Taxi Dancers CD
The solo debut from the musician best known as bassist and songwriter with Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip brings several firsts. Chiefly, it's the first release from a member of the band since the passing of frontman Gord Downie in 2017, an event that united the nation.
Taxi Dancers is a farewell of sorts, fearlessly exploring Sinclair's despair about losing a lifelong friend and bandmate. But it is also a clear-eyed survey of what's good in the world, and a profound statement about why sorrow must be viewed in tandem with joy. Both are elemental aspects of living, and music - especially rock music, with its boundless capacity for nuance, shading, and sheer emotional heft - is perhaps life's purest mirror.
Taxi Dancers fluently moves between candlelit ballads and buoyant pop numbers to flat-out rock scorchers and what can only be termed as a spaghetti Western-style corker ("Take Me to the Moon" which is propelled by galloping baritone guitar), all highlighted by Sinclair's vivid lyrics.
The album's unique title, by the way, refers to the Depression-era custom of bringing women into remote communities to dance with men at Saturday Socials. "It's like the entertainment industry where we're paid to dance and then move on," Sinclair notes. "Music is always central when people get together."
A self-described "band guy" galvanized by collaboration, Sinclair nevertheless wrote (and co-produced) all of Taxi Dancers' 10 songs while enlisting players with whom he already had a strong musical rapport. They included John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews, a friend since Sinclair co-produced that band's 2011 Hope & Ruin album, and famed engineer James McKenty whose former band the Spades was also produced by Sinclair.