Skydiggers celebrate 20 years

Even on the heels of releasing a 20-year retrospective, the Skydiggers’ Josh Finlayson has a hard time describing the band’s legacy.

The Skydiggers pose in an undated handout photo. The band are about to release a 20-year retrospective.

TORONTO — Even on the heels of releasing a 20-year retrospective, the Skydiggers’ Josh Finlayson has a hard time describing the band’s legacy.

“That’s a good question, (but) it’s probably not one for me to answer,” Finlayson said. “I’ve never been a big one to look back and pat myself on the back and say, ‘You’re a heck of a guy.”’

His peers don’t seem to have the same problem when discussing the Toronto roots rock band.

“We’ve always loved their music,” said Alan Anton, bassist for the Cowboy Junkies. “They’ve kind of nailed this area of music that I don’t think anybody else in Canada has come close to.

“I think they’re one of the most underrated bands in Canada too.”

In the liner notes to the Skydiggers’ The Truth About Us: A Twenty Year Retrospective, other artists were equally effusive in their praise.

“The Skydiggers are a treasure,” wrote Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie.

The Truth About Us features 22 album tracks, previously unreleased versions, live recordings and new re-interpretations of classic songs — made necessary due to the ongoing red tape surrounding their earlier and most popular albums, which were released on the now-defunct FRE Records.

“We discovered the old stuff and were really surprised at how it sort of held up,” he said.

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