Here’s a clip of Canadian singer-songwriter Gregory Hoskins with his song, “Beautiful Parade” as taken from the album Alone in the Mayor’s House… almost. And for you musician-spotters, that’s drummer Gary Craig  playing along with him.


I met Gregory Hoskins once, awkwardly.  I’d been a fan of his band The Stickpeople, who put out one of my favourite albums of the 1990s, Moon Come Up, in 1991.   It turned out that Gregory Hoskins was a friend of a friend, so I got the inside scoop on how he gathered his band together through his involvement with Catholic youth groups and community activist organizations. It explained a lot about his approach as a songwriter; socially conscious lyrics, and a kind of stylistic amalgam of folk-rock, gospel music, soul, and liturgical singing.

The band was on the True North Label, the one on which one of my other heroes Bruce Cockburn had made a name.  After Moon Come Up,  another album Raids on the Unspeakable, and a few Canadian hits in “Neighbourhood”, “Let Her Go”, and “Remember Where You Come From”, the band sort of disappeared into the ether.  It happens a lot in this country of mine, where our culture is supposedly protected by Canadian Content laws.

Since the Stickpeople, Hoskins embarked on a solo career into this decade, including this album.  You can tell that the initial influences are still there; the spiritually-oriented lyrics and the emphasis on harmony in the vocals are particular features on this song.

Anyway, I met Gregory Hoskins once, as I mentioned earlier.   I was working in a video store in the early to mid 90s, a sort of kiosk kind of an affair in the middle of a shopping mall in North York, just north of Toronto.  I was doing my work, and I looked up; there was Gregory Hoskins.  I recognized him immediately.  Instead of saying: “Gregory Hoskins.  I’m a fan.  Thanks for your work”, I asked him how our mutual friend was doing.

Now, he couldn’t have known that we even had a mutual friend, so the opening remark from the video guy across from him had to be confusing. But, he was gracious.  I eventually found my footing and told him that I had greatly enjoyed his appearance at the Festival of Friends that year, an outdoor folk-rock event held annually. But, that first impression of me must have been weird for the poor guy who was only passing the time at the rinky-dink video kiosk.

I really should never meet my heroes.

For more information about Gregory Hoskins, check out his label

And also check out the Gregory Hoskins bandcamp page for more music.


8 thoughts on “Gregory Hoskins Performs “Beautiful Parade”

  1. Nice one, Rob … and another nice introduction (for me) for a band (and artist) I’d heard of but never knowingly heard.

    I had to laugh at your awkward meeting and how you realy shouldn’t really meet your heroes. I once met Bill Henderson of Chilliwack in my early 40s — too old to go ga-ga over any kind of human being. I spluttered, I lost my train of thought and I forgot the names of every song of his that I’d admired. I finally had to tell him I was just awe-struck. He said he used to have that happen to him years earlier, but not recently. I felt like quite the dufus. He was very gracious, wonderful person!

    Crazy talk!

    1. It’s not like I’d make a policy of never approaching a musical hero, or any other hero. But, my track record hasn’t been great. I’ve even been awkward when meeting bloggers I admire, let alone rock stars!

      Thanks for comments, David, as always!

    1. Beautiful Parade

      My inner masochist was jumping for joy
      At all the poison he had pumping in his boy
      He nearly wore me down, he nearly stole my crown.

      Ah, but that was yesterday
      Sometime in the night the Surgeon came
      I woke up with hollow bones
      And the truth I’ve always known, I was born above the law.

      Into the beautiful parade, it’s a beautiful parade
      Just relax and don’t forget to smile
      From the cradle to the grave, it’s a beautiful parade
      Be happy if you want to be.

      In the beginning was The Word and The Word was good.
      But then The Word was misunderstood
      That’s always how it goes, eyes open then closed.

      Father mother daughter son; every lamb, every lion
      All just angels without wings, we were meant for better things
      We were meant for a better life.

      Here in the beautiful parade…

      The Holy Ghost is on the move
      You’ve just got to learn to spot the clues
      In our science when it proves what the heart already knows.

      So let the wine flow and your hair down
      Put back those paintings that you took down
      ‘Cause Beauty’s begging for a lift
      In its’ bag a bloody gift
      It’s a beautiful thing.

      In the beautiful parade…

  2. Nice post. I’m going through a Hoskins-listening phase right now. Got recommended to him as a house-concert performer and he played a spellbinding show a year or so ago at our house. Amazing performer, in total control of his talents and the audience.

  3. Just home from “Late Night with Lucy” in Stratford. Another brilliant rendition of “Beautiful Parade”.
    A perfect night.

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