Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dan Mangan at the CBC: you had me at Leonard Cohen

I headed to CBC Radio's Studio 2 with my pal A. for a particularly special treat:  I managed to score a couple of seats to Dan Mangan's studio session with NXNW host Sheryl MacKay.  CBC Radio is trying out having a live audience for some of their studio sessions - in the case of Studio 2, that audience is limited to a max of about 14, so we were two of a very lucky few.  

First off, let me once again attest my deep, crazy love of CBC radio;  NXNW and Sheryl MacKay's bright yet miraculously soothing voice (soothing being oh so important at 7am on a Saturday) is inevitably the soundtrack of my weekend mornings, usually accompanied by whining cats and a cup of coffee.  It was a real treat to walk through the new CBC building down into the uber-quiet, studio-filled basement to see what goes into producing the show - well, at least a little bit of it.

I have also gone on (and on, and on...) about Dan Mangan repeatedly in this blog.  I've spoken about his records, his voice, and his ability to engage an audience.  What made this experience different was getting a chance to listen to him talk about what his life is like now fame is starting to nip persistently at his heels.  Here is someone who has obviously though long and hard about who he wants to be, and how he wants to be.  He seems genuinely humbled and grateful for what is happening in his world - not the fake humble you can smell a mile away, but the real, all-too-rare humble.  Unfortunately I am someone who looks for the cracks, and (maybe frustratingly?) I didn't see any.  Even when asked for his opinion on the rise and popularity of marketing-machine pop stars, he managed to treat the topic respectfully and graciously, with a recognition that they are playing completely different "sports," not begrudging them their fame, and realizing what he wants, and what they want, are very different things.  He remarked with admiration on the grace and humility of Leonard Cohen - and what decent Canadian doesn't love Leonard?   Really, he just came across as a genuine, pleasantly self deprecating guy.   He was getting over a flu so his voice was a little hoarser than usual, but his performance, as per usual, was completely engaging.

My pal A. brought her camera and was an incredibly effective stealth recorder of the event, as you can see.  As we left, she made the comment that pretty much summed it all up: "Don't you just want to wrap him up and put him in your pocket?"  Weird maybe, but it made absolute sense to me. 

The burning question we didn't ask?  How did he feel about being tied with Jack White as the #2 musician women want to sleep with - according to the Georgia Straight -  behind #1 Jon Bon Jovi (who comes up with this stuff?).  One thing I will say - of those three, Dan is the only one you'd want to bring home to meet your Mom.

Listen to the interview this Saturday morning on NXNW on CBC 88.1 - it will play at some point between 8 and 9 am.


Seraphina said...

It was definitely a special treat. You've probably already seen this a billion times, but I just discovered it today ...

Glad you posted the Studio 2 masking tape shot - I was particularly pleased with that one! :-)

Tracy said...

i think cbc is one of the things i miss the most. i listen to 88.1 on my iphone. (cbc app.) but it isn't the same. at the cottage it is our constant companion.