Paul Langlois is legendary in Canadian music, even if you don’t know his name. He has released 17 albums, and won 14 Juno Awards. He is also part of Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Of course, he has achieved most of these accomplishments with his band of thirty years. You might know them by their name – The Tragically Hip. Like many musicians involved in group work, he has started to branch out. His first album – “Fix This Head” – was recorded rather accidentally in 2010. With ‘Not Guilty’, released late 2013, it was the first time he had set to record an album on his own.
And it’s quite a good album. Much less rock-based than Langlois’ work with the hip, “Not Guilty” treads along singer-songwriter lines of folk and roots. Langlois has his own band as well, but this time, he is in charge. When I asked him what his favourite song off the album was he replied “Everything We Were”, mainly because it’s the one track that is written from a place of happiness rather than the dark stratosphere of emotion that is so common in melancholy folk music (and music in general).
Another things that makes this album remarkable is the fact that Langlois is suffering from hearing loss. It is attributed to a variety of factors; I’m sure that ripping chords next to Gord Downie for all those years certainly did not help. But Langlois is adjusting. If Beethoven can do it, why can’t Paul?
It is important to note that Langlois has not left Tragically Hip, he is merely doing this solo thing on the side, as musicians would say? Also, how does he feel about being an icon. He says that while he recognizes status, it does not affect him in his daily life. I suppose when you’re part of a collective, rather than an individual, one doesn’t soar to Bieber-like heights and then have a mental breakdown and be cheered off into alleged retirement. Good on you Paul, hope you stick around another thirty years or so.
Not Guilty was released through Ching Music in October, 2013.
RIYL: Jeff Bridges, The Tragically Hip