Providing the first comprehensive history of Canada’s songwriting legacy, this guide traces a distinctly Canadian musical identity from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s. The discussion shows how Canadian musicians have always struggled to create work that reflects their own environment while simultaneously connecting with mass audiences in other countries, particularly the United States. While nearly all songwriters who successfully crossed this divide did so by immersing themselves in the American and British forms of blues, folk, country, and rock 'n' roll, this guide reveals that Canadian sensibilities were never far beneath the surface. Canadian innovators featured include The Band, Ian & Sylvia, Hank Snow, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, and superstars Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Lively anecdotes and interviews round out the history, but the emphasis is always on the essential music—how and where it originated and its impact on the artists' subsequent work and the wider musical world.
Jason Schneider is one of Canada’s most respected music journalists whose work regularly appears in Exclaim! magazine. He is the coauthor of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985–1995 and the author of 3,000 Miles. He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.
[Schneider's] study is sure to become a key piece in the survey of popular music history...Schneider beautifully weaves in the complicated relationships, both professional and personal, of the various artists who have come to define the sound of 20th-century American popular music (yes, American). “Publishers Weekly
"Schneider's collection of stories puts a fresh spin on Canadian artists whose lives and accomplishments haven't lacked for media coverage and analysis." “Edmonton Journal
"It is clear [Schneider] knows his subject, and the book is a treasure trove of trivia." “Winnipeg Free Press
"The first comprehensive book, long overdue, on Canadians' impact on contemporary American pop music...This is a refreshing addition to pop-music literature as well as to the often neglected-by-Americans corpus of Canadiana." “Booklist Online
"Whispering Pines works not just as approachable one-stop-shopping for those with a passing interest in the subject[s], but as a long overdue contextual framework for the tenants in this country's tower of song." “Macleans.ca
"Whispering Pines is a busy, striving survey, a latticework of cultural history, microbiography and music journalism...Schneider's delivery is that kind of chatty, energetic rock journalism of the old-time variety." “The Globe and Mail
"A fine piece of writing that condenses and contextualizes five decades of music into an entertaining and thoughtful document...Jason Schneider offers a concise, brilliantly organized and original take on Canadian cultural influence." “Literary Review of Canada
"Schneider presents a thoughtfully researched history and analysis of Canadian songwriters, their geographical and social origins and their career paths." — Canadian Geographic