who would have thought that this would be the album that finally made me admire canadian music as an entity and even begin to love its inherent gritty charm? i mean, i know that a lot of amazing musicians like joni mitchell, neil young and fred eaglesmith are canadian and they're great and everything, but i've always thought of great canadian music as an exception to the rule. it's an ethnocentric world-view, i know, but i've given it up; The Be Good Tonyas' Blue Horse insists that there is a rawness and depth that is uniquely northern, and i have not found that essential vitality in american music, ever.
upon listening to the album, two things immediately occured to me: 1) the melodies of these songs are simple and flawless, the harmonies beautiful and completely unexpected. i found myself constantly thinking, 'wow, i never would have thought of that'; and 2) they're just so cool, and they don't even try. in fact, i'm going to go out on a limb here and say that frazey ford's lazy, seductive, semi-slurred vocal delivery is the essence of what jeff tweedy, ryan adams, and their alt-country disciples have built careers around trying to simulate.
the be good tonyas are the real deal. you can't listen to their songs without believing them and without your heart breaking along with theirs because they don't fake it. there's no bells and whistles and what you see is (thank God!) what you get. they could be your sister, your girlfriend, that wierd hippy friend you see once a year--sitting on your couch and singing you a new song she just wrote. and you can't help but love it, glitches, flubs, off-key notes and all.