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Great Bloomers

Speak of Trouble

(Maple Music; US: 5 May 2009; UK: Import)

As a Canadian, I feel safe in saying that my country is lame, despite or even because of its finest efforts. For every Neil Young, there are dozens of Celine Dions and Nickelbacks who would not dare rock the boat if it meant risking a possible sale or even a disapproving shake of the head. This cultural cliché can be seen in the debut album from Toronto’s Great Bloomers. Speak of Trouble is a clean, pleasant and non-engaging pastiche of Americana from Canadians. In between all the many Cuff The Duke and Great Lake Swimmers-styled prototypical country/folk/indie band nuisances, there exists a palpable sense that if this record were a living, breathing entity, it would feel hurt and ashamed if anyone did not immediately tolerate it. Take our natural resources and absurd comedians. Take our doctors and technology. Please, just say you like us, eh!


Woodie Guthrie and Stompin’ Tom would not take this economy laying down, and neither should you. Take a step back from the glossy press-release distillation process that collects marginal contemporary influences like merit badges, get a sense of your bearings and recapture the true spirit of American folk and country. If you do it right, some people will not like you for it, but anything worth doing is worth doing right.

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Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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