We last heard from Toronto, ON roots-rock veterans Skydiggers with their 2009 album, The Truth About Us. That was a career retrospective, while this superb new outing (their eighth studio album) confirms that their creative juices are still flowing freely. There are nods to the past also, with former founder member Peter Cash's spirited guest turn and the inclusion of two songs written by another kindred spirit, Andrew Cash. Northern Shore also reaffirms the impressive evolution of Josh Finlayson as a songwriter, exploring terrain that's simultaneously familiar and bracingly fresh; it's a gem.
I gather you took different recording approaches this time?
Guitarist Josh Finlayson: The one constant was that we used a producer, Saam Hashemi. Initially, Andy [Maize, vocalist] and I just did some demos in the studio at my house, with guitar and vocals, to a click track. Saam started building sounds around that and we took those tracks and the full band into the Woodshed, Blue Rodeo's studio, and then to the Bathouse, the Tragically Hip's studio. We then brought the results back to my studio to finish and mix.
Maize: After you've been doing it for a while, you're almost making records in reaction to the way you made the last one. This time, we weren't shackled by any preconceived ideas of how we were going to make this record.
There's variety to the material on Northern Shore.
Maize: It is something of an overview of where we are now and what we're doing. One of the themes we went into the recording with was the theme of community. Being a Skydigger is almost like being in a collective. People come and go, but there's a core that moves the projects ahead. There is material we draw from with people like Andrew, Peter Cash and Charlie Angus. At this stage of our lives, we are very grateful we've found ourselves as part of a community.
Read a review of Northern Shore here.