Skydiggers

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Skydiggers
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Roots rock
Years active 1987 (1987)–present
Labels Enigma, FRE, DROG
Associated acts Finlayson/Maize, The Cash Brothers
Website skydiggers.com
Members Andy Maize
Josh Finlayson
Ron Macey
Michael Johnston
Noel Webb
Past members Wayne Stokes
Mike Sloski
Steve Pitken
Joel Anderson
Peter Cash
Peter von Althen
Paul MacLeod

Skydiggers are a Canadian roots rock band from Toronto.

Biography[edit]

The band was originally formed by singer Andy Maize, previously of Direktive 17, and lead guitarist Josh Finlayson, formerly of The Ramblers, as a duo called West Montrose. The band later added rhythm guitarist Peter Cash, drummer Wayne Stokes and bassist Ron Macey to their lineup after becoming regular performers at Acoustic Meltdown, a weekly concert series at Toronto's Spadina Hotel organized by Cash's brother, singer-songwriter Andrew Cash.[1] The expanded line up settled on the name Skydiggers, a name which Andrew Cash had previously considered for his own band.[1]

In 1989, the band became the first Canadian signing to Enigma Records. Their self-titled debut album was released on Enigma the following year, and spawned the singles "Monday Morning" and "I Will Give You Everything". However, the label soon went bankrupt, and the album was never properly promoted.

Some of Enigma's Canadian staff created FRE Records in 1992, and released the band's second (and most popular) album, Restless, that year. At the same time, Stokes left the band. Drummers Mike Sloski and Steve Pitkin filled in on drums until the band recruited Joel Anderson as its new permanent drummer. "A Penny More", the lead single from Restless, became the band's biggest hit, produced by John Oliveira and the band at Hamilton's Grant Avenue Studios.

Capitol Records, the distributor for both Enigma and FRE, also rereleased the band's debut album that year.

In 1993, the band's third album, Just Over This Mountain, was released, and consolidated the band's status by winning a number of music awards, including the Juno Award for Most Promising Group. Following that album, Anderson left the band and was replaced by Peter von Althen.

In 1995, the band signed to Warner Canada and released Road Radio. However, at this time, FRE went bankrupt, meaning that the band's earlier albums were no longer widely available. After the tour to support that album, Cash left the band. He was replaced by Paul MacLeod. The band subsequently left Warner, after which von Althen also left the band.

Since the band's sound had largely been defined by Maize and Cash's vocal harmonies, the band revised their sound somewhat for 1997's Desmond's Hip City, released on DROG Records. The title track had an almost trip-hop feel, and some other songs (notably "November in Ontario" and "The Shape of Things to Come") were closer to hard rock than anything the band had previously recorded.

In 1999, the band made an unusual move. With Restless, their most popular album, still unavailable in stores due to legal uncertainties around FRE's bankruptcy, they decided that their next studio project would be to assemble a new version of that album using old rehearsal recordings. Still Restless: The Lost Tapes was released that year.

In 2000, the band released the live album There and Back Again, followed in 2003 by Bittersweet Harmony.

In 2006 they teamed up with The Cash Brothers (former Skydigger Peter Cash and his brother Andrew) to release, Skydiggers/Cash Brothers, an acoustic album. In 2008 they released City of Sirens, followed by the compilation The Truth About Us in 2009, and in 2012 they released Northern Shore.

In 2013, the band released No. 1 Northern, an album of cover versions of songs by Canadian songwriters, including Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Ron Sexsmith, Gene MacLellan, Linda McRae, Charlie Angus and Andrew Cash.[2]

The band also launched MapleMusic Recordings as a label and a web commerce portal to promote Canadian independent music.

Finlayson/Maize[edit]

Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize of the Skydiggers and have collaborated on a side project of their own named Finlayson/Maize. The duo released their album Dark Hollow under the project name.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album CAN
1990 Skydiggers
1992 Restless 34
1993 Just Over This Mountain 42
1995 Road Radio 47
1997 Desmond's Hip City
1999 Still Restless: The Lost Tapes
2000 There and Back
2003 Bittersweet Harmony
2006 Skydiggers/Cash Brothers
2008 City of Sirens
2009 The Truth About Us: A Twenty Year Retrospective
2012 Northern Shore
2013 All of Our Dreaming
2013 No. 1 Northern
2013 She Comes Into the Room
2013 Angels

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions Album
CAN AC CAN
1990 "Monday Morning" 83 Skydiggers
"I Will Give You Everything" 24 38
"We Don't Talk Much Anymore"
1991 "Maybe It's Just Not Good Enough"
1992 "A Penny More" 27 36 Restless
"Feel You Closer"
1993 "Just Over This Mountain" Just Over This Mountain
"I'm Wondering"
1994 "80 Odd Hours"
1995 "What Do You See?" 22 Road Radio
1996 "It's a Pity"
"You've Got a Lot of Nerve"
1998 "Dear Henry" Desmond's Hip City
2003 "Anything for You" Bittersweet Harmony

Non-album tracks[edit]

  • "One Day I Walk" (Kick at the Darkness, 1991)
  • "Mr. Soul" (Borrowed Tunes: A Tribute to Neil Young, 1994)
  • "St. Dunstan's One Request" (Pine Ridge: An Open Letter To Allan Rock/Songs For Leonard Peltier, 1996)
  • "All of Our Dreaming" ("Shape of Things to Come" CD single, 1997)
  • "Mini-Bar Superstar" ("Shape of Things to Come" CD single, 1997)
  • "When You're Down" (Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, 2012)

References[edit]

External links[edit]