How it’s New York: Joe’s Pub is a mainstay for artists in Noho
How it’s Irish: A number of singers covered, like Joni Mitchell and Alanis Morrisette, are of Irish descent and several performers, like Greg Naughton, are Irish American.
After taking last year off, Jeff Breithaupt (the evening’s MC), his brother and bandleader Don Breithaupt, along with the Workin’ for the Weekend Hoose Band and friends such as Ophira Eisenberg, Greg Naughton, Janis Siegel and NY1’s Mr. “In The Papers” himself Pat Kiernan returned to Joe’s Pub for the annual Canadian Songbook Canada Day party. This Canadian, for one, was thrilled to see the gang back together as they sang covers of songs from The Guess Who, Alessia Cara, Leonard Cohen, Sarah McLachlan, and more.
Comedian and storyteller Ophira Eisenberg, host of NPR’s Ask Me Another, kicked off the evening. In talking about how Americans have a new appreciation for Canadians given the current occupant of the White House, she said, “People talk so differently now to me about Canada. It used to be one joke – ‘how cold IS it there?’ I had one friend really ask me ‘how hard is it to learn the metric system.’” Perhaps Canada is also getting some grudging respect after the NBA finals as well. “I feel like Americans weren’t prepared for Canada to win at basketball. With all of these wins we’re going to get very smug and we may actually not apologize for something!”
Before leading the crowd in the national anthem, Kiernan mentioned that he had been to Canada a few weeks earlier and was surprised and a little perturbed that the Canada paraphernalia was heavily marked down. “If that’s not prime season for Canadian merchandise….” He did score some maple-flavoured gummy bears though, in case anyone is to make a run for treats you can only get on the other side of the border.
There were some new additions to this year’s Canadian songbook, which Jeff Breithaupt noted, was taking a deep dive into the 70s. “Sweet City Woman” by The Stampeders is an unshakable earworm nearly a fortnight on. Winnipeg’s Jeremy Cushnier and the WFTW band gave Lighthouse’s “One Fine Morning” its props. The women touched down in the 1990s with cabaret performer Marissa Mulder’s lovely cover of McLachlan’s “In The Arms Of An Angel” and bringing down the hoose was Shannon Conley, who did a fierce rendition of “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette.
July 1st is a ways away, but whether you’re Canadian, an aspiring Canadian (find one to marry!) or an FOC (Friend of Canada), you can continue the party. Get yourself some poutine, a double double, wave that Canadian flag and rock out to decades of Canadian songs. Don’t be sorry if “Sorry” gets stuck in your head.