Whitehorse teacher Darren Susin picks 5 songs that inspire him

This story is a part of a web series called Music that Matters with CBC Yukon’s Airplay host Dave White. Dave sits down with Yukoners to talk about five pieces of music that inspire them.

Like most of us, Darren Susin has to find a new way to spend his days.

The Whitehorse teacher is connecting with his students remotely now that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the closure of schools in the territory.

So when he was contacted to see if he wanted to be part of our Music That Matters column, he leapt to the challenge and actually spent some time thinking about his five choices.

“I won’t lie, this was a very difficult task for me,” said Susin. “I really had to think about this one, and I ended up with a variety of songs from a variety of years.”

Susin’s first choice was Girl From The North Country, a duet Bob Dylan performed with Johnny Cash and included on Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album.

“You know, Bob Dylan can do whatever he wants. He just dropped that JFK song. Who else would drop a 17-minute song about JFK in the middle of a global pandemic?” Susin asked.

Susin’s second pick was Cut Your Hair by Pavement.

“[Pavement] were kind of underrated in the ’90s and not as accepted as some other bands of the era,” said Susin.

“This was also the first time I crowd surfed, when I saw Pavement at Lollapalooza in ’95.”

Susin’s third pick was a song from Elliott Smith, Say Yes.

“This was sort of late-’90s stuff,” said Susin. “It just reminds me of commuting to school in Abbotsford in my little Tercel.”

Susin’s fourth pick comes from an American band called Silkworm, a band that showed a lot of promise but never really broke through and got the attention a lot of their fans felt they deserved.

“Unbelievably under-rated, so strong and they never cracked through,” said Susin.

“Maybe side-stage Lollapalooza, never main stage.”

Susin’s final choice comes from Vancouver band Cool.

“I set up this really ridiculous record label for these guys a few years ago called Yellow Plum Records and we put out this album called Paint,” he said.

“These are my friends Adrian Teacher and Amanda Pezutto and another guy named Shawn Mrazek, and they’re just really inspirational people in my life.”

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