Listening for the Small Moments and Subtleties in Gord Downie’s Introduce Yerself

I’m sure many people spent the weekend with Gord Downie’s Introduce Yerself, looking for clues into Gord’s headspace when he wrote these songs. What was he feeling? Who was he talking to? What was going through his mind?

There are a few reasonably obvious answers. “Talkin’ About the B’s” speaks of discussing the Boston Bruins with his brother Mike. “The North” is unmistakably about reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples. “The Lake” is a love song dedicated to Lake Ontario.

Amber Healey of sister site Geeks&Beats goes a little deeper.

In its review of the album, the Toronto Star warns that “Introduce Yerself” will haunt listeners. But there are moments of playfulness here too, moments of humour that need to be acknowledged, even if that humour is tinged with the loss of a memory and brain that lifted and carried the stories of a nation for so many years.

The song’s title track has Downie talking about getting a tattoo on his hand to remind himself, and maybe others, to make introductions. Remember his interview with Peter Mansbridge, airing in summer 2016 between the close of the Man Machine Poem tour and the surprise of “Secret Path.”

Downie used to be known for his remarkable memory, “and now I can’t remember hardly anything. I have ‘Peter’ written on my hand. I have a few things written on my hands. And I say that just to be up front, because I might call you Doug,” he said at the time.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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