Pass it Around
Garth Hudson Presents a Canadian Celebration of The Band (A Quiet, Unassuming Masterpiece)
Celebrity compilation tribute albums are so over. Well-known artists phone in (literally, digital impulses mean they never even have to leave their own home studios) tired performances of an artist's greatest hits as a tribute. They are usually lacking any passion and are a waste of time. One track might be good, the rest seldom qualify for even b-side status.
Garth Hudson presents a Canadian Celebration of The Band is different. Way different and way better. Not only are the often young and earnest performers all Canadians, they are all motivated to turn in splendid performances of some of the most beautiful and deepest songs by the Band. Some picks are obvious, others are obscure, but all ring true...with crisp, clear vocals so previously misheard lyrics stand out as the beautiful things they are. There is no Robbie participation, but Garth plays on every track and the most under-appreciated performer in rock history shines. No hog, he lays back and puts subtle touches where they belong. The biggest star here is Neil Young, who turns in the familiar This Wheel's On Fire with the Sadies. Several songs from the Basement tapes are here, performed by the likes of the Cowboy Junkies, The Road Hammers, Chantal Kreviazuk. Great Big Sea does a beautiful version of Knockin' Lost John, one of Robbie's most beautiful songs, The Moon Struck One by Raine Maida is beautiful as well.
Not one clunker in the bunch, seriously. Almost as good as a Band disc, and surprisingly pure, heartfelt and shimmering. Garth Hudson is a modest, unassuming genius. He has produced and performed on one of the best releases of the year here, and I hope it does not go unnoticed in the holiday rush.