Gord Downie released the posthumous double album Away Is Mine last Friday, on the eve of the third anniversary of his passing. The final songs that The Tragically Hip frontman would record, Away Is Mine highlights Gord’s poetic mastery at its most bare and personal, with vibrant, haunting production that casts each song in otherworldly light.
Today, Downie shares the music video for “River Don’t Care,” a centrepiece of the album that pits the iconic writer against the impermanence of his words, through which he confronts that the river of time “don’t care” what any of us “write for it” or “cast into it.” By Toronto based artist Alex Macleod, the animated video features exotic fauna and coral life overgrowing a Life-Aquatic-meets-Schitt’s-Creek stylized hotel room.
Steered to life by “my oldest Toronto friend,” guitarist and co-writer Josh Finlayson, Downie recorded the album in July 2017 at The Tragically Hip’s studio in Bath, Ontario, mere months before he passed on October 17th that year. The two-disc set features Downie’s last ten songs, each presented in electric and acoustic versions. Away Is Mine is out now in deluxe limited edition 2LP, 2CD, and digital formats via Arts & Crafts.
“This won’t be his last release, but these are the final ten songs Gord sang before he passed away. The last time he ever sang into a mic,” brother Patrick Downie wrote in a statement.
A characteristically questing and idiosyncratic work that holds fast to its author’s unwavering artistic spirit, Away Is Mine is a contemplation on Gord’s life, written with his deft hand and forever inscrutable sense of humour even as he locked eyes with the Great Inevitability. As autobiographical as it is collaborative, Away Is Mine is a document of an artist disappearing into his art, essentially becoming his art through that process.
Like all of the music and the poetry and the memories and the mad genius Gord gave us during his 53 years on our planet, Away Is Mine is immortal. And yet it took a fearless reckoning with his own mortality to get us here.
“We feel so blessed for this opportunity. Simply described as gratitude. Grateful for another gift from Gord. A gift that has been our beautiful companion and an unintended source of solace in the face of life without him,” Josh and Patrick share. “May it lift you up and carry you onwards and upwards always and forever.
Away Is Mine. Away Is Yers.”