So apparently the rule is, if you’re a singer-songwriter born just south of the US/Canada border (say, Minnesota), you get to have a long career, huge critical acclaim, and tons of hits. If you’re born on the north side, you get the same long career and acclaim, but only a rabid cult audience (and a hit or two if you are lucky). And of all the culty Canadian singer-songwriters out there (Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, etc.), I would say that Leonard Cohen is probably the mostly rabidly culti-est.
What about KD Lang?
Well, she’s definitely Canadian. I’d put her more as alt-country than singer-songwriter though. Now you’ve just given me an idea for another list … 🙂