The picture of the grain elevator on the album art drew me in and the nine tracks of Skydiggers’s new album No.1 Northern did not disappoint.
I had never heard of Skydiggers before, but their latest album celebrates 25 years together and pays tribute to great Canadian songwriters like Ron Sexsmith, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. A roots rock band from Toronto founded in the 1980s, the band has lived through a number of different influences on their music, including the coming and going of certain band members.
My favourite song was “Snowbird” because of the lovely guitar melody, which reminded me strongly of Ian Tyson.
“Precious Time” was my least favourite song on the album, but it does have a good message. “Just My Heart Talkin’ ” was another favourite because of its seductive yet somber tone.
“Red Deer to Margaree” was fun and made me feel proud of our Canadian geography — Margaree is on Cape Breton Island, I had to look it up — and the song is quite catchy.
Overall, the sound was a mix of folk, country and a hint of rock, with a modern touch.
The songwriting was excellent and the album was never repetitive — unlike the formulaic songs often found on the radio today. The album was very cohesive, offering a beautifully arranged experience.
No.1 Northern is the second release this year for the band’s 25th anniversary, following Northern Shore — a four-disc compilation, including 25 news songs and 20 of the band’s early demos and previously unreleased tracks.
After listening to the album, I’m interested in seeing what else the band has done during their 25-year history.