Trans-Canada Highwaymen – supergroup of 80s/90s musicians cover CanCon classics from the 60s/70s
The lineup includes four singer-songwriters who have all written songs that have contributed to Canadian culture — Sloan bassist Chris Murphy, Odds guitarist Craig Northey, former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page, and The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg — who have joined forces to deliver their unique take on the best of Canadian rock!
When it comes to Canadian rock in the ’90s, the term supergroup can not be overused. Since 2017, the TCH have performed hit songs as a rock ’n’ roll combo. Members swap instruments and lead singers rotate throughout the set. There’s always an infectious energy, a display of seasoned musicianship and an abundance of fun. These four frontmen of Canada’s most popular and commercially successful alt-rock / power-pop bands just play themselves, and it brings all those feelings of the late ’80s and early ’90s into the moment. They bring along their unique perspectives on being catapulted from the hard working underground indie scene to acclaim, during one of Canada’ most exciting and transformative music eras.
“We’d been sporadically doing shows for a couple of years and having a blast laughing at each other’s jokes and playing each other’s smash hits,” the band explained in a joint statement. “The question eventually arose. ‘What should we do next?’ We knew, whatever it was, it should only include smash hits. It was Chris who said ‘How about Explosive Hits?’ We laughed… so therefore it had to happen. The plan was hatched to each hand-pick a few Canadian AM rock-radio hits from the very late ’60s and early ’70s. Our AM radios had helped shape our DNA and none of us had strayed too far from our inner child. Our arrested development was going to make this easy.”
“We’d record our parts remotely and they would be aggregated and mixed in the Odds’ North Vancouver studio. Out of the blue, Steven surprised us all with a new song that described our origin story — Theme from TransCanada Highwaymen. It was obviously an Explosive Hit, so we had to throw it on our growing bonfire of Canadian rock heaters. So, four Canadian musical mavens from the ’80s and ’90s sing the Canadian songs of the ’60s and ’70s. Makes total sense. As Moe says, ‘Don’t think too much about it. Act now.’ ”
On this album, you’ll hear Steven sing Undun (The Guess Who), Rock Me Gently (Andy Kim) and (I Believe) There’s Nothing Stronger Than Our Love (Paul Anka). You’ll hear Craig sing Tonite is a Wonderful Time to Fall in Love (April Wine), Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter (Chester), Heartbeat, It’s a Lovebeat (The DeFranco Family) and Can’t Catch Me (Bim). You’ll hear Chris sing Lovin’ You Ain‘t Easy (Michel Pagliaro), Which Way You Goin’ Billy? (The Poppy Family) and Carry Me (The Stampeders). You’ll hear Moe sing Pretty Lady (Lighthouse), Raised On Robbery (Joni Mitchell) and You, Me and Mexico (Edward Bear).
The TCH live shows include songs from Explosive Hits Vol. 1, but the emphasis is still on the songs these guys have written. So you’ll still hear Moe sing I’m An Adult Now, Hard to Laugh and She’s So Young. You’ll hear Chris sing Underwhelmed, The Other Man and The Rest of My Life. You’ll hear Craig sing It Falls Apart, Someone Who’s Cool and Make You Mad. You’ll hear Steven sing The Old Apartment, Brian Wilson and Jane.
Order on vinyl, cassette, or CD
Available from Pheromone Recordings
“Theme from Trans-Canada Highwaymen”
Craig and I were on the road
Hoping my album would explode
But it didn’t, yet again
Got a call from Jim Millan
With this idea for a band
Like some CanRock Highwaymen
He said he’d try to book a show
For me and Chris and Craig and Moe
We can see what happens then
Just when things were looking bleak
Look out flavour of the week
I’m out playing with my friends
On the Trans-Canada
Trans-Canada Highway, baby
I’m a Trans-Canada
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.