Music Lessons

ECW. Jun. 2020. 300p. ISBN 9781770415126. pap. $18.95. MUSIC
Wiseman was a cofounder of the band Blue Rodeo, he played accordion on the Barenaked Ladies’ hit “If I Had a Million Dollars,” and he has pursued an active performance career balanced with scoring for films, teaching, and raising a precocious child. Like his music, this book is a no-holds-barred collection of his thoughts, worries, concerns, advice, history, and life lessons. Constructed of anecdotes and observations that, for the most part, take up less than a page each, this volume offers much to savor and much that’s provocative; if novelist Richard Brautigan and musician Mason Williams had collaborated on a teacher’s manual, they might have created something like this, although this work is firmly placed in our time. Wiseman is to be admired for his relentless pursuit of truth, the expression of which has led to some fairly abrasive moments, included here. Readers may not always agree with his opinions, but they may well be goaded into forming and analyzing their own conclusions, with the author’s entertaining encouragement.
VERDICT Stimulating, thought provoking, and sometimes just provoking, Wiseman’s ruminations on all things musical (and beyond) are a trip worth taking.

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