with Lyn Besse McGinnis

Lyn is a Saskatoon singer-songwriter who describes her sound as “roots with a dash of folk, pop, country and blues”. She has three full-length albums to her credit, the last being A Simple Life (2018). More recently, she was a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Competition and International Songwriting Competition in 2020. In honour of the recent International Women’s Day (March 8), Lyn chose strong songs from strong women that made lasting memories for her. /Gregory Beatty

“Both Sides Now”
Joni Mitchell | Clouds (1969) | YouTube

My first concert, and my introduction to a songwriter’s soul and the intricacies of weaving lyrics around a theme. I wanted to BE Joni Mitchell. And then I would’ve written “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Raised on Robbery” — two more of my all-time Joni favs!

“Universal Solder”
Buffy Sainte-Marie | It’s My Way (1964) | YouTube

I met Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Western Canada Music Awards in Moose Jaw in 2007. I’m 5’1” and I felt like an Amazon standing beside her. Then I watched her sing “Universal Soldier”, a song condemning war, on a military base! Forever goosebumps with this song.

“Me and Bobby McGee”
Janis Joplin | Pearl (1971) | YouTube

The soundtrack to memories from almost every decade of my life. Singing loudly by myself, with my daughters, friends and family, with guitars and a cappella, with bonfires and singing along with Janis. And those special times when you nail the la la la la la la la’s at the very end.  

“9 to 5”
Dolly Parton | 9 to 5 & Odd Jobs (1980) | YouTube

Four generations of women in my family know the words to this song. Upbeat and straight forward.  Gets me out of my chair every time. I admire Dolly’s class and sass, along with her songwriting chops to sum up a cultural enigma in three minutes. 

Nina Simone | Pastel Blues (1965) | YouTube

I first heard Nina Simone in The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) version of this song, and thought it was a male voice. Google then introduced me to this awe-inspiring singer, songwriter, musician and civil rights activist who influenced generations of songwriters. Gospel soul with a driving rhythm that rattles my bones.

“La Vie en rose”
Edith Piaf | Released as a 10-Inch Single (1947) | YouTube

Close my eyes and I’m in Paris. A great song for pandemic travel! This iconic voice sends shivers of pure joy down my spine. I’ve been to Paris, but not this one — this is the Paris of the late 1940s.