April 8, 2022

Issue #21

Welcome to Issue #21 of Sonic Postcards!

I particularly enjoyed writing this week’s issue as it allowed me to write about a band (The Rural Alberta Advantage) I have been wanting to cover the past couple of months. The write up led me down an unexpected rabbit hole of the boom and bust of a remote mining outpost in northern Saskatchewan called Uranium City. It is a big history and forms the backdrop to the lead track off of Issue #21.

CANDU - The Rural Alberta Advantage

The lead track for this issue, “CANDU” comes from The Rural Alberta Advantage (RAA). The first time I listened to CANDU, I was not feeling it. Big sweeping anthems and ballads usually do not do a whole lot for me other than causing me to hit next. For whatever reason though, something about the track clicked when I put it on again this week.

CANDU has a heavy gravity to it - both in sound and subject matter. The track shares it name with a nuclear reactor and the local high school of the since abandoned mining town of Uranium City in far northern Saskatchewan. The town is an unfortunate poster child the boom and bust of a remote mining outpost. Uranium City began its rise as in the 1950s after uranium was discovered in the area in the late 1940s. By the end of the 1970s, it had a quality local high school and lots of money had been invested in roads, bunkhouses, and other community infrastructure.

When ore prices dropped and policy became less favorable, however, everything turned on a dime. The town lost nearly 80% of its population within six months of Eldorado Nuclear shuttering the Beaverlodge Mine. Unfortunately, the town never bounced back from the bust.

The backdrop of CANDU fits well within the larger themes of the latest release from The RAA, The Rise. On their Bandcamp page for the new EP, The RAA says “The past two years have upended all that we thought to be concrete. The Rise, like this period, is a complication of what we assume to be familiar and true and unchanging. It’s the start of something new.” You can listen to the rest of The Rise over here.

I pulled a most of the background information the Uranium City History website. It is a beautiful collection of writing that helps keep the stories of Uranium City preserved and is well worth exploring.

Further Listening & Viewing

I was pretty late to The RAA game and only came across them last year when watching the “This is Home: Matt Hunter” mountain biking video series from Shimano. This episode is my favorite of the series as it is is a great blend of story, riding, and great music. Here’s the video.

That’s it for this week. Happy listening.