The other day I came across my old, scratched, and worn-out copy of Sam Roberts’ Chemical City. It still plays without a skip, which is proof that this album is timeless in more ways than one. Each time I listen to it I learn something new, I remember why I love the band, and I feel like protesting or advocating something (think “S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M” – the Canadian Dream from We Were Born In A Flame – anyone?). It’s a toss-up which excites me more – the music itself, or the passion and candidness of the individuals who create it.Without getting too weepy, Sam Roberts’ music is my staple. “Whoever said you can’t be saved by a song?” (hear Uprising Down Under from Chemical City for more). It’s a support system and drill sergeant all in one, has endured and survived my first-ever Central America solo backpacking experience, and even drove my decision to take a chance at love with someone who later became and still remains my husband. I remember seeing them in the beginning – live on campus at a Canadian university – as well as numerous times since then and have enjoyed seeing them evolve over the years. While their latest single “I Feel You” is great (to be expected), classics like “Brother Down”, “Where Have All The Good People Gone”, and “Hard Road” will live on forever. Trust me, if you haven’t heard of Sam Roberts before (otherwise the Sam Roberts Band or SRB for short), google them, find them on myspace or youtube, and learn for yourself why they’ve found the success they have.
So what does all of this have to do with Costa Rica? Not much, apart from the fact that lead guitarist Dave Nugent once lived in the country and had built a music studio here. However, as a Canadian in Costa Rica (who is craving great Canadian music – at this moment and always), my recommendation for travellers en route to Costa Rica is to bring some SRB with you. It will help the plane trips and often long in-country city-to-city transportation services appear shorter, will make your beach time more relaxing, and will certainly add a bit of rock to your nights out.
I often wonder if Sam Roberts and crew will ever make their way to Costa Rica. I have no idea if there is a market here for Canadian rock, but if other international hard-rock icons such as Iron Maiden and Metallica can sell seats, there may just be a place for additional evolutionary rock (albeit, softer-sounding) in our neck of the woods. After all, I have heard that the title artist speaks Spanish, so perhaps he would feel at home here. And, if the emotional and truth-telling lyrics are an accurate reflection of the people in the band – a true testament to the “pura vida –ness” that is Sam Roberts – Costa Rica in turn would be proud to host them.
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