The JUNO Awards are a time to honour the biggest releases in Canadian music each year, but at this year’s annual show, the life of one of Canada’s most prolific artists will also be celebrated.
Last October, musician, author, poet, and philanthropist Gord Downie passed away from brain cancer. Best known as the frontman of The Tragically Hip, Downie released 14 albums with his band and six solo records, with his final album Introduce Yerself nominated for three JUNOs this year, including Adult Alternative Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Artist of the Year.
Just announced, musicians Sarah Harmer and Dallas Green will be performing a special tribute to Downie at this year’s JUNO Awards, taking place in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Sunday, March 25.
Downie’s name has become synonymous with the JUNOs since the early 1990s. Along with The Tragically Hip, the band took home 16 JUNOs throughout their career, beginning with Most Promising Group of the Year back in 1990. As a solo artist, Downie has won three JUNO Awards, including Songwriter of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for 2017’s Secret Path.
The tribute will be a fitting return to Vancouver for Green, who performed at the 2009 JUNO Awards in the B.C. city with Downie by his side. “The last time I performed at the JUNO Awards in Vancouver, Gord was standing by my side singing with me,” said Green. “This performance will be with a heavy heart, but also a very proud and honoured one. Gord was the gold standard and everything that I hope to be.”
Two-time JUNO winner Sarah Harmer also has a long history with Downie, having formed her first band Weeping Tile with musicians from The Tragically Hip’s hometown of Kingston, ON. Harmer later recorded with The Hip and has covered their songs.
Sarah Harmer and Dallas Green’s upcoming JUNO performance is the latest tribute to the late Gord Downie. At the Olympic gala in PyeongChang, Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took home their second gold medal and performed to The Tragically Hip’s “Long Time Running.”
Long Time Running, the documentary chronicling The Tragically Hip’s farewell 2016 tour across Canada, is available now on CraveTV. The 2018 JUNO Awards hosted by Michael Buble air Sunday, March 25.