Sad news broke earlier this week when The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Despite the news, the band is still set to head out on tour this summer in support of what is to be their last release, Man Machine Poem.
That record, due out June 17th, was produced by Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene. Now, Drew’s former bandmate and Downie’s dear friend, one Leslie Feist, has paid tribute to the ailing Canadian alt-rock icon. Feist uploaded a moving cover of Tragically Hip’s “Flamenco” off 1996’s Trouble at the Henhouse. “For Gord,” she wrote on the song’s description. “We’ll all be there this summer to see you bring out the new songs with your singular guts and panache…. and the golden oldies that are so golden. All my respect, admiration and love, Leslie.”
Feist’s version is a raw acoustic take, and features all the background noise of a home recording. You can hear her every breath, even a clearing of the throat before the final bridge. It’s a hauntingly sweet rendition, and you can listen in above.
In a statement to The New York Times, Feist said, “My feelings are big for Gord, as they have been since I first met him 20 years ago,. He’s always been a teacher to me for how to fight for the true view in a song and inhabit them with conviction. I admire him deeply and wish him strength and love in this struggle.”
Listen to the original version of “Flamenco” below.