The poet laureate of Canadian Rock, as he was often called in life was never as befitting a name to someone as it was to Gord Downie. Musician, Poet, and Social Activist were just a few incarnations the Canadian icon lived over his 30 year career. Over the years those who drew deep affection to his music grew to love and admire his masterful command of the English language. In his art and poetry Gord Downie was able to zero in on what it meant to truly be Canadian.
Fast forward the narrative to October 2017 ,2 years into his terminal cancer battle and we have ” Introduce Yerself” a 23 song double album created as a farewell to family, friends and fans. With the help of Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew the album was recorded over two 4 day sessions in January 2016, and February of this year.
“Introduce Yerself” is a beautifully constructed and elaborate album, rich in subtlety and demanding of the listeners undivided attention. At its very core the tender and honest humanity found on each of the album’s 23 tracks , gives us insight into the life of a man most of us never knew personally but somehow did at the same time.
When listened to as a whole the entirety of the album plays like a short movie, 23 character vignettes of people and places that inspired him and affected him as a person. These stories take on a life of themselves on tracks such as “Bedtime”, where we find find reminiscing of putting his then infant kids to sleep. As time passes, it may be difficult to dissociate the tragic circumstances surrounding the record, but one thing it does leave with you is the impression of the strength and resiliency of the human spirit.