“Smile for me, sing to me, melancholy blue.” And with those lyrics, sung a capella, Serena Ryder had me hooked. I first saw the singer-songwriter at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern back in 2004. She was the opening act and hadn’t put out a full-length album yet. I left the show that night not only as a fan but also with the feeling of excitement that comes when you discover something new. I’ll be going to see Serena this weekend when she performs a free show on the Toronto Islands as part of Parks Canada Centennial Celebration. (There are also free concerts in Montreal and Vancouver, as well as other celebrations in parks across the country; for more info, check in with Parks Canada.) As a huge music fan, I love to be introduced to different artists. While my musical tastes tend toward acoustic pop/rock and country, I’m game for giving anything a listen. And while I love Shania and Alanis as much as the next Canuck, I’m equally drawn to Canadian acts who aren’t quite as well known. Here are just four favourites I’d recommend to anyone looking to spin a new tune, all of whom you can find on iTunes. • Basia Bulat. She’s probably not as unknown as I think since she was nominated for a Juno this year and shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2008. Her music has a folksy feel, complete with autoharp. Take a listen: In the Night; Run Century Toy; Land and Tide • Joel Kroeker. This singer-songwriter seems to have hung up his guitar and is now working as a music therapist in Vancouver. I’d say his sound is a mix of light rock and acoustic pop. Really, I just love his voice. Take a listen: Smallest Room; Guide Us Home • Treasa Levasseur. It’s hard to pinpoint this Winnipeg-born artist’s sound, but here goes: an eclectic fusion of soul, jazz, blues, rock and roots. Take a listen: Low Fidelity; Worthy in Its Ways Is there a Canadian musician or band out there you wish more people knew about?