Gordon Edgar Downie (born 6 February 1964) is a Canadian rock musician, writer, and occasional actor. He is the lead singer and lyricist for the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. He has released three solo albums: Coke Machine Glow in 2001, Battle of the Nudes in 2003, and The Grand Bounce in 2010. On each of these, he was backed by The Country of Miracles;The Grand Bounce is credited to "Gord Downie and The Country of Miracles".
Gordon Downie (known widely as Gord Downie) grew up in a suburb of Kingston, Ontario, where he befriended the musicians that would become The Tragically Hip while attending the downtown Kingston high school, Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Gordon Downie formed The Tragically Hip with Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Davis Manning, and Gord Sinclair in 1983. Saxophone player Davis Manning left the band and guitarist Paul Langlois joined in 1986. Originally, the band started off playing cover songs in bars and quickly became famous once MCA Records president, Bruce Dickinson, saw them performing at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto and offered them a record deal. This much-loved Canadian band has won over many fans through the incorporation of Downie's stories and myths about life in Canada in his songs, and his wild antics and rantings on stage. In 2001, Downie diverted from the band and started his solo career with the release of his album Coke Machine Glow. Along with this release he published his first poetry and prose book named after his solo album. He went on to create a second solo album, Battle of the Nudes in 2003. After making three more albums with The Tragically Hip, made The Grand Bounce in 2010, which is credited to Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles. The Country of Miracles have backed Downie for each of his solo albums, but this is the first album to be credited this way. This is also the first album to have Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla involved in the production.
Gordon Downie has collaborated with fellow Canadian and international artists. His most famous Canadian collaborations are with Richard Terfry (better known as Buck 65), Dallas Green of City and Colour, and The Sadies. These collaborations do not include the musicians who have helped Gordon Downie to create his solo albums.
Richard Terfry collaborated with Gordon Downie on the song Whispers of the Waves off the album 20 Odd Years. Richard composed the track and with the help of Charles Austen, his co-writer, decided Gordon's vocals would be the best fit for their song.
In his solo project City and Colour, Dallas Green had Gordon Downie sing on the track Sleeping Sickness off City and Colour's hit album Bring Me Your Love. The album debuted at number 11 of the Top Heatseekers chart in March 2008.
Gordon has begun a new project with The Sadies, a Toronto band most noted for their 2010 Polaris Music Prize nomination. Gordon commented on working with the Sadies, saying, "I enjoy getting together with those guys; it's a whole other universe. They're writing all the music and I'm writing all the lyrics and we're coming up with some neat stuff. You do it for the company but I'm genuinely shocked by the themes and things you touch based on the music you're singing to. That's really compelling to me." He also says they are planning on creating ten songs together.
In other media:
Downie has cameo appearances in Men with Brooms, in which The Tragically Hip play a curling team. Downie also made a cameo appearance in the 2008 indie drama Nothing Really Matters, directed by Jean-Marc Piché. Downie also appears in the Trailer Park Boys movie The Big Dirty, in which he and Alex Lifeson play a pair of police officers. More recently, he and other members of the band can be seen in the final episode of Trailer Park Boys, entitled "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys", in which he is harassed while eating a bologna sandwich at a singles dance. Downie is also featured in the sitcom Corner Gas in the episode "Rock On!" in which The Tragically Hip are shown as a local band practising in the main character's garage.Colin James is also featured in the same episode. Most recently, Downie appeared in Michael McGowan's film, One Week'."
Downie is heavily involved in environmental movements, especially issues concerning water rights. He is board member of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Although his work may be considered environmentalism, he does not consider himself an environmentalist, but, rather, a "free market capitalist." With Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Downie helped work on a cause to prevent a cement company from burning tires for fuel. He was also a part of the Swim Drink Fish Music club, a project that unites artists and environmentalists in a music club to raise money for Waterkeeper organizations in Canada.
The Great Moon Gathering:
In February 2012 in Fort Albany, Downie, with The Tragically Hip, played at the Great Moon Gathering, a yearly educational conference that takes place in various communities along Northern Ontario's James Bay coast. Its focus is on youth learning and combining Cree education with the contemporary world. The venue was small and not typical of the band. Author Joseph Boyden, who invited them, said their motivation was to "initiate a guerrilla act of love for a people who are so thoroughly underrepresented but now, somehow, overexposed for only their shortcomings. A guerrilla act of love to show the rest of the country what strength and artistry, grace and humour the Cree possess." In addition to the Tragically Hip's performance, Downie sang a song with a local band, Northern Revolution. The song "Goodnight Attawapiskat" from the album "Now For Plan A" was a result of this trip.
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