Release Date: Jul 27, 2004
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Adult Alternative, Country
Canada has to take the blame for Celine Dion and Bryan Adams, but, in its defence, it also produced Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and kathy dawn herself. This "Canadian songbook" is lang's cover-version homage to her songwriting compatriots, including Young, Mitchell, Jane Siberry and Leonard Cohen. Its greatest virtue is simplicity - overcoming what must have been a considerable urge to slap things around, she presents them as elegantly spare things.
In 1988, Stompin' Tom Connors, the most fiercely patriotic Canadian musician to ever take the stage in the land of the Maple Leaf, wrote a song in tribute to fellow Canadian k.d. lang for continuing to hang her hat in Alberta after enjoying a commercial breakthrough in the United States. It's hard to say what Stompin' Tom thinks about lang these days, now that she's an out-of-the-closet lesbian, an animal rights activist, and (gulp) spending most of her time in America, but it's a good bet he approves of Hymns of the 49th Parallel, in which lang turns her attention exclusively to the work of Canadian tunesmiths.