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Spirit of the West


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Spirit of the West are a Canadian folk rock band, who were popular on the Canadian folk music scene in the 1980s before evolving a blend of hard rock, Britpop and Celtic folk influences which made them one of Canada’s most successful alternative rock acts in the 1990s.

The band began in 1983 as a Vancouver-based folk trio called Evesdropper, consisting of John Mann, Geoffrey Kelly and J. Knutson. They soon changed their name to Spirit of the West, and independently released a self-titled album in 1984 before signing to Stony Plain Records, an Edmonton, Alberta roots music label.

Stony Plain released Tripping Up the Stairs in 1986. Following that album, Knutson left the band and was replaced by Hugh MacMillan.

1988’s Labour Day was the band’s first major success, spawning the popular single “Political” and making the band a major name on the folk festival circuit. After that album’s tour, MacMillan took a temporary hiatus from the band. He was replaced by Daniel Lapp and Linda McRae, but returned before the band’s next album was recorded. When MacMillan returned, Lapp left the band but McRae stayed on. (As a result, Lapp never actually appeared on a Spirit of the West recording. He pursued a solo career, however, releasing a number of albums of experimental jazz/folk/electronic fusion.)

On the strength of “Political”, Warner Brothers Records signed the band, and Stony Plain released a compilation, Old Material 1984-1986 in 1989. In 1990, the band’s major label debut, Save This House was released, spawning the singles “Save This House” and “Home For a Rest” (which is still considered a classic frosh week anthem at universities across Canada.)


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  • joaotsantos

    The Canadian Rock League (season 2) will start in the next week. You can vote in this band here Canadian Rock League Every week have a new voting! Greetings

    3 Jul 2012 Reply
  • liam7777

    Really nice!

    22 May 2011 Reply

    Join group Canada, if you like Music

    16 Jan 2011 Reply
  • quietrob

    I wish they'd come back through Yorkshire's green fields and play some shows here...

    29 Nov 2010 Reply
  • tckma

    Wish these guys would play some shows in the US.

    23 Nov 2010 Reply
  • quietrob

    Wow these guys are fantastic! Thanks for the heads up!

    29 Aug 2010 Reply
  • KeithJones

    Great music!

    5 Jun 2009 Reply
  • LooneyMakachus

    Haha, I used to listen to "Political" on repeat when I was a kid.

    22 Mar 2009 Reply
  • yoginicole

    Saw you in Buffalo at Thursday at the square. Awesome! I had so much fun! Thank You!

    8 Aug 2008 Reply
  • gregger29

    Anybody ever heard of an old Vancouver band called She stole my Beer. A great band name with an equally great album called Sparks off the Guardrail Good sounds!

    22 Jan 2008 Reply
  • Halfdwarf

    One of my favourite Folk Rock-bands. If you like them you should try Caroline's spine, Flogging Molly, The Men they Couldn't Hang, Carbon Leaf and (of course) Great Big Sea too.

    21 Sep 2007 Reply
  • dotmanish

    I listened to '5 free minutes' in my friend's car, and now I'm a fan!

    12 Sep 2007 Reply
  • disgustosarana

    what a wonderful band.

    2 Mar 2007 Reply

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