Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip have announced a surprise new album entitled Saskadelphia, consisting of six tracks originally written for the band’s 1991 record Road Apples.
Five of the tracks on Saskadelphia were recorded in 1990, with the last (Montreal) being recorded live in 2000. The original studio recording is thought to be lost forever
In 2017, the band’s frontman Gord Downie died at the age of 53. In 2018, the other members of the band (Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois, and Gord Sinclair) announced that they would be retiring. They were, however, reminded of the songs that would become Saskadelphia in 2019 when an article in The New York Times incorrectly stated that The Tragically Hip were among those that lost their recordings in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.
In a release accompanying the announcement entitled The Story Of Saskadelphia, the surviving band members spoke about how the ‘new’ album came to be. “We felt we must have lost something too,” explained drummer Johnny Fay, “so, we began asking questions and eventually found our boxes of two-inch tapes with no labels. It became like a forensic process, looking for the handwriting of engineers we had worked with, like Bruce Barris or Mark Vreeken.”
“We knew we had a lot to look for because we recorded a lot back then. We didn’t know what was there, so this meant baking them and listening to them as they were being transferred, hearing them for the first time in 30 years. It was crazy.”
Fay also explained the origin of the new record’s title. Saskadelphia, a portmanteau of the cities Philadelphia and Saskatoon, was rejected by the band’s American label for sounding “too Canadian,” Fay explained. “So we suggested Road Apples instead, which they loved because they didn’t understand the reference. We couldn’t get more Canadian than that and got laughs about it for years.” For those unfamiliar, ‘road apples’ is slang for the piles of horse manure that punctuate rural highways.
You can hear a preview of the record below. Saskadelphia will be released tomorrow (21 May), and can be preordered here.
Saskadelphia’s tracklist is below.
2. Not Necessary
3. Montreal (Live from The Molson Centre, Montreal, Dec 7th, 2000)
4. Crack My Spine Like a Whip
5. Just as Well
6. Reformed Baptist Blue