Cycling as transport. No special clothes needed. No fancy gear. Just people and bikes dressed for the destination.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Music for your bike ride

Ottawa Cycle Chic is not normally in the habit of deviating too much from the script. That’s to say that the blog is pretty much focused on street photography of cyclists and I tend to not wade into advocacy or debate on this blog. However, not one to be too rigid I will make an exception on this occasion and venture into the realm of the music reviewer. But just this once. Or until I'm sent another freebie!

Nora and One Left

Nora Schlang and Linus bike

Recently I was sent a copy of the CD “bicycle” by Nora and One Left from Washington D.C. Had it arrived at the beginning of the summer it could certainly have been the soundtrack for my summer. I’m not sure when I last heard such an infectious pop album.

The World is a Wonderful Place is an upbeat ditty and a good antidote to all the garbage going on in the world today and a great way to kick off the disc. Track two is the first of many bicycle-related songs and what a Cycle Chic song it is. Take a tour around the Cycle Chic world through the lyrics and try to see if you don’t want to hop on a bike in some of the great cities of the world. Trevor Exter’s cello opens the next bike track, A Winter’s Ride. This was the first track (but not the last) where I thought I might be listening to Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer. Riley McMahon’s twangy guitar work on this song blends so well with the cello. I’m thinking we don’t hear enough cello in pop and rock music these days!

Big Red Bicycle is one of those sing-along good-time Christmas songs. Who wouldn’t want a big red bike? More twang here (by the way, I love twang) mixed in with what I’m pretty sure were sleigh bells. Out in the Rain, while superficially a bike song, is a bit more hard-edged with some great guitar work and a solid driving (or maybe I should say, cycling) beat!

Things slow down a bit with So Far Away. A beautiful plaintive call for a loved one to come home. Nora Schlang has a heck of a voice and it’s at its finest form on this song. The Morning Sun with its banjo and accordion, chimes in with a bit of Celtic feel but also with very much the folk sensibility (and a hint of his vocal timbre) of a Steve Forbert song.

My Bike and Me is the album's anthem. All ringing guitar and positive bike propaganda. If I was inclined to ride around town with speakers blasting from my bike this would be the song playing. A cycle anthem for the ages!

Nora and One Left have put together 14 wonderful pop songs that blend and flow as well as the instruments of the multi-talented band members. Give it a listen and then get out and ride!