Gord Downie’s widow Kaya Usher releases her first music with her Family Band


Gord Downie’s widow Kaya Usher releases Heart Clicks, the first single from the upcoming album.Handout

Over 15 years after Gord Downie wrote the lyrics for the song Family group, the dream has finally come true. Downie’s widow Kaya Usher just released the single Love clicks, credited to Kaya Usher and the Family Band. The new song and the next album All this is also present two of the couple’s four children.

“When the kids were younger we would always talk about when it was time to throw a drums in a station wagon and have some family fun,” Usher, 54, told The Globe and Mail. “It’s been four years since Gord passed. There has been a lot of healing since that time, and a lot of healing actually that took place during the making of the record. “

Plus there is a lot of healing in the record, according to Usher, an avid meditation enthusiast and proponent of self-discovery. She says the album is “imbued with high frequency levels” or sound vibrations, aimed at inducing tranquility and promoting emotional reset.

“Music is one of the closest and most effective ways of expressing a beautiful high frequency,” says Usher, who some time ago changed her name from Laura to Kaya (which can mean “restful place” among others). “With some music, you feel really clean after listening to it.”

Scheduled for release November 17 on the Arts & Crafts label, the album features the lively single along with shimmering mantras, ambient exhalations and holistic overtones, all written and recorded at the Tragically Hip’s Bathouse Recording Studio in Bath, Ont. It was produced by studio director and engineer Nyles Spencer and Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, who produced the 2016 album Tragically Hip. Man Machine Poem and collaborated on Downie’s solo albums Secret path and the posthumous Introduce yourself.

Drew and Usher first met in 2013 through Downie, who would die of brain cancer glioblastoma at the age of 53 in 2017. “We have a great friendship and I am one. grateful, ”says Drew.

A few years ago, Usher had the idea to shoot one of his poems, Thunder clap, in a song. Last February, she and Drew finally started working on it at the Bathouse. “Before we knew it, we had all of these songs in a few days, including Thunderclap,Usher recalls.

There had been little preparation for the sessions. Drew’s idea was to simply configure Usher with sounds. “I had heard Kaya sing before, but never in the studio,” says Drew. “But when I heard her singing into the microphone, I was like, ‘Okay, we’re singing, we’re doing songs.'”

In addition to vocals, Usher played classical guitar, organ, pocket piano, and harmonicas (which Downie had given him before his death). His son Lou is present on keyboards and drums; his daughter Willo added vocal harmonies.

“We were making music together and our house was full of instruments,” Usher says, of her late husband. “We loved words, we loved poetry, we loved art. Every part of our life has been written through the eyes of an artist.

Married to one of the country’s most prominent rock stars, Usher has preserved her privacy herself. She only became part of the public debate when her husband revealed that many lyrics from the 2012 album Tragically Hip Now for plan A were written in response to her battle with breast cancer.

“I think that’s the only time he’s really talked about me,” Usher says, referring to Downie’s TV interview with CBC’s Wendy Mesley. “I enjoyed it. I knew why he was doing this. It wasn’t for any other reason than to be helpful.

The two had met when a Hip tour brought Downie and the nascent Tragically Hip to London, Ont, where Usher, from the Ottawa Valley, was a 20-year-old student at the University of Western Ontario. . They eventually married and raised two daughters and two sons in Toronto. (Prior to Downie’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, the couple had separated but would remain close.)

“No matter what stage we are at in our life, our children have always been the most important goal,” Usher says. “Gord was an incredibly protective father, very patient and kind to his children. “

With Downie on the road as a touring musician, Usher looked after his offspring. ” I will tell him. “I have this, you do that, and maybe one day we can all go together.” “

If Downie is not a participant in the project finally realized, he is an inspiration, whether it is through the song Pious Family group – “I will involve all the children” – or in spirit.

“I think if Gord was here he’d be really happy if we were going to do this,” Usher says. “It’s something we’ve seen through, even without him.”

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