The world of singer-songwriters seems to fall into two main types. The first when it's all about the performer and performance, and you kind of wish they’d just sing other people’s material; the second is all about the songwriter, while the voice and stage presence isn’t quite up to the task, but it works somehow.
Then, every so often, you get a James Keelaghan. Critics call him the complete artist. The Calgary native has one of the best voices in the business — a deep, resilient baritone — and he can literally mesmerize a crowd, whether he’s in a church basement or on a major stage.
Keelaghan is also a superb songwriter. He writes songs that are literate, layered and lyrical. He is king of the story song, especially one that's connected to history: ”Kiri's Piano,” about the effects of the Japanese internment in Canada during the Second World War, or “Cold Missouri Waters,” about the devastation of the 1949 Mann Gulch wildfire that claimed the lives of 13 firefighters.
So you can expect a few of those in this week's playlist. You can also expect to hear artists with whom Keelaghan has crossed paths over the past 25 years. As artistic director of the much loved Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival in Owen Sound, Ont., Keelaghan is in a great position to introduce some newer performers to the mix. You'll definitely want to hear his pick by the Lemon Bucket Orkestra.
It's an eclectic mix for sure, one that explains a lot about how Keelaghan became the complete artist he is.
http://music.cbc.ca/play/Inside-the-Music/My-playlist-with-folk-great-James-KeelaghanListen to Inside the Music by clicking the play button and via radio on Sunday at 3 p.m. (3:30 NT) and Radio One on Sunday at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT).
James Keelaghan's playlist
1. "Tarantella del gargano" Danielle Sepe
2. "Woman Smarter" Harry Belafonte
3. "Once in a lifetime" Talking Heads
4. "Eulalie" Jesse Winchester
5. "And if Venice is Sinking" Spirit of the West
6. "Respected" Agnostic Phibes
7. "They thought I was asleep" Paul Kelly
8. "Bold General Wolfe" Maddy Prior
9. "Tomu Kosa" Lemon Bucket Orchestra
10. "J'attends" Chic Gamine
11. "Hudson Girl" Jon Brooks
Boys and their ballads on Canada Live
My Canada Day playlist: James Keelaghan
James Keelaghan on CBC music
on Feb 15, 2013