Recommend me Canadian folk music

Being a fan of Irish and Scottish trad, I’ve been meaning to try out more traditional Quebecois and Cape Breton music–the sum total of my exposure being one album by La Bottine Souriante and a handful of fiddle tunes here and there. Can anyone give me some recommendations?

Natalie Macmaster from Cape Breton is a good mix of old fashioned and modern jigs and reels. She has a few CD’s out.

The Rankin Family is great. The earlier CDs are great traditional CB music, with the later albums being a little more produced/commercial. Different members of the Rankin family also have solo CDs.

Barra Macneils are fun, again CB music.

Great Big Sea from Newfoundland, but I’m sure you heard of these guys.

If I think of more, I’ll let you know.

Not really in the tradition, but the Rogers Brothers, Stan (dead these fifteen years or so) and Garnet, are remarkable. See if you can find a concert recording of Barrett’s Privateers, or White Squall by Stan with Garnet on the backup, or Garnet’s Small Victory, or his duets with Archie Fisher. Both are raw powerful voices. Stan was and Garnet is a remarkable song writer.

They’re more folk/rock, and not from Quebec or CB, but Spirit of the West are great. They do a good mix of dealing with political/social issues and good old fashioned drinking songs - if you’ve heard anything by them, it’s Home For A Rest. I’ve honestly seen them live so many times I’ve lost count, and it’s always a great show, with people dancing until they’re pretty much ready to drop.

Let’s not forget Gordon Lightfoot. A little more pop than folk, perhaps, and not from the Celtic tradition, but he definitely qualifies as a Canadian folk singer.

I second two of the reccomendations above.

Natalie MacMaster - listen to her double Live album - just wonderful.

Stan Rogers - I’ll never forget the first time I heard him. - it was one the radio. WFUV played “Dark Eyed Molly.” I stopped what I was doing to listen. I got goosebumps. Then the announcer said ‘We’re sorry to tell you Stan died in a plane crash today…’

Try the Canuck albums in the Rounder Records “North American Traditions” series.

I’ve got Willie Kennedy’s Cape Breton Violin, and both volumes of Traditional Fiddle Music of Cape Breton, all of which are wonderful.

Try Barachois. They’re a lot of fun to see live. Unfortunately, they are currently on their last tour, as three of the band members have decided that the grind of touring has taken too much time away from their families. They will be finished in December.

Thank you for all your suggestions! I’ll go to the library tonight and see what I can find.