Playlist: Ten years of Hey Rosetta!

Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! are currently trekking across the country with Kelowna indie rockers Yukon Blonde, playing nice rooms with seats and people who quietly listen (Saint John tonight and two Halifax dates Thursday and Friday at the Rebecca Cohn).

Hey Rosetta! are also celebrating ten years of being a band. Sure, ten years can fly by, but it’s no small feat for a Canadian band to exist, record new music and tour for a decade. For Hey Rosetta! specifically, it’s impressive considering you can’t be a Newfoundland band and tour without a long ferry ride and drive.

The band holds a special place in my heart. The first time I saw Hey Rosetta! was November 2008 in Halifax opening for Stars. At the time I was mostly listening to bands from Europe that make me cringe when I hear their music now. Seeing Hey Rosetta! made me realize it was worth investing time in local music scenes. I would check them out every time they came through town. The openers they played alongside opened me up to even more local music including Rich Aucoin and Jon Mckiel.

To celebrate 10 years of Hey Rosetta!, here are 10 of my favourite songs from their catalogue, in absolutely no order:

Old Crow Black Night Stand Still

Album: CBC Radio 2 Great Canadian Song Quest
Release date: November 23, 2009

CBC Radio 2 listeners voted for bands from each province of Canada to write a song about the area. Hey Rosetta! was Newfoundland and Labrador’s choice and they wrote this track about Gros Morne National Park.

Epitaph

Album: Plan Your Escape
Release date: August, 8, 2006

The recorded version is bare-bones, featuring only Tim Baker’s vocals and acoustic guitar. At live shows with a full band, the “don’t let the bastards grind you down” line from the chorus became more of a group rallying call than a lyric of personal anguish.

Holy Shit (What A Relief)

Album: Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood)
Release date: June 3, 2008

It’s not a poop joke as the title suggests. This song starts off as a slow burner before exploding. But again, it’s not a poop joke. It’s a beautiful song.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Album: Plan Your Escape
Release date: August 8, 2006

Punctuation overload in this jam from the early days! Yeah!

Bandages

Album: Red Songs EP
Release date: January 12, 2010

Originally recorded for the Red Songs EP, this track was re-recorded for Seeds a year later. Warning: The video for this song can induce home-sickness for Atlantic Canadians living away from home. Or it’ll make you miss your friends who have moved away.

Young Glass

Album: Seeds
Release date: February 15, 2011

A song based on the character Franny Glass from the book Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. This song came to Tim Baker when out for a run in Halifax.

Seventeen

Album: Seeds
Release date: February 15, 2011

A song about highway 17 through middle of nowhere northern Ontario and the age of 17, that grey area between childhood and adulthood.

Gold Teeth

Album: Second Sight
Release date: October 27, 2014

Another Hey Rosetta! track touching on their go-to themes of birth, growing up, dreams and moving.

Graceland (Paul Simon cover)

Hey Rosetta! have been known to throw a classic cover into their live setlists. Artists covered include the Beatles, Rod Stewart and Paul Simon. Cover songs can be cringe-worthy, but this Paul Simon cover is smile-inducing.

New Goodbye

Album: Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood)
Release date: June 3, 2008

This song’s about leaving Newfoundland. Frontperson Tim Baker does a good job explaining the track in this live video from Bonnaroo in 2012.

Photo: Scott Blackburn

About Jonathan Briggins 63 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.