TORONTO, ONTARIO: The second installment of a CBC Radio show compilation has a genuine Cape Breton feel.
“The Vinyl Cafe 25 Years – Volume II: Postcards from Canada” compiles 21 show-opening essays recorded at live Vinyl Cafe concerts across the country hosted by the late Stuart MacLean.
Jess Milton, producer of The Vinyl Café, explained that Volume II is “very different” from the first installment.
“For the very first time, we’re releasing the opening scripts from the show, these are the essays Stuart would write and perform live, and about the town where we were recording,” Milton explained.
A frequent fan favourite on the radio show, these essays have never been featured on a Vinyl Cafe album until now. A cornerstone of Vinyl Cafe concerts, these essays were a consistent fan-favourite on the radio program.
The fourth disc of the new four-disc set features McLean’s musings about of the Mabou River Inn, the Red Shoe Pub, and The Rankin Family.
“He makes a joke that there are as many eagles as Beatons,” Milton recalls. “He talks about the old railway tracks along the Mabou River and he actually talks about fly fishing, which he did when we were down there.”
Milton calls the first CD an ode to Cape Breton which make sense since McLean’s fictional character “Dave” is from Cape Breton. Volume II includes McLean’s experiences while in Cape Breton.
“Cape Breton always sort of felt like home to us,” Milton stated. “We spent a lot of time imagining life in Cape Breton. Many of the ‘Dave’ and ‘Morley’ stories, including a few on this new collection, take place in Cape Breton.”
The Vinyl Café celebrated its 25th anniversary with the release of two brand new albums that have been available since October 4 and offers a total of 34 stories and essays written and performed by McLean not previously available on CD.
In true Vinyl Café fashion, the first four-disc set brings to life the colourful stories of “Dave,” his wife “Morley,” their two children, “Sam” and “Stephanie,” and an assortment of their friends and neighbours. Volume I mines the Vinyl Café vaults to present over four hours of tales about the cherished characters that became an enduring part of the program’s legacy over the last two decades.
Volume II was recorded at live Vinyl Cafe concerts across the country. From Nelson, British Columbia, to M’chigeeng First Nation in Ontario, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, these snapshots of Canadian life capture – in McLean’s inimitable style – the beauty, history and poetry of Canada’s landscape and people.
Hosted by McLean, who was a best-selling author, award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and humorist, The Vinyl Café first aired in 1994. Broadcasting in Canada on CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2, syndicated to approximately 80 public stations in the U.S., and released as a podcast that was consistently in Apple’s Top 10, the show regularly drew over 2 million listeners each week, from all over the country and around the world.
Widely considered as one of the best storytellers of his generation, McLean died in February 2017.
The CDs are available at book stores across Canada and on Amazon.