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Cult of (the) Skydiggers

In the summer of 1990, a Toronto based group called Skydiggers (OK I had to edit this as they are not “The” Skydiggers, but it seems very difficult for me to change it in my mind so forgive me if “the” appears where it ought not to in the rest of the article) came out with an acoustic hit song called “I Will Give You Everything” when heavy metal was still the rage and rap and grunge were in their formative years. I first heard the song on Much Music (Canada’s MTV) as a black and white promotional video. I was smitten with it’s gorgeous harmonies and gritty lead vocal from singer Andy Maize. His goatee was pretty retro back then recalling the 1960’s beat nicks.

This band has gone through a lot of ups and downs since being founded in 1987 by Maize and guitarist Josh Findlayson. They have been classified as roots rock which kind of reminds one of The Band and I think the comparison is fair as they incorporate a lot of country influences as well as folk and rock.

The Diggers have released 8 studio albums in 20 years. One live disc and a rerelease of demos of their second album 1992’s Restless (due to a dispute over the ownership of the master tapes). In 1995, Founding guitarist and songwriter Peter Cash split to work with his Brother Andrew as The Cash Brothers. After that, the Diggers were a trio on the 1997 CD Desmonds Hip City (augmented with session players). In 2003 they released a new album called Bittersweet Harmony in which the album title sums up the overall sound of the Diggers. In ‘04 they did some shows with the Cash Bros. I caught one of these shows on video at the Toronto Street Festival. It was a solid show of many past Digger hits plus some Cash Bros. material. It was the first time I ever caught them live and it was long overdue.

For some reasons whether members coming and going, lack of promotion or problems with record companies etc…The Skydiggers haven’t hit the big time as their contemporaries Blue Rodeo or The Tragically Hip. The Diggers are still a local hit. They are Canadian cult band that brings quality and integrity to their music. Part of me wishes them international fame. Part of me wants them to be the best kept secret. Especially, when you can still watch them in an intimate club rather than at Massey Hall.

Check out this page of photos from another WordPress blog. Look like a very intimate show in a beautiful church.


2 Responses

  1. Saw them open for Blue Rodeo in 1992 in Sudbury and then a few times here and there with The Hip. Always enjoyed their style with my favourite being “A Penny More”

    sorry I just missed them at Hugh’s Room. this summer.

    Another Canadian 90’s band is on at the Horshow for a little reunion this weekend The Watchmen


  2. Never heard of the Watchmen…but thanks for the tip. I really need to see the Skydiggers at the Horseshoe Tavern…one of the things on my to do list. They always play in December.

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