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To tell the story of Skydiggers is to tell the story of a thriving musical collaboration that was born in friendship and has abided with trust. Over the course of 15 studio albums and countless miles on the road, Skydiggers have grown from enthusiastic youngsters into husbands, fathers, and mentors. And while band members have changed over the decades, Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize remain its beating heart. With new collaborators bringing their unique musical histories into the circle, the sound of Skydiggers continues to evolve.
Their newest work, Hide Your Light, Bide Your Time, was recorded over a three-month span in 2022 at Baker Studios in Saanich, British Columbia. To be released as two six song collections on Latent Recordings, Hide Your Light will launch on June 9, 2023 and Bide Your Time is slated for October 13, 2023.
The band’s early anthems about the uncertainties of youth are now joined by songs that wear the badges of lives lived and journeys traveled. Skydiggers music shares the stories of our losses, reminds us of our dreams, and paints an optimistic picture of the world the way we wish it could be.
Roots, Country, Rock, Jazz, Folk, and even Latin leanings are all part of the musical alchemy of Hide Your Light, Bide Your Time. “Recording on Vancouver Island was a chance to isolate from some of the world’s concerns and just focus on creating again”, Andy explains. “I think the record went to a different place musically than if we just converged in a studio down the street.” Whatever the style, the music forms a solid foundation for the enduring honesty of the songwriting voices of Maize and Finlayson.
“Music is best created in an environment of trust”, shares Josh. “Joby Baker produced Andy’s solo album, so we came to the studio with a personal connection and faith in his vision. Joby knows what it is we do and with that foundation, he was able to help us reach what we hope is an even higher level. Working with Joby also allowed us to reconnect with some of the West Coast musicians we’ve been privileged to collaborate with over the years.”
The contributions of multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Joby Baker, the fiddle and trumpet virtuosity of Pender Island’s Daniel Lapp, and the string arrangements of Victoria’s Richard Moody, all play a part in the lush tapestry on Skydiggers most ambitious album in their already accomplished career.
A career that began with a friendship between Josh and Andy in the halls of a Toronto school grew into a musical partnership in the 1980’s under the tutelage of Andrew Cash’s Acoustic Meltdown held in the Beverage Room of the Spadina Hotel. It was a time of possibility. It was a time of community.
“Whether it was Cowboy Junkies, the Hi Fi’s or L’Etranger, it was a time when, on any given night, in any venue in downtown Toronto’s west end, you could hear performers who would go on to become icons”, remembers Andy. “As we were finding out what kind of band we would become, we were able to learn from the things they were doing.”
When Andrew’s brother Peter Cash teamed up with Josh and Andy, the chemistry was electric. Ron Macey (bass) and Wayne Stokes (drums) kept the time and Skydiggers was born. Their combined voices and talents produced a new sound, one completely original that drew in audiences, including many of the very artists they were inspired by. From its earliest incarnation, a Skydiggers show meant a chance to connect with friends, to dance and sing along.
Their new album continues this tradition and is a captivating collection showcasing Skydiggers’ ability to weave rich narratives around complex characters navigating complicated times. From the bittersweet nostalgia of “My City Is Gone” to the sublime vocal interplay between Josh and long-time collaborator Jessy Bell Smith on the title track, and the poignant remembrance of those who passed too soon in “A Wednesday,” this EP is a celebration of life, community, and connection.
“These songs carry a common mood that was somewhere between wistful and contemplative”, Andy explains. “The architecture of these stories allowed us to draw on our musical influences and immerse our listeners into each song’s time and place.”
“Hide Your Light is filled with songs about love, loss, hope and the need to make this world, our world, a better place”, Andy shares. Though these new songs veer from the traditional roots of their folk-rock beginnings, the sound and spirit of the music is distinctly Skydiggers – music made by friends, for friends.