Four Strong Winds
Music/Lyrics: Ian Tyson
Vocals: Neil Young (lead), Sarah McLachlan (backing)
Original Artist: Ian & Sylvia
Original Album: Four Strong Winds (1964)
Historian: Erik Swain
On their only performance of this song on the second day of the 1998 Bridge School Benefit, Phish sat back and let the Canadians have the spotlight. This folk tune, penned by Canadian Ian Tyson and full of Canadian pastoral imagery, followed Phish’s collaboration with Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan on Cat Stevens’ “Sad Lisa.” Neil Young, the benefit’s organizer and another Canadian, emerged from backstage before “Four Strong Winds” and started to take the lead vocal. The band left Young and McLachlan to handle all the singing and stuck to the arrangement Young used when he covered “Four Strong Winds” on his Comes A Time album. So, if you don’t like this performance, blame Canada!
Ian & Sylvia "Four Strong Winds" CBC 1986