I have only a few Dave Matthews songs in my collection. Not sure why; I like his voice and music but have never been a collector of him, though a friend and former colleague is a big fan, as I remember.

The first time I remember hearing the song, “Gravedigger” was as a live, cover version played at the memorial service of a young man I never met. Alex “Dee” Danyliuk was a founding member of the band, The Revival. He was just 22 when, while jogging through Vimy Ridge Park on April 12, 2013, Alex died suddenly from a cardiac event related to Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a disorder with the electrical system of the heart. One of my sons, a close friend and devastated by Alex’s passing, asked me to attend the service with him. 

In the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Alex’s father, and we like to go to Sukho Thai for Tom Kha soup.

After Alex died, his parents started the Alex Danyliuk Foundation (a registered charity administered by Abundance Canada) to honour his life through providing scholarships, for 22 years, to “young people who are passionate about, and are pursuing studies in music.” Benefit concerts have been held for several years including last year, on what would have been Alex’s “champagne” birthday. 

Poster for a concert, with a painting of a young man's face.
Event poster for the 2019 benefit concert, featuring an original painting © Emily Dunford

Today, Alex would have turned 29. 

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

(from “Gravedigger,” a 2003 song by Dave Matthews)

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day, for today.

Here is the video of the song, played by Alex’s friends, the three surviving members of The Revival at the service on April 20, 2013. They changed the third verse in the ballad, to include Alex’s life story. The heartbreak of his bandmates, and indeed the whole congregation, is palpable in the video.

Keep Shining, Alex Dee. 💟🙏☮️

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