Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie’s Brother And Co-Writer On The Canadian Icon’s Final Album
In October of 2017 music lost Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. One of the most beloved and influential artists ever in his native Canada, Downie passed from a near two-year bout with brain cancer.
During those last two years of his life though he made one final album, Away Is Mine, recorded in July of 2017. Now, three years after his passing, Downie’s brother Patrick and his co-writer and closest friend, Josh Finlayson, are ready to share the beautiful and intimate Away Is Mine with listeners.
The album, released in both acoustic and electric formats on October 16, almost three years to the day after Downie died, is, like Warren Zevon’s The Wind and the Raymond Carver poetry book, A New Path To The Waterfall, the rare work of art offering insight into someone’s last days. And as you would expect, it is beautiful, honest and at times, devastating.
I spoke with Patrick and Finlayson about the making of Away Is Mine, paying tribute to Gord Downie and how they hope the record will offer the same comfort to Tragically Hip fans it has brought them.
Steve Baltin: I imagine this is a bittersweet record for you at this time.
Josh Finlayson: Given that it’s three years later, I actually feel pretty great about talking about it and talking about Gord. Initially because it was recorded close to his health changing and his passing I think it served as a way of dealing with Gord’s death. Because he had a terminal illness, we knew this was gonna come. I think it served as a great way of dealing with and mourning Gord. But now I feel it’s a great thing to talk about Gord as an artist and I’m really happy and grateful for that.
Patrick Downie: The timing has worked out that I really do feel like we’re finally ready to let go of this record. And it’s not that we kept it under lock and key, but in the time since Gord has died so many decisions and thoughts about his legacy and how we’re going to unveil it or what have you. Those decisions aren’t easy when you’re grieving your brother or your best friend. And over time it just seemed that the record, it became its own medicine for us. And at times of course you hear it and it’s super painful, it’s a real intimate record and there’s a lot of those feelings. But at the same time there’s a real healing power to it as well. So we feel pretty lucky to have it and we’re finally ready to share it. And we feel it’ll kind of have the same effect on all the listeners and fans.