Props to an enduring Canadian band


54-40 has been around for 30 years now.

It seems hard to believe, in light of its mainstream success in the 1990s, but the band slogged it out in bars and small clubs for the better part of a decade before striking it big — at least as big as selling a few hundred thousand records in Canada and landing a U.S. recording contract makes you — in the early to mid ’90s.

Tom Harrison, of the Vancouver Province, recently interviewed 54-40 and found the lads in high spirits, excited about their new album, Northern Soul, and still enjoying playing together after so many years.

I found a few things about Harrison’s interview intriguing. The album name struck me. Northern Soul? I don’t know if it’s an intentional tip-of-the-cap or not, but the name is a dead-ringer for the Guess Who’s Wheatfield Soul. Is the name an attempt to connect with an older fan base that recalls the Guess Who fondly?

I also found it funny that Harrison mentioned the challenges of the band members being scattered throughout British Columbia. I don’t know if he’s aware, but many older bands live countries apart as they age and become family men.

(For example, the members of AC/DC are scattered throughout the world).

Living in different regions of the same province is, by comparison, not exactly difficult to work around. The band members themselves even say as much in the interview.

Harrison asserts that Northern Soul is as good as anything 54-40 has ever done. I’d like to listen to it, and see if I agree. I think it would be pretty hard to top the work the band did in the late-80s and early-90s, but I’d like to give it a whirl.

I’ll add it to my “To Hear” list. I know one thing: it’s bound to be better than anything Nickelback, or whatever other woeful commercial slop Canadian band is burning up the charts right now.

So, props to 54-40 for the great music they’re put out over the past 30 years, and I look forward to hearing the new album.


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