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Covered Classics: VACAY, 'Sing High, Sing Low'

Ron Skinner

This month's Covered Classic is the cheerful country-pop song "Sing High, Sing Low," originally recorded by Anne Murray and performed here for the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame by Toronto's VACAY.

The song was Anne Murray's followup to her smash hit recording of Gene MacLellan’s "Snowbird," and the choice of "Sing High, Sing Low" was another stroke of briliance as it became a double No. 1 hit in Canada, reaching the coveted top spot on both the Adult Contemporary chart and the Country chart.

The optimistic "Sing High, Sing Low" reflects composer Brent Titcomb’s folk-music roots and the mindset of the early 1970s social movements. The lyrics espouse harmony, telling us that we may be different but can find much in common, while the melody employs the device of word-painting to match the lyrics.

“I saw that I had a gift of moving people, and I took that very seriously," Titcomb told an interviewer in 2006. "My songs are more universal, just because of the way I approach songwriting.”

In the hands of Toronto singer-songwriter VACAY, the song gets a radical make-over through a bare-bones acoustic treatment that makes you wonder if this is how the song sounded when Titcomb originally wrote it.