Hip contest winner realizes a teenage dream
Few artists have been able to capture the spirit of music as poetry set to a melody like Gord Downie. Over a 30-year career built and maintained on the frigid (freezing by many accounts) landscape of the Canadian music scene, Downie has established himself as one of the country’s most influential artists of all time.
More than the effervescent frontman for Canada’s in-house band, Downie’s pastoral and esoteric poems have earned the five-piece outfit an admiration that is almost familial. On the profundity of Downie’s lines, the Hip’s collection has indiscriminately become the soundtrack to the lives of millions in the northland.
That’s likely why, when the 52-year-old announced earlier this summer he was suffering from Glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain cancer that affects only three in 100,000 Canadians– a proverbial tear rolled down the cheek of this nation.
True to form, Downie and the Hip were quick to lend a hand to distraught fans. And give them a reason to rejoice. The band, which can credit much of its success to crisscrossing Canada more times than a Greyhound bus, announced they would embark on one more run – a 15-date tour set to reach a crescendo in the band’s hometown of Kingston, ON, August 21.
Last night at the Hip’s penultimate concert in Ottawa, the winner of our latest Strain Name Game had the chance to realize a teenage dream. Cheryl Snelleman, who has been a fan for over 20 years, says the show was an energizing and uplifting experience that, similar to Downie’s songs, struck a balance between the artistic and the spiritual.
“You could just tell that everybody knew that this was not only a final tour, but a goodbye and a thank you,” she says. “And you could really tell on Gord’s face – he addressed the fans and you could see in his eyes that he knew this was it, and he really did appreciate everybody that was there. It was absolutely amazing.”
Snelleman entered the contest in earnest at Tweed’s Front Yard Shindig last weekend, where she picked the perfect fit for a Hip strain name. At what was her daughter Chloe’s first concert, a show headlined by The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Snelleman suggested “Corduroy Road,” a deep and dusty reference from the Hip’s 1992 hit At The Hundredth Meridian.
"I went through one of my favourite songs and tried to find a note that meant something to me,” Snelleman says. “After I found out more about what a corduroy road was, it felt even more accurate for what Tweed is doing – helping people through difficult times."
Here’s to Future Growth!
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