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A Beautiful Thing

Are You Ready

I sit here writing and watching/listening to The Tragically Hip’s final concert, and I can’t help but feel the tears building up. I’m not usually one to write outpourings of sentiment over things like this – that’s just the way that I am. However, in this instance I thought I would contribute to the online collective of Gordery by talking about some of my favourite Hip moments.

Bring It All Back

Music to me is special. In a recent conversation with a good friend of mine, we talked about how we remember music. Some are struck by a tune and need to know everything about it – lyrics and all – while others are much more astute followers of the bands themselves, and know far more trivia about the musicians than I can even fathom (although, to be fair, if I know the musicians, I have the pleasure of having my own personal trivia tucked away in my back pocket).

I don’t know a lot about different bands, and I struggle to remember the lyrics to most of the songs that I know. For me, music syncs with my consciousness on a primal level – with songs being associated with unique moments in my life. I have to say that there are a lot of Hip songs that are tied to cool moments in my history, mostly because I was introduced to them in University and I kept discovering new things about them for many years after. There are too many of these pairings to list here, but there are two that deserve special mention.

Little Bones

Little Bones is one of the first songs that I ever played on an electric guitar and amplifier. It sounded horrible, I’m sure, but I would keep practicing (much to the chagrin of everyone around me). Hip songs aren’t really too difficult to learn, but there is definitely a beauty in their simplicity. Structurally complicated songs are neat to listen to, but when it comes to bringing people together around a campfire, you can bet that a simpler song goes a lot farther.

New Orleans Is Sinking

I’m sure a lot you are rolling your eyes at this being on the list, given how much radio play it got – but that’s precisely why it made this list.

It was a hot summer’s day, and I was driving home from work (I used to live in Acton, but would drive to East Toronto for my job), and there was a bad accident on the 401 west of where I was. It was so bad that traffic was at a complete standstill. People were getting agitated and began exiting their cars, yelling ahead and swearing at no one in particular. It was definitely not a good scene.

I shut off my car (except for the radio, which was tuned to a radio station that happened to be playing New Orleans Is Sinking – and I had it cranked), and as I opened my door, a guy next to me was doing the same thing and guess what he was listening to? You got it. He was tuned to the exact same radio station!

In that moment, everyone around us stopped shouting, and someone yelled out to us to ask what station we had our radios turned to. In less than a minute, everyone around us turned up their radios that they had tuned to the same station and we had an impromptu jam right there on the 401. It was a pretty epic moment.

The Dark Canuck

And so, as the Hip play their final concert for all of Canada, I can’t help but feel a little wistful at this Canadian powerhouse’s swan song, and I’m glad that they are a part of my musical psyche. Thanks, boys!


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