Single Release: Skydiggers Share a Pair of New Covers


Following the release of their well-received “Let’s Get Friendship Right” album last Fall, the popular Toronto-based roots rockers, Skydiggers, return to the spotlight today to share their first new music for 2020.  Having already launched a new music video just a couple of weeks ago for their rendition of “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?” – one of the best-known American songs synonymous with the Great Depression – co-founders Andy Maize and Josh Finlayson formally release this cover as a single today.

Popularized by the legendary Bing Crosby, this track was written and composed by Yip Harburg and Jay Gorney in 1932, and accurately depicts how the pursuit of the American dream was devastated by the historic economic collapse during that time.  “A couple of years ago we were asked by artistic director Andrew Burashko of the Art of Time Ensemble to participate in a concert with the theme being protest music,” Josh recalls. “Andrew asked us to perform the depression era tune, Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?  It was a challenge we really enjoyed.  Typically, we don’t learn tunes by request, so this was a unique and different experience for us.”

Experimenting with the song since the idea was pitched to them, the duo eventually determined how they wanted to interpret the historic significance of this track, opting for a soft, low-key affair.  “Once in khaki suits, ah gee we looked swell / Full of that yankee doodly dum / Half a million boots went sloggin’ through hell / And I was the kid with the drum.

Recorded and mixed by multi-instrumentalist Aaron Comeau at his east end Toronto studio, The Trailer, Maize would take on the lead vocals, with Finlayson on baritone ukulele, and Comeau adding his touches on bass, mandolin and clarinet.  “The video … was a collaboration with filmmaker Tim Thompson … who found footage from Our Daily Bread, a public domain film set in the Great Depression, directed by King Vidor in 1934, and set our version of the song to our scenes from the film,” they share.  “The message of community pulling together in tough times really resonated with us and seemed perfectly apt as we search for a ‘new normal’.”

“But wait, there’s more!”  Ah, you heard it right – those four words that provide a euphoric fix for many late night cable network infomercial junkies – as the pivotal ‘deal-maker’ is presented.  And while we remain advertisement-free here at GDW (no infomercials anytime soon), we really do want to jump for joy and shout out, “But wait, there’s more!” right now.  That’s right, Skydiggers are not only releasing one single today, but are doubling the offer and giving you two, yes two, brand new tracks to enjoy.  “We recorded a number of cover tunes on spec with our friend and frequent collaborator Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies/Jerry Leger) at the controls for an unrealized film project,” Maize offers. “And now we’ve got Jessy Bell Smith’s fabulous vocal performance of Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy, a top-down, wind in your hair, hit the road summer anthem.”

Originally written and recorded by Montreal, QC artist Michel Pagliaro, this 2020 cover of his radio-friendly 1971 popular hit tune is delivered in true Skydiggers fashion, bursting with upbeat positivity and wrapped in their signature ‘vintage’ sounds.  Recorded by Timmins at The Hangar in Toronto, and mixed by engineer Saam Hashemi (Tomi Swick/Michael Kaeshammer), Maize is only too happy to yield the lead vocal duties to his good friend and bandmate Jessy Bell Smith.  “Hitch any ride you want to / Do anything you wanna do / Just keep ridin’ your way,” recites Smith, backed by Finlayson (acoustic/electric guitars), Derrick Brady (bass), Jeff Heisholt (piano/B3 organ), and Noel Webb (drums).  “Take anyone you want to / Long as I can hear from you / Just be mine in your way.” 

Skydiggers Singles

“But wait, there’s more!”  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t keep teasing those infomercial junkies with that announcement, but while 2020 is proving to be a year many of us would already like to forget, for Skydiggers, this happens to be a pretty monumental one.  2020 marks the 30th anniversary of their debut self-titled album release, and to celebrate this milestone, the band are now offering this groundbreaking album for the first time on vinyl from their website:

You can find these new 2020 tunes here:

Photo Credit:  Heather Pollock

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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