CD Review: Patricia Cano Sings Songs from The (Post) Mistress

post mistress



CD Review:
Patricia Cano Sings Songs from The (Post) Mistress
Tomson Highway
Reviewed by Lise Watson

Tomson Highway and Patricia Cano are a match made in musical heaven.  Highway creates beautiful songs and Cano delivers them with gusto.  Add to that a stellar collection of backup musicians, and le voilà, you have pure magic.

The multitudinous and varied talents of the brilliant Tomson Highway are no secret across this country and around the world.   In fact, his website biography boasts of accolades that are “too embarrassingly numerous to list. In fact, at one point in his life, his trophy case collapsed from the terrible weight and killed three people.”   One hopes that by now he has added several more, as his latest offerings of a play and cd of The (Post) Mistress will surely garner a truckload of new honours.

The (Post) Mistress, which started out as a cabaret (Highway has been exploring the worlds of French  and German cabaret for several years), is  the enchanting story of Marie-Louise Painchaud, the fun-loving postmistress at the post office in the fictional Lovely, Ontario, a farming town near the mining town of Complexity.  Marie-Louise spends her days flirting with customers, laughing for no reason in particular and just enjoying life.  She is able to ‘read’ her customers mail without opening the letters, and the sometimes steamy and sad content of these letters are the subject of each of the eleven songs on this marvelous recording.

Highway’s subjects are sometimes dark and he wraps them in his signature sense of drama.  But at the same time he draws on his inner trickster and brings a touch of levity thereby lightening the load a touch.  The luscious Cano moves easily from one song style to the next, playful, seductive, bouncy, and light-hearted.  Hearing this is truly a delightful experience, the songs repeating again and again in your subconscious.

Beautiful sentimental love songs like Have I Told You, Some Say a Rose, Robins of Dawn roll into seductive and playful French chansons like Quand Je Danse and Mad to Love, Hey Good  Lookin’  only to give way to the tempestuous When Last I Was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Kurt Weil-esque tragedy The Window.

Using English, French and Highway’s native Cree, this collection has the class of the art of wartime Europe with a unique Canadian twist.  Who knew that being born and raised in Bramalea, Ontario and fixing cars and shopping at Zellers at the mall could be so dramatic and exciting?   You will not find anything like this, anywhere.  “Wipe that smirk off your face, you rat!”  Indeed.

Featured musicians include Patricia Cano, David Restivo, George Koller, Marcus Ali, Mark Kelso, Ted Quilan, Jeremy Ledbetter and Luisito Orbegoso.


.TH        Patricia Cano4







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