We learned last month that Gord Downie, lyricist and singer of Canadian band The Tragically Hip, has terminal brain cancer. And that they were going on tour so he can go out on his own terms, one last hurrah and a final "fuck you" to his illness and to Fate.
You can argue about the "best" or "greatest" Canadian band of all time; you can try to compare the virtuosity of Rush with the universal acclaim of a The Guess Who, the endurance of a Neil Young, the critical acclaim of an Arcade Fire or a Sloan, the public adulation of an April Wine, or you can go sarcastic and say Nickleback.
You can even pretend her impact was as wide as Babes In Toyland's and Hole's and suggest Alanis Morissette, or you can try to "go roots" with Blue Rodeo, Ashley MacIsaac or one of the many legendary folks whose names still strike chords in villages but opted not to make their way to any of the major cities and are now close to being forgotten.
I'll put the Hip up there with Rush and probably be so-Canadian about it and call it a tie.
However way you rank it, there has never been a "more Canadian" band than the Hip, whose lyrics are almost all based on true Canadian stories, be they political (kidnappings and murders of provincial ministers such as Pierre Laporte, language laws in Sault-Ste-Marie), historical (war heroes, events in small towns, the Polytechnique massacre) or sports-related (the 1972 Summit Series, the disappearance and eventual death of Toronto Maple Leaf Bill Barilko).
There would have been two dozen songs I could have chosen to first feature them here, and yet I've chosen It Can't Be Nashville Every Night, because it's the only thing that comes to mind after the Montréal Canadiens traded their best home-grown (i.e. "team-drafted") player in 25 years, P.K. Subban, to the Nashville Predators for becoming-a-liability Team Canada member Shea Weber.
The video for the song was directed by Christopher Mills, who also has worked with the likes of Modest Mouse, The Dead Weather, Interpol, Buck 65, Broken Social Scene, Blue Rodeo, Metric, The Joy Formidable, Senses Fail, Tortoise, Ken Mode, Rush, Breaking Benjamin, Ra Ra Riot, Young Galaxy, Great Lake Swimmers, Mandy Moore and The Boomtang Boys: