Canada Listens: Crown Lands

Poet and activist Erica Violet Lee is championing Crown Lands' self-titled album in Canada Listens.

Poet and activist Erica Violet Lee is championing Crown Lands' self-titled album in Canada Listens

Poet and activist Erica Violet Lee champions Crown Lands' award-winning debut album in Canada Listens 2022. (Erica Violet Lee; design by CBC)

Erica Violet Lee is no stranger to standing up for what she believes in. The Saskatoon-raised Cree poet and activist has fought for Indigenous rights and climate action everywhere from tiny northern Canadian communities to the United Nations in Paris. So how will the scholar, writer and educator fare in Canada Listens 2022 to defend Crown Lands' breakthrough self-titled album?

As usual, Lee steps into the ring with grace and confidence, describing the record as "a mystical trip for the senses and a celebration of Indigenous resistance. Crown Lands' self-titled debut album is as necessary today as it is destined to become the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend."

Crown Lands are an award-winning hard-rock duo from Oshawa, Ont., made up of Cody Bowles on drums and vocals, and Kevin Comeau on guitar and keyboards. The band's name is a political statement in itself, which Bowles, who identifies as Mi'kmaq, explained to American Songwriter in 2020: "The meaning of Crown Lands is steeped in the troublesome history of Canada. Crown land is stolen land. We are reclaiming it. We are fighting to have the voices of millions of marginalized people heard."

Crown Lands won the 2021 Juno Award for breakthrough group of the year and were nominated for rock album of the year.

Check out this year's album trailers, panelist pre-interviews and more here.

Canada Listens is hosted by CBC Music's Saroja Coelho. She will guide the panellists through four radio shows of passionate debate. Each day, starting Monday, April 11 on CBC Music (8 a.m. on Mornings, 5 p.m. repeat on Drive), the panellists will vote to remove one album from the group, leaving one album spinning on Thursday, April 14.

A special two-hour version, highlighting the best of the 2022 Canada Listens debate, will air on CBC Radio One on Monday, April 18 at 4 p.m. (4:30 NL). 

The Canada Listens winner will become the one album Canada needs to hear. The contenders this year include:

  • Bruce Cockburn's Further Adventures Of, championed by "Survivorman" Les Stroud. 
  • Mustafa's When Smoke Rises, championed by comedian Dave Merheje.
  • Crown Land's Crown Lands, championed by poet Erica Violet Lee. 
  • Ria Mae's Ria Mae, championed by Olympic athlete Stephanie Labbé.
  • Jacksoul's Sleepless, championed by actor Kim Roberts.

Which Canadian album would you suggest? Tweet us @CBCMusic with #CanadaListens and let us know!

5 celebrity panelists will debate which album Canadians should mostly definitely hear in 2022. (CBC)