Published Sep 21, 2020Following some Twitter teasers earlier this month, details of a new Gord Downie solo album have emerged. Titled Away Is Mine, the final collection of solo recordings from the late Tragically Hip frontman will arrive October 16 through Arts & Crafts.
Ten tracks in length, Away Is Mine began as an exchange of musical and lyrical ideas between Downie and Skydiggers guitarist and co-founder Josh Finlayson, whom Downie called "my oldest Toronto friend." It is said to find the revered lyricist contemplating life through writing "with his deft hand and forever inscrutable sense of humour even as he locked eyes with the Great Inevitability."
"There really wasn't a plan to make a record," Finlayson explained in a statement. "The whole thing was that I knew this was a great way to spend time with Gord, listening to music, talking about music, talking about things that we'd always talked about. And this just evolved pretty organically."
Away Is Mine was recorded in July 2017, over four days at the Hip's Bathouse studio. Producer and in-house engineer Nyles Spencer would affix Downie and Finlayson's 10 acoustic sketches with additional drum loops, keyboards, and vocal effects he described as "from another world, from the future, from a place we don't know."
Spencer's additions include fiddle, mandolin and guitars from longtime Downie friend and collaborator Travis Good of the Sadies, along with live drums from Bathouse overseer Dave "Billy Ray" Koster and Lou Downie, Gord's son. The original artwork for Away Is Mine, seen above, comes courtesy of Gord's daughters, Clare and Willo Downie.
Away Is Mine was completed months before Downie's passing on October 17, 2017, following a battle with glioblastoma.
"This won't be his last release, but these are the final 10 songs Gord sang before he passed away. The last time he ever sang into a mic," Finlayson and brother Patrick Downie wrote in a joint statement. "That's pretty special to us."
Away Is Mine will arrive as a double album, featuring electric and acoustic versions of the 10-song set. Finlayson, who requested the stripped-back version "purely for selfish reasons," explained that "they are the same record, just different mixes."
The first two songs from Away Is Mine, "Hotel Worth" and "Useless Nights," arrive alongside the news today, and can be heard here or down below. The album will see release in 2-LP, 2-CD and digital formats.
Away Is Mine follows Downie's 2017 solo effort Introduce Yerself, which arrived posthumously after being announced in September of that year.
Read Exclaim!'s Essential Guide to the Tragically Hip.
Away Is Mine:
1. Hotel Worth
2. Useless Nights
3. I Am Lost
4. About Blank
5. River Don't Care
6. The Least Impossible
7. Traffic Is Magic
8. Away Is Mine
9. No Solace
11. Hotel Worth (Acoustic)
12. Useless Nights (Acoustic)
13. I Am Lost (Acoustic)
14. About Blank (Acoustic)
15. River Don't Care (Acoustic)
16. The Least Impossible (Acoustic)
17. Traffic Is Magic (Acoustic)
18. Away Is Mine (Acoustic)
19. No Solace (Acoustic)
20. Untitled (Acoustic)
Pre-order Away Is Mine.