The Canadian Railway – Timeless Glory and History
The Canadian Railway has magnetic appeal that influences art, music and life throughout the provinces. Founded in 1881 and headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, it traverses 14,000 miles across Canada. Canadian Railway’s long history and vibrant contributions to Canadian lives inspire songs in Canadian country music.
Canadian Railway Songs
Riding the rails inspires music and songs that spotlight railroad engineers, passengers and freight, hobos and conductors. In terms of music and songs, Canada’s contributions are limitless in most any genre, including pop music and country music.
Canada’s most celebrated singer songwriter of country music style songs is Gordon Lightfoot. Love of Canada is deeply embedded in his lyrics of “Alberta Bound,” a song with a country beat that is a delightful tribute to the western province.
On January 1, 1967, Gordon Lightfoot was commissioned by the CBC to write Canadian Railroad Trilogy for one of its broadcasts. Other Canadian Railway Songs that impact country music include:
. Hobo’s Blues by Wilf Carter
. Kettle Valley Blues
. Little Town Lost by Dave Baker
. Newfoundland Cowboy by Jim Downey
. One Way Track Prairie Oyster
. Railroad Boy
. Restless by Gordon Lightfoot
Canadian Railway Songs with a Country Music Style
The Canadian Railway inspired numerous songs and a country music style that differs from US country music. These differences include references to special Canadian Railway events and people who helped build the railway.
There’s a pristine quality to this style of country music. It isn’t contrived or pretentious and is pure railroad with that signature Canadian country beat. In Calgary, for example, this gentrified country music style is quickly recognizable by its straight-forward presentation of notes, chords, lyrics and beats that have feet tapping immediately.
In Newfoundland, the beat is similar; but, distinctively Newfie country and quite endearing. Canadian Railway songs lack the heavy twang and accents found in US railroad songs like those by the famous singer/songwriter, Jimmie Rodgers.