’s not an album, exactly. It’s 15 albums. A collection of 150 songs on a single theme: the upcoming sesquicentennial.

Each song is about an event from a unique year since Canadian Confederation. So a song about something from 1868, something from 1932, something from 1987, you get the idea. And these aren’t “inspired by” events, or “about” them in the vaguest possible sense. No! Each song is on-the-nose about the event in question (which can be damned hard), although I have allowed for some speculation and invention of characters to flesh out certain happenings. But don’t worry, I’m not trying to pick the most Historically Significant thing from that year. God that would be boring. Instead, my only criterion is that the story be somehow interesting. Here’s an example, the annotated lyrics to a song about a sea lion who escaped from an amusement park in London, in 1958:


I have completed around 80 songs so far, and it should all be done on time… if you help me! You see, I’m starting to run out of good stories, and I need assistance filling out many years. I have asked the National Archives, the Canadian Encyclopedia, and some academics, and they’ve all blown me off, probably because they think I’m a crank or that I want some extensive research done. But I’m dead serious, and this is a damned cool project, and all I really need is a tattered thread of information to follow on my own. And so, motivated by desperation, here is my list of subjects, and resultant holes. What I’d like is for anyone out there to suggest any subject at all for any year where I have a blank. As you can see I love disasters, crimes, murders, hauntings, craziness, any type of spectacular failure, or any outsider either triumphing or being crushed. What is out of bounds? X invents the (whatever). Or Y becomes the first (man/woman/Canadian/ethnic anything) to do (anything). These are generally boring unless there is a story to it. So without further ado, here it is. Suggest away! Leave your ideas in the comments, and pass it on to all your friends. Please.

Year Subject
1867 Confederation
1868 Republic of Manitobah – a drunk megalomaniac tries to make his own country
1869 Hanging of Patrick Whelan
1870 The Battle of Belly River – a Cree band makes a desperate play to take the territory of another, with disastrous results
1871 Phoebe Campbell, manipulative murderess, goads her lover into killing her husband
1872  LABOUR DAY – Thanks, readers!
1873 Cypress Hills Massacre
1875  RIEL AMNESTY – Thanks, readers!
1877 Crowfoot signs Treaty 7 in an attempt to save his people
1878 Esther Cox is haunted by the Amherst Poltergeist
1879 Swift Runner murders and eats his family
1880 The Queen’s daughter is nearly killed in a sleigh accident
1881 Steamship Victoria Disaster
1884 Discovery of dinosaur bones in alberta by Tyrrell
1885 Jumbo the elephant
1886 Vancouver is destroyed by fire
1891 McGreevy is kicked out of Parliament
1892  CHARLIE LUCKEY, MURDERER – Thanks, readers!
1893 Founding of Algonquin Park
1896 Manitoba Schools Crisis
1897 Klondike Gold Rush
1899  HILDA BLAKE EXECUTION – Thanks readers!
1901 Death of Queen Victoria
1902 Oil discovered in Lethbridge
1903 Alaska Boundary Dispute
1904 Etienne Desmarteau absconds from his job and becomes an Olympic Champion
1905 Barton Murder, maybe
1907 Anti Asian riot in Vancouver
1909 Border Waters Treaty (I rapped about it)
1912 Regulation 17, concerned English education in Ontario
1914 The great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster
1915 Vanceboro bridge bombing, a halfwit German agent blows up a bridge
1916  PARLIAMENT BURNS – Thanks readers!
1917 Death of Tom Thomson
1918 End of The War
1919 Ambrose Small Disappears
1920 William Red Hill Saves Bobby Leach again at Niagara Falls
1923 Home Bank fails
1926 Hornby goes north (my personal favourite Canadian story ever)
1927 Newfoundland gets Labrador
1929 Aquarian foundation dissolved. Brother XII.
1930 Canadian Martyrs recognized by the Catholic Church
1932 The Mad Trapper
1933 Newfoundland ends its government
1934 Kidnapping of John Labbat
1935 On to Ottawa Trek
1936 Red Ryan dies in a hail of bullets
1939 Mackenzie Papineau Battalion returns in defeat
1941 Voyage of the St Roch
1942 Death of LM Montgomery
1944 Smokey Smith kicks ass. A classic.
1945 The Gouzenko Affair
1947  5 cent Candy war – THANKS!!
1948 Newfoundland Referendums
1949 Asbestos Strike
1951 Leo Major in Korea. Ultimate bad ass.
1952 Kurelek hospitalized
1953 Stanley Park Babes in the Woods bodies discovered
1954 Hurricane Hazel lays waste to Toronto
1955 Richard Riots
1956 The Coffin Affair
1957 Collapse of peace river bridge / CNE airshow crash
1958 Slippery the Sea Lion
1959 Completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway
1960 L’anse aux Meadows discovered
1961 The Coyne Affair
1963 FLQ First wave of terrorist attacks and robberies
1964 Glenn Gould gives up live performance
1965 The Rivard Affair, which is funny
1966 Munsinger Affair: the defence minister had an affair with an East German spy at the height of the Cold War
1967 Expo 67
1968  Peter Mansbridge is discovered – THANKS READERS
1969  The Drybones Case – THANKS READERS
1970 FLQ Crisis
1971 Kingston Pen Riot
1972 Summit Series
1974 Moe Norman wins the Canadian PGA
1977 The great Antonio is beaten to a pulp
1979 Terry Fox begins the Marathon of Hope
1981 Kent Cochrane becomes an amnesiac
1983 The Gimli Glider
1984  PEI’s Can Ban – THANKS!
1985 Tunagate or vicki keith
1986 Death of Claude Jutra
1988 Ben Johnson national disgrace
1989 Kids in the Hall debuts on CBC
1990 Oka
1992 Failure of the Charlottetown Accord
1993 Somalia Affair
1994 Tom Green starts his first public access TV show
1995 Referendum
1996 The Shawinigan Handshake
1997 Bre X fraud
1998 Alan Eagleson goes to jail
2002 Lanark Firebug
2003  Dar Heatherington goes missing
2004 Dave Sim completes Cerebus
2005 Stronach crosses the floor
2007 First BC severed foot appears
2008 Hershey plant closes
2011  THE GREAT MAPLE SYRUP HEIST – Thanks readers!
2012 Ikea Monkey
2013 Rob Ford
Posted in: Music