Here are two things I never expected to hear: (1) “As your financial adviser, I won’t be charging you any management fees this year because your portfolio went down and I blame myself.” And (2) “I have Eddie Vedder on the phone for you.”

I’m still paying management fees on my RRSP. Eddie, on the other hand, was, in fact, on the phone from somewhere in Seattle. And despite his well-documented, er, reserve, the Pearl Jam frontman sounded, well, rather verklempt — in a good way. So how is he doing, following the inaugural of U.S. President Barack Obama?

“I’m OK. I’m beyond OK. I’m great. I’m so overwhelmed and overcome with emotion ... I feel incredible, I feel relieved, I feel exhausted.”

So what kind of hopes and predictions does he now have, I ask.

“Two years ago, you were wondering what could there possibly be to unite our country and get us out of this mess. What can get us back on the positive? What can bring us back into some kind of standing with the international community? And it seemed like that there would not be any answer. Who knew we would get to this moment?”

Maybe Barack Obama’s greatest contribution is simply going to be the re-ignition of hope, he suggests.

“So now it’s up to us to keep that candle, turn that into a flame and keep it burning. And to protect and serve him and serve our nation now that the electorate has been invigorated.”

We had our own federal election in October and the turnout and interest was low. However, hundreds of Canadians travelled to Washington to take part in American history.

“Wow. Well, you know, we are connected — more than just geographically. Our cultures are very similar and when one goes down, the other is going to follow in certain ways.”

Eddie and I talked about everything from the upcoming reissue of Pearl Jam’s Ten album (due March 24) to any lingering bad feelings towards Ticketmaster.

But here was my big question: How did Eddie come to cover a Canadian song for the Into the Wild soundtrack? The answer next week.

– The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on stations across Canada. Read more at and