Who: Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles
When: Friday, Aug. 29
You dont evoke Canehdian patriotism more than with the distinct voice of Gord Downie, best known as the frontman for The Tragically Hip. But hes a performer in his own right too. The words just keep coming and so quite rightly his songs, poetry and musical genius needs another outlet.
Hes introducing his second solo effort, an album called Battle of the Nudes, and a band called the Country of Miracles during a national summer tour thats coming to Garfinkels next week.
Downie channels a waterfall of ideas into a 37-minute sonic cauldron that swirls with roughage and delicacy. One track, Pillform No.2, takes a look at how books may have lost their impact in the age of video-spoonfed information, "Bigger dream, bigger screens, bigger feelings are planned."
The album title's duplicitous nature fits in with The Tragically Hip frontman's multifaceted oeuvre.
"I saw the title in a newspaper I was reading while on tour in Cleveland last year," he recounted. "I was looking at the gallery and museum section, and one of the upcoming exhibits was called 'Battle of the Nudes'. It didn't say much else, so I can only presume that it was an exploration of the nude in painting. The constant layers of the title stayed with me, and the idea of transparency, of fighting with no clothes on literally, figuratively, and spiritually very much held an appeal.
Nudes had a long gestation period, albeit in short, fruitful bursts stretched over a year. Five days of intense recording at The Gas Station on Toronto Island in May 2001 was followed much later by five more fertile days at The Bathouse in Bath, Ontario in May 2002. In the interim, more than half of the songs were road-tested during the nine shows that Downie and his band of merry men and one woman performed in support of his first solo album, Coke Machine Glow , in the summer of 2001. All of his tour mates appear on Nudes and are touring with Downie again this summer.
The lineup consists of Dale Morningstar (guitar, pump organ, and other various kitchen-sink music-making items), Dave Clark (drums, percussion, tuba, et al), and Dr. Pee (keyboards) from The Dinner Is Ruined; Josh Finlayson (bass, acoustic and electric guitars, background vocals) of The Skydiggers; and Julie Doiron (bass and background vocals), ex-Eric's Trip and Wooden Stars and a solo artist in her own right.
Battle of the Nudes and the Country of Miracles is the next evolutionary step for the restless creative force that is Gord Downie.
"I'm interested in doing anything that teaches me something," he said. "As a result, I've found that I'm writing more than ever. In fact, the day after I mastered this record, I was already back to writing with The Hip. Ultimately, what I want to do is more. I want to get better."
Get Nude along with Gord and the intricate layers of a singular artist literally, figuratively, and spiritually. He's not a dabbler or a hobbyist: he's hardcore to the core.
Tickets to this special show are $35 and selling fast from Daisys Internet and Garfinkels. Doors open at 8 p.m. and show starts at 9 p.m.