Corin Raymond and The Sundowners are making a record, a live album that couldn’t be more “Made in Canada” if it was scented with maple syrup, shipped by beavers and came with thimbles of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ blood. The plan was originally simple, offbeat and joyful: The local folk singer-songwriter would tape a pair of performances at The Tranzac over two nights, with the hook being that he’d accept Canadian Tire money for admission to the shows. The idea was to record mostly forgotten Canadian songs by mostly forgotten Canadian songwriters – the stuff of lost troubadours, from sea to shining sea.
Mr. Raymond blogged about it – at dontspendithoney.com, taken from his co-written sing-along Don’t Spend it Honey! – and that’s when things took off, virally and nationally. “People are sending me Canadian Tire money from all over,” reports Mr. Raymond. “From Fort McMurray, from Nova Scotia and from Quebec.”According to the Manitoba-born Mr. Raymond, a charismatic and tireless champion of the folk-song tradition, packages and envelopes are arriving daily, usually stuffed with the retail tender in bundles ranging from $5 to $15.
A YouTube video posted by a Vancouver supporter, suggests the best way to send the funny funds. “This video says it all to me,” says Mr. Raymond. “If I had any doubts about what I was trying to pull off, this video came along like a spring breeze and blew them all away.”
The iconic currency will go to The Rogue Studios, a Toronto recording facility which has a standing policy of accepting Canadian Tire certificates at par. So far more than $300 dollars has been raised for what Mr. Raymond refers to as a “madcap enterprise,” towards a goal of $1,000. Of course, the money is as much a symbol of a musical Canada and community as it is a quirky down payment. The musician sees himself as a member of the “fun per cent,” and he is absolutely rich beyond pocket book and coloured pieces of paper. Brad Wheeler
Corin Raymond and The Sundowners, Jan. 24 sold out. Jan. 25, 8 p.m. $15 to $18. Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Ave., 416-923-8137; ; Jan. 27, Pearl Company, Hamilton; Jan. 28, Magnolia Cafe, Guelph, Ont.