When you’re an influential musician, people tend to ask you what you’ve been listening to lately. Here at 5 for 20, we’re just as keen to find out what records loom large in our favourite artists’ memory banks. So, we’re asking folks for their top five records of the last 20 years.
This week we hear from Dave Clark, the leader of Toronto’s Woodshed Orchestra. An acclaimed percussionist, Clark was the original drummer for Rheostatics and now plays in Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles and Charles Spearin's Happiness Project, while continuing to lead the joyous, Toronto free-form extravaganza that is the Woodchoppers Association.
Beginning this week, the Woodshed Orchestra hit the road for a slew of summer shows across British Columbia before visiting cities in Ontario and Quebec in August. A wise and spirited man, Clark looks back upon the past two decades in cheery awe.
“The last 20 years have been an exceptionally fecund time for me in my artistic pursuits and most importantly in love, irony, the death of irony, über fantastic nerdism, the church of interwebology, the rediscovery of rock 'n' roll, crazy neo-cons making merry with the world order, 9/11, cellphonism, econocrashing, art over unmerciful commerce, envirospeak, constifusionists, occupists and retributionism,” he explains. “People are still surviving, awakening, making love, making art, helping others and making a difference. I have come out of the past 20 years in love with my wife, daughter and friends. I have emerged with unwavering optimism against the odds, as it were. Here's five discs off the top of my head that have rocked my socks over that period of time.”
Mule Variations by Tom Waits (1999)
Often imitated, never topped. Tom Waits re-invents his wheel in full bloom and bluster. Grooves that shake from the groin, melodies that sound as if a lark were whispering in his ear and soul-stirring stories of heartbreak and redemption. Glorious and divine.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco (2002)
Pure magic and tragic moments caught at the height of an emotional roller coaster for this Chicago crew. So intensely powerful as to often move me from tears of sadness to tears of joy in mere moments. I would have also added Summerteeth (especially because of “Shot in the Arm”) but that might be cheating on my part.
Back to Black by Amy Winehouse (2006)
Truly one of the greatest voices of our time. Stellar songwriting and undeniable soul. There's a lot of folks who followed who owe her a great debt, and that's not a dig at anyone. Who wouldn't want to sound that committed, honest and powerful? I know I do.
Darn Foul Dog by the Inbreds (1992)
I fell in love with the guys as soon as I heard the song "Prince." They made so much beautiful noise for such a tiny band. Mike O'Neill had and still has one of the most beautiful voices in Canadian music. Dave Ulrich played like a redux Ringo Star crossed with Dave Grohl. All music and soul. No garbage left to pick up after. Every song made me happier and happier with every listen. Bless their souls.
Twice Removed by Sloan (1994)
These cats sounded so fully formed on this disc. It's packed with power, melancholy, irony and joy. The stories and the delivery of the songs by each and every player in the band never flagged at any point on the disc. Hits kids. Hits! They made me happy in the same way that NRBQ Live at Yankee Stadium makes me happy. I love singing along to these songs.
Keep an eye on this page for news about the Woodshed Orchestra.
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on Jul 11, 2012