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Index of Artists

Linda McRae


This is Linda McRae. Twenty years of making music in public. Ten long, crazy and wonderful years on the road as the bass and accordion-playing member of Canada's original Celtic rockers, Spirit of the West. Three gold albums, two of them now platinum. Festivals from Denmark to Glastonbury, tours from Germany to the back and of the North West Territories, gigs with Blues Traveler, Ziggy Marley, Mathew Sweet and the most successful band in Canada's pop music history, The Tragically Hip.

And it's time for her to make the break. Now she's ready to cut her own slack, make her own record and build what's called "a solo career" surrounded by the musical friends and family she's been building all these years.

"It was just time," she says. "Time to make the record that's been rattling around my brain for years. Time to fit all my musical influences - from the Louvin Brothers to roots folk to grunge rock to Neil Young to Son Volt to Fleetwood Mac to Lucinda Williams - into one single musical package that has my name on it and my heart in it."

So in October of 1996 she told the band she'd be leaving, and she played her last gig with them on New Years Eve, outdoors, in the bitter cold, at a televised show from Niagara Falls.

Linda McRae's album was released in 1997 and called Flying Jenny. Released on Stony Plain and distributed by Warner Music Canada. And it's the compilation of several interlocking circles.

First there's the family circle. Her earliest memories in Duncan B.C, were of her family playing music, of learning the accordion at the age of six - and among her newest moments are having her own daughter, Pam, singing on the album. Expect a group of family photos on this album's sleeve booklet - family is important, and, to quote the title of the Ani DiFranco/Utah Phillips album, "The past didn't go anywhere."

Second, there's the circle of friends. They're on the new album: Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donovan and James Gray of Blue Rodeo. Gord Downie and Gordon Sinclair of the Hip. Syd Straw and Gurf Morlix from dozens of seminal American recording sessions. Tom Wilson and Colin Cripps from Junkhouse. Gary Craig, the impeccable drummer who works with everyone from Anne Murray to blues rocker Rita Chiarelli. Richard bell who played piano with Janis Joplin and is now part of The Band. And which other members of the musical family haven't been mentioned? Willie P. Bennett, the inspiration for Blackie & The Rodeo kings; songwriter and singer Andrew Cash; young banjo whiz Leonard Podolack; drummer Randy Curnew; bassist John Dymond...

There are other circles, too. Flying Jenny is on Stony Plain - the first record company to market Spirit of the West's first albums (which are still in the label’s catalogue). "They had the faith in Spirt in the first days, and now, 15 years later, they have faith in me."

And the circles keep spreading, from the fans who loved her work with Spirit of the West, who remember her touring with Bolero Lava and Herald Nix before that, her own early bands, Easy Money and Terminal City.

"Leaving Spirit wasn't easy. They're a wonderful band. They're great friends. But I had to do it. I wanted to try my own music, and I didn't want to wait any longer. And the guys were so supportive, so encouraging and gave me so much confidence that I was able to make the break," Linda explains.

So she's now making music that resonates with her own voice, her own experiences, her own influences - songs that touch the heart and reveal the truth about herself and her listeners at the same time.

This is a new beginning. A leap of faith in herself and in the ears of her audience. And, as you will hear, a leap of faith made much, much better late than never.

Flying Jenny

Flying Jenny
SPCD 1239
Genre: Folk/Rock

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  1. Map
  2. Roll On Down
  3. Another One Got Away
  4. Minka's Kitchen
  5. Flying Jenny
  6. When I Stop Dreaming (3:34)
  7. Time (4:15)
  8. As The Night Falls Down (4:57)
  9. Burning Bridges (4:39)
  10. No Better (3:19)
  11. Somewhere Along The Way (4:30)
  12. Road To Nowhere (5:37)
  13. Take Your Hat Off (8:32)
This disc is no longer available to order physically.
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