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Cashing in on Gord Downie

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Alt. rock brothers and buddies of the Hip’s famous front man come along for the road trip

Who: The Cash Brothers

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: Friday, Aug. 29

While Toronto natives Peter and Andrew Cash may be no relation to the Man in Black, ol’ Johnny, they are good friends with the next best thing on the Canadian scale, Gord Downie.

"We all live in Toronto and so we have known Gord for quite a while," played down one half of the Cash Brothers, Peter Cash.

"We’d always talked about doing some shows together but generally schedules don’t allow. We did a couple of gigs with him in the States on his last record but we’re excited to be doing some in Canada this time round."

Excited? If you’re a huge Gord Downie fan, you’d probably give up your first born child for the opportunity to jam with Mr. Tragically Hip himself, and yet for the Cash Brothers it all sounds so simple, so easy. Bastards. But at least they appreciate it.

"It’s always good to open for someone who’s music you admire," said Andrew. "I mean, you get to open a great show and then watch a true legend from the best seats in the house."

The Cash Brothers are a top drawing show on their own so perhaps Peter’s low key attitude towards playing with the Great Gord can be forgiven.

The family duo has been regularly touring the alt-country rock music scene in North America for several years now and the brothers are well known in Canada for their previous projects. For Andrew that included a run as a solo artist and playing in a band called Ursula. For Peter, it meant playing guitar and singing in a band called The Skydiggers.

It took more than a decade for them to finally come full circle and give their own joint musical partnership a go. A growing legion of fans have since been asking: What took so long?

"A lot of it is because we were so busy doing other things. When I was in the Skydiggers we were on the road all the time and so when I came home, I just wanted to rest and take a break from music, and Andrew felt the same way," said Peter.

"When I left the Skydiggers though, Andrew’s band was also breaking up and it was the first time we actually both had a chance to think about things like playing together. We decided to give it a go and see what we can do and haven’t looked back."

This month marks the release of the Cash Brothers’ fourth album, A Brand New Night . Unlike their previous offerings, which showcase their signature acoustic style, New Night embraces the electric guitar.

"It just seemed to fit with what we were writing and recording for this album. The electric atmosphere suits the mood of these songs," said Peter, who said the Garfinkel’s show will feature acoustic and electric performances from the brothers.

The first single of the new CD is called Shadow of Doubt and already it has become the most added song on the Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio list.

The chemistry and trust is apparent when you hear or see the Cash Brothers in collaboration.

"You never really take it for granted though," said Peter. "You never know if a song is going to work until you put it out there. But the fact that we are family means that certain things do come naturally with us.

"A lot of it probably also stems from growing up listening to the same music. We have two older brothers who introduced us to Bob Dylan and early Elton John when we were kids. I think that comes out when we record together."

Uplifting pop melodies and hard-edged punk alt-rock guitars seem as second nature as their heartfelt lyrics, weaving from social commentary and personal tales from Peter to big picture messages or some sexy tributes to women from Andrew. Consider it an artistic montage not unlike a good friend of theirs – Gord Downie. Heard of him?

Catch the Cash Brothers as opening act for Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles at Garfinkel’s Friday, Aug. 29. The show starts at 9 p.m. sharp with doors opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance from Daisy Internet or Garf’s box office. Ph: 604-932-2323.

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