Still digging after all these years

Karla Hayward
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The Skydiggers, formed by Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize a quarter of a century ago, will perform in St. John’s at The Rocket Room on Nov. 16-17.— Submitted photo

The Skydiggers are one of those bands whose music you know even if you think you don’t. (At least, if you’re a Canadian born before 1980 or so.)

If someone were to play “I Will Give You Everything,” one of their most famous tunes, it’s likely you’d be singing right along with the chorus.

Of course, that song was released in 1990, so the band has created a lot of music since then. They’ve changed a lot too. Band members have come and gone, but the two originals remain.

Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize have been playing for about 25 years, and this weekend they’ll be doing just that in an acoustic show at The Rocket Room, with special guest Ian Foster.

The Rocket Room is part of Rocket Bakery and Fresh Foods on Water Street.

Think it’s odd for a bakery to host live music?

Kelly Mansell, one of the owners explains, “When we started Rocket, incorporating as much music into the business as possible was a priority. … So, every Tuesday at lunch, we have Stan Pickett and his Rocket Players playing traditional tunes, we offer up-and-comers the opportunity to play the Orbit Room (our ground floor space) in the evenings and we’re happy that the word is spreading amongst musicians about the Rocket Room as a great acoustic venue. The fact that the Rocket Room shows are all ages is a definite plus, too.”

Mansell and co-owner Mark McGann have a personal connection to the Skydiggers, as McGann and Finlayson played rec hockey together in Toronto.

“We’re really excited about Andy and Josh playing at Rocket next weekend; the space and their sound will make for an awesome show,” says Mansell.

Just Finlayson and Maize have made the journey to Newfoundland, without the full band.

“We started as a duo, Andy and I, so for us it’s a lot of fun. Often, intimate venues are a great way to connect with the audience, but you also get to perform songs as they’re written, so you really get to see if it works or not.”

In addition to some fan favorites, the duo will be performing tracks from their new album, “Northern Shore,” which was recorded partly at Finlayson’s home studio, as well as Blue Rodeo’s The Woodshed, and the Tragically Hip’s The Bathhouse. Finlayson says,

“This album is a departure sonically. It’s very rich. I think it’s the best sounding album we’ve made. Harmonically and sonically, we did something great here. Something we can be proud of.”

He credits producer Saam Hashemi as a significant reason why this album came out the way it did.

“It was a real change. It was the first time we’ve ever worked with a producer from start to finish.”

“Northern Shore” is a lovely album. Somehow the band has managed to create truly fresh-sounding music despite having played together for more than 20 years. Quite a feat, that.

Check it out for yourself, Nov. 16 and 17 at The Rocket Room, 272 Water St. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door.

Organizations: Fresh Foods on Water Street.Think, Tragically Hip

Geographic location: Northern Shore, Toronto, Newfoundland Water St. Doors

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