Bob Wiseman almost seems 'too' funny for his own good or at least his music's good (but not too Canadian, how could that possibly happen?). I mean that he would likely receive more attention and admiration from that quadrant of the music media with hyperbolic tendencies if his eccentric, formidable talent were framed at all times in a downtrodden, serious urban light (a là the Godfather of eccentric urban hipsters, Tom Waits). But Wiseman, I believe, follows his muse (serious or lighthearted) from whatever or wherever it springs (He has even done some film and television scoring). But when he does put his talent to a serious inspiration what appears is often lovely and touching. That is not to dismiss the more humorous songs he has penned... Wiseman is a funny guy. A multi-instrumentalist, he obviously has an affinity for any instrument with keys, such as organ, piano, toy piano, accordion, melodica, they all sing under Wiseman's fingers. He's also an improvisational musician (his debut, 1989's In Her Dream: Bob Wiseman Sings Wrench Tuttle, was rife with "prepared piano" - a term referring to altering the piano's sound by slipping paper, coins or vegetables between the strings) who will use any 'thing', or way, to produce the sounds the song needs at the time. This obviously isn't as evident on his recordings, but certainly during live performances. In fact I caught a very intimate multi-media performance by the man himself just a week or two ago. Working with a DVD player, a DVD projector, acoustic guitar, a Hohner 'Student' accordion, a tiny laptop keyboard, and dying (soon to leave this mortal coil) batteries in the DVD player's remote control, Wiseman gave the lucky few on hand their money's worth. The highlight for me was his song, "Uranium". A sad and beautiful tale of a young woman from the northern Ontario mining town of Elliott Lake whom boards a Greyhound for the big city of Toronto. His delivery was a wonderful contrast of adult love, pain, and death, against a childlike puppet show of the song's story playing on the screen behind him.
With eight solo albums under his belt, Wiseman has much for you to discover. You could even dip into very early Blue Rodeo albums that feature his inspired organ playing.
Here are some mp3s. If you want to spread the word about Bob Wiseman's music you may use these links or seek out his music to host yourself... for as Bob told me:
"I think if you release a record it's public domain. So, yes, use anything you want in any way you want."
+ born to love you
+ me and my arrow
+ my cousin dave [mp3 from blocks recording club]
It's True - 2004 Blocksblocksblocks
This Recording Was Made on "Recording Is Easy Computer Operated By" - 2004 BlocksBlocksBlocks
Accidentally Acquired Beliefs - 1995, Grow or Die Music/ Warner Music.
Beware of Bob - 1994, Sabre Toque Records
City of Wood - 1993, Carpe Diem Music, Inc./ Warner Music
Presented by Lake Michigan Soda - 1991, Carpe Diem Music, Inc./ Warner Music
In Her Dream: Bob Wiseman Sings Wrench Tuttle - 1989 Risque Disque / Atlantic / WEA
Wet Water - 1984
Here is a bio found on Blue Rodeo's homepage.
In closing I'd say that Bob Wiseman is a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, who shares his art through multi-media. He is therefore multi-purpose not unlike WD-40 or Super Bond. When you come right down to it... Bob Wiseman is Krazy Glue.