With the Tragically Hip on hiatus, lead vocalist and lyricist Gord Downie is spending his time touring with his solo project, the Country of Miracles, and their excellent new record, The Grand Bounce. While the album is only the band's third since they first convened in 2001, it has been Downie's primary outlet for musical expression outside of the Hip. Now comes news about the long-rumoured collaboration between Downie and super-prolific Toronto band and 2010 Polaris Music Prize nominees, the Sadies.
In a recent interview with Exclaim!, Downie suggests the project is far along. "It's going catch-as-catch-can, which I bet you will be the album title," Downie says. "They've got a busy schedule and I've got a busy schedule, so we've been chipping away at it. We were together about a month ago and added a couple of songs. We still have some work to do but it's getting closer. And then who knows what happens with it after that."
He adds of the Sadies, "I enjoy getting together with those guys; it's a whole other universe. They're writing all the music and I'm writing all the lyrics and we're coming up with some neat stuff. You do it for the company but I'm genuinely shocked by the themes and things you touch on based on the music you're singing to. That's really compelling to me."
Downie says that the plan was to shoot for ten new songs and that they're currently sitting at "about eight and a half." He doesn't expect to reconnect with the Sadies until at least the end of the summer. "We're in no rush, and I think that's healthy," he says.
As for the Hip, Downie says there are no current plans for the band to work together in the near future but expects to do so when the mood strikes. "Everyone wants to cool their jets for a while. It'll just be the songs; when we get a bunch of songs together that say, 'We should be a record,' that's what we'll do, perhaps upending the idea that every two years, you just convene and make a record. Perhaps this time, the songs will come first."
In the meantime, Gord Downie the Country of Miracles, which consists of Julie Doiron, Dave Clark, Dale Morningstar, Josh Finlayson and John Press, have a long list of Canadian tour dates that you can see below.
8/15 Salmon Arm, BC – Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival
9/22 Vancouver, BC – The Vogue
9/24 Victora, BC – Rifflandia Music Festival
9/25 Mission, BC – Clarke Theatre
9/30 Medicine Hat, AB – Esplanade Arts
10/2 Red Deer, AB – Red Deer Memorial Centre
10/4 Calgary, AB – Jack Singer Concert Hall
10/5 Saskatoon, SK – Odeon Events Centre
10/15 Halifax, NS - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
10/16 Moncton, NB - The Centre at Casino New Brunswick
10/18 Fredericton, NB – Playhouse Theatre
10/19 Glace Bay, NS – Savoy Theatre
10/21 Sherbrooke, QC - Theatre Centennial
10/22 Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle
10/23 Montreal, QC – The National
10/26 Oakville, ON – Oakville Centre
10/27 Peterborough, ON – Showplace
10/28 Kingston, ON – Grand Theatre
10/30 Pembroke, ON – Festival Hall
11/3 Parry Sound, ON - Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts
11/5 Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre