Joined At The Hip: Podcast Explores The Legacy Of The Late, Great Gord Downie In “Discovering Downie”

You probably know Gord Downie as the greatly missed frontman of Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip. You may even know that he, along with his bandmates, was made a member of the Order of Canada before his untimely passing from cancer in 2017. But did you know that he also enjoyed a prolific parallel career as a solo artist that continues to this day via posthumous releases?

Jamie “jD” Dew knows. But he’s well aware that not everyone else is quite so clued in. That’s why the Toronto-based superfan has launched a new podcast, Discovering Downie, that’s devoted exclusively to examining its namesake’s lesser-known but still vital output under his own name. And just so less obsessive members of the listening audience don’t feel alienated or intimidated, jD is bringing along three co-hosts who consider themselves big Hip fans as well, yet who are still relatively unschooled in Downie’s solo work. Every episode, Langley, BC’s Craig Rogers, Vermonter Justin St. Louis and Californian Kirk Lane will join jD for a deep dive into the great man’s eight so far solo albums, sharing the thrill of discovery—or in jD’s case, rediscovery—of a creative spirit it took more than one recording contract to exercise. You can check it out at Apple or Spotify.

“The mission of this podcast is to highlight and showcase the solo works of Gord Downie to a cohort of fans that might not be as familiar with it,” jD says. “I put out a call for giant fans of The Tragically Hip who weren’t familiar with Gord’s solo discography, and I had several people reach out. Ultimately, I went with Craig, Justin and Kirk because I thought they each brought something unique to the table.”

You couldn’t ask for a more qualified, complementary bunch. Rogers is an accomplished guitarist/saxophonist who earned degrees in music and education and performed extensively with original bands before joining Tragically Hip tribute outfit Gift Shop. St. Louis is a lifelong devotee of Canadian culture and such a fervent disciple of The Hip that he mentioned them in his wedding vows. And the multifaceted Lane balances his day job as an event technology producer with gigs as a club musician and sometime stage actor. Living in a market where the group were largely unknown, he got to see them in an intimate club setting multiple times, after being brought into the fold by Canadian friends he worked and played hockey with.

“My hope for Discovering Downie is to share the brilliance of Gord’s solo work to the broader community of Hip fans,” says co-host Rogers. “Together, let’s explore the depth of his solo albums by exchanging stories and experiences, enriching our appreciation for his profound artistry.”

The new show builds on jD’s work hosting the 2023 podcast Getting Hip to The Hip, on which he introduced the band to novice listeners Pete Marchica from Malaga, Spain and Tim Lyden (of Portland, Oregon)—neither of whom had even heard of the group before. Five years precious, jD had created the seminal Hip podcast Fully & Completely, which reached the Top 10 on the Apple podcast charts, racked up over 150,000 downloads and inspired a Facebook fan group with nearly 2,000 members.

Discovering Downie will last for 11 episodes. And as with Getting Hip to The Hip before it, its run will include a live show. This one’s set for 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the Rec Room, 255 Bremner Blvd., Toronto. Appropriately enough, all proceeds from the event will go to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. As Downie himself once sang, “Come on, just let’s go.”