With themes including hockey, fishing, winter, Canada's all-too-brief summer and The Tragically Hip, Sudbury band The Puckhogs have dubbed their sound “Canadiana” (that's a riff on Americana).
In their own words, the group's debut, self-titled album features “music about your camp to listen to at camp.”
The Puckhogs are made up of three local songwriters — Sean Barrette, Chris Leblanc, and Brent Wohlberg. Two of them already had their own albums.
You might remember the band's name from 2013, when the three men joined forces and entered their song, “For the Love of the Game,” in the CBC Hockey Night in Canada Song Quest to find the Next Great Canadian Hockey Song.
The song, which made it onto the album — it's their greatest hit, after all — was named first-runner up (second place) in the contest.
Proceeds from online sales of the song — more than $2,000 — was donated to The Human League of Sudbury to help underprivileged kids get into organized sports.
Putting out an album as The Puckhogs “seemed like the logical next step,” said Barrette. Of course, it took them more than five years.
Barrette explains they all have careers and kids to think of as well.
“We're all songwriters, we have the Puckhogs name and we had songs we wanted to bring to each other,” he said, adding it was a “passion project” for the band.
“We really like each other, fortunately. I know a lot of bands can't say the same. There was an opportunity to work together and expand on where we had started with the hockey song. We've got one tune.
“We just figured we had more in us. Not hockey songs. We don't have more hockey songs. It turns out we were pretty much tapped out after one of those.”
Barrette said they're especially proud of their tribute to The Tragically Hip, entitled “Summer Storm.”
It's about the last Tragically Hip concert, which was broadcast live by the CBC in August 2016.
It was Hip frontman Gord Downie's farewell performance, as he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and ultimately passed away a little more than a year later, in October 2017.
“We're proud of them all, but that's one in particular that I think Canadians are really going to be able to identify with as well,” Barrette said. “We were all kind of joined in that national moment.”
The Puckhogs is available as a CD and on all digital platforms. Visit their website at www.thepuckhogs.com to buy the disc.