The Tragically Hip/Gord Downie: Song #9- Trick Rider

This is one post in a series. Each post will focus on one song by The Tragically Hip, a Canadian rock n’ roll band. I am a fan, not an expert. The thoughts expressed in these posts are my own, with the following two exceptions: I have drawn inspiration and knowledge from a book entitled, The Never Ending Present by Michael Barclay. I have, also, learned much from a website dedicated to Hip fans, entitled The Hip Museum. I will give credit to either source when applicable.

This is a bit of a cheat on my part because “Trick Rider” is not a Tragically Hip song. It came about as a result of a solo project by Gord Downie and was featured on an album called Coke Machine Glow. “Trick Rider” is a beautiful song that, for my money, is one of the best songs ever written about the emotion parents feel watching their children grow up. As mentioned in a previous post, Downie had entered a stage of his life where family became more important than ever and making a difference in the real world became his calling card as a performer. This song is quiet and slow and is what I would have wanted to write for my girls if I had even half of his writing chops.

Being a parent changes everything.

“I’ll be your friend, your last refuge
When things get weird and weird breaks huge
I’ll stroke your hair, I’ll dry your cheeks
When failures come and no one speaks.”

The video for this beautiful song can be found here.

For this album, Gord played with a backing band called The Country of Miracles. It is Julie Dorion’s lovely harmonies that you can hear in the background of this song as it plays. I think it is important to state that Gord Downie, like all of us, lived a multi-faceted life. He loved his family. He pursued his poetry. He immersed himself in Indigenous culture. He had friends beyond those four other guys in The Hip. These “other friends” were important to Downie’s sense of self, as well as, his creative impulses. It is a credit to everyone in The Hip that solo projects and collaborations with other musicians were welcomed as necessary for the self-actualization of all involved. Some fans worried that the fact that Gord was playing with a new band meant that his old band was being replaced. But, as “Trick Rider” shows so well, there is beauty and wonder all around us. The important thing is being open to joy that springs from new sources. We are all richer when we embrace the tapestry that is Life.

As always, I thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to read this post. Your comments regarding “Trick Rider”, Gord’s solo projects, the adventure that is parenting or your thoughts on collaboration, creativity and where we draw our inspiration from, are all welcome in the comment box below.

Thanks, Gord, for creating such a wonderful song. Fatherhood is awesome! 🙂

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

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