1. A Thousand Miles of Snow (Chodan/Clarke, 3:00). There are very few countries where you can drive across a thousand miles of snow and still not be home. This country-folk tune is about living somewhere and longing for somewhere else.
2. Hard Oak Bench (Chodan/Clarke, 2:27). This bluegrassy song is a snapshot of a mother-son reunion in a railway station.
3. Milkweed Pods (Gorr, 2:50). A lilting bluegrass waltz that contains reminiscences of a rural childhood.
4. Solitaire (Shizgal, 3:20). Card-playing metaphors are almost as much a part of traditional country music as heartache and whiskey. This song brings in at least two of those three elements.
5. There Was a Time (Gorr, 5:17). This haunging ballad describes what happens as cities creep further and further out into the countryside.
6. Lay Me Down With the Blues (Shizgal, 3:46). A wailing blues tune about a breakup and the emptiness it leaves behind, this benefits from some sizzling guitar by Dave Clarke and a hot harmonica solo by guest musician Randall Prescott.
7. Blue Bird Café (Chodan/Clarke, 3:21). On Labour Day weekend in 1972, a country-music club in downtown Montreal, the Blue Bird Café, was torched by a trio of disgruntled patrons. Thirty-seven people died in the fire. This folk ballad tells their story.
8. Too Drunk to Cry (Chodan/Clarke, 3:36). The full title of this song shows why it might be in the running for quintessential Canadian country tune: (Tonight It’s Too Cold to Snow and I’m) Too Drunk to Cry.
9. Angel Eyes (Gorr, 2:26). Steel Rail’s bluegrass roots show most in this briskly paced composition about the dangers of high-flying love.
10. Right of the Moon (Shizgal, 3:12). This country ballad is about the loss of a friend and the comfort that comes from lingering memories.
11. Lost Your Love (Clarke, 2:23). Dave might have lost her love, but he got a poignant heartbreak song out of the experience.
12. Katherine (Clarke, 3:03). This guitar instrumental is dedicated to Dave’s grandmother.
Thom Gossage, drums
Bill Gossage, upright and electric bass
Terry Tufts, dobro, slide guitar, rhythm guitar
Don Reed, fiddle
Al Bragg, pedal steel
Gaston Bernard, mandolin
Steve O’Connor, keyboards
Keith Snider, banjo
Bill Garrett, rhythm guitar
Randall Prescott, harmonica on Lay Me Down With the Blues