Canadian Music 101

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Welcome to Sneak Attack: The Best-Kept Musical Secrets Of The Great White North

FringeMusic listens to, and reviews, music the world over but, the Maestro being from Canada, has a special bias for, and does promote, up-and-coming Canadian musical acts that have something interesting to say. 

Cdn Guitar

This is the Maestro, your musical guide, DJ and interim Professor of Rock, who will take through your Introductory Course To Canadian Music 101. Just because many of our artists don’t ‘make it’ internationally and don’t spring up from the confines of Canada’s puny music market doesn’t mean they aren’t really good. Some of them even pack quite a wallop and will knock your socks off; they will leave you wondering why they never tasted success beyond their borders. Well-established international acts very often record in Canada, relying on Canadian session musicians, recording technicians and producers such as ‘Toronto’ Bob Ezrin and former-singer/songwriter-turned-producer Bob Rock who have produced some of the biggest names in the business worldwide. Major acts also frequently hire Canadian musicians on the road when they tour North America. The talent pool is deep for such a sparsely populated country.

This collection has been carefully selected from the personal vault of the Maestro to showcase artists from across the country with many varying styles but one common thread: Canadian originality. Many Canadians have achieved international success, even tremendous recognition, in many varied musical styles: Rush, Céline Dion, Billy Talent, Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, Shania Twain, Anne Murray, The Band, Bachman-Turner-Overdrive (B.T.O.), Bryan Adams, Sarah MacLauchlan, Leonard Cohen, David Foster, Neil Young, Nelly Furtado, Nickelback, k.d. lang, Joni Mitchell, to name a few in no particular order. The purpose of this exercise is to reveal to you some highly-talented singers, musicians and lyricists that you probably have never heard of south of the 49th parallel so that you can explore their work on your own later if they should capture your fantasy or pique your interest and to give you the setting for the rich and proud musical tradition into which we, Canadian listeners, were born.

Some of these bands/artists are now defunct, either because they existed quite some time ago or because, sadly, they never garnered the support they needed to sustain a long career and live off their craft despite protectionist legislation requiring a certain percentage of Canadian content on the radio and television to avoid cultural genocide at the hands of our huge neighbour to the south. The unfortunate, and somewhat unintended, consequence of pro-Canadian content legislation was often a collective or concerted laziness on the part of radio and television station programmers who were just content to play established Canadian acts (‘stick with what the folks know’) instead of promoting up-and-coming artists. So, by the time, America ‘discovers’ unsigned artists hailing from the Great White North, if at all, it is often shocked by how polished the act is, because, usually, it has been honing its craft, trying to eke out an existence, for some 10 to 15 years in the rough-and-tumble world of the bar scene. The Maestro expands on this theme somewhat in his inaugural blog that you can read by clicking here.

Now, settle down class! Let’s begin, shall we? There’s no exam at the end of the period. This is just a fun class.


First fact of Canadian music: while it is true that most acts in Canada originate from the three-city triangle of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, as this collection will prove, there are artists that hail from many other parts of Canada and the music is as diverse as the country is wide. So fasten your seatbelts, we’re going for a ride, a journey to sample some rock, pop, jazz, metal… you name it, we got it!

 While this page is being properly developed, please check out our e-CLIP-se Video Playlists segment where the Maestro has showcased most of his favourite videos of songs by Canadian artists, some you may and a lot you may not know.

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