Damned if I know what Canadiana is. I suppose it might well be Americana with optional French subtitles and, indeed, this album by Philip Rambow does indeed resonate with all the rose tinted melancholy that might be expected of the Americana genre yet I suspect that his many years on the planet has allowed our Mr Rambow to fully reflect upon the subtle ironies inherent to any musical journey through the dustbowl of yesterday.
Certainly, the slower songs on this album have the kind of whistle in the wind appeal that endears them to your ears even if you have never worn a check shirt or driven a pickup truck or seen a movie about simple country folk. Philip Rambow casts kind of spell that makes everything that he sings seem more substantial than his cleverly underplayed lyrics might initially suggest with all those playful social media references, and laconic vocal interludes from Sharlene Hector, neatly counterpointing his inherent sentimentality.
In the final analysis, it is that worn but not broken approach that makes “Canadiana” into an album that, remarkably, is greater than the sum of its parts and it is one that might well make the casual listener think that all Americana would benefit from a trip up north. You don’t even need to read the subtitles to figure that out.
Best song? The jolly “Making Up For Lost Time”.
The verdict? It will get you second time around.