...Robertson Davies helped me identify and connect with the geography and landscape and stories that were Canada.
—Josh Finlayson, Skydiggers
The Skydiggers are marking their 25th anniversary as a band with a cross-Canada tour. They'll perform in Winnipeg on May 11 at the West End Cultural Centre.
Singer and lead guitarist Josh Finlayson is a founding member of the band, along with Andy Maize. As one of the principal songwriters who spends a lot of time on the road, it's no surprise that he's also into reading. SCENE asked Finlayson to tell us about a book that had an impact on him:
In my last year of high school in Toronto, where I grew up, I read Robertson Davies' novel, Fifth Business
, the first in his Deptford Trilogy series.
"Fifth Business" by Robertson Davies (Pub.1970 Penguin Group)
resonated with me for several reasons. It was set in Southern Ontario; many of the characters were identifiable and easy to relate to; the story was clever. And there was great humour in it - the kind of humour I grew up with and was familiar with.
I now appreciate the complexity of Davies' mind, intellect and storytelling. This novel weaves in several ideas, philosophies and themes, many of which were beyond me when I first read it. That said, it never got in the way of a great story that sustained my interest and compelled me to read on.
I also grew up with the music of Ian and Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, The Band, Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan, amongst many others. I had been exposed to the art of the Group of Seven.
All these artists, along with a writer like Robertson Davies helped me identify and connect with the geography and landscape and stories that were Canada. Their collective creative minds set the bar high in terms of the quality of work they produced.
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies took this experience to another level for me. It made me proud to be Canadian.
Skydiggers celebrate their silver anniversary on Saturday May 11 at the West End Cultural Centre.