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Chris Hadfield

Today: Chris Hadfield Premiers “So Easy”

Through his 21-years as an astronaut and three spaceflights, Colonel Chris Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions and infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humans first walked on the moon. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters. Celebrated for performing his cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while captain of the International Space Station, Col. Hadfield has once again teamed up with Canadian musician Emm Gryner (who was featured in the song), to unveil their new duet and video for “So Easy” (above).

“We didn’t hire Cecil B. DeMille to make us a fireworks video,” says Chris Hadfield, the former Canadian astronaut. “That wouldn’t have suited the song at all.” The song is So Easy, a likable duet written and performed by Hadfield and the Juno-nominated musician Emm Gryner. The video for the track, shot at the Hadfield family cottage in Ontario’s Lambton County, features the pair in a casual setting, sharing lines about the struggles of life and how others make everything appear so trouble-free.

The tune is off Gryner’s latest album, Torrential. The video is not directed by DeMille, but by Frank Gryner, the singer-songwriter’s brother.

Gryner and Hadfield, both natives of Sarnia, Ont., have been friends since Gryner released the ballad Christopher, not coincidentally about an astronaut, in 2002. They have performed with each other often over the years since.

The song, a simply strummed tune with few chords and a feel-good melody, was written on the porch at the Hadfield cottage. “He’s so busy, it’s easier to go where he feels relaxed,” says Gryner. Adds Hadfield: “My parents’ cottage has been a sanctuary for life, and it’s where I learned to play the guitar, growing up.”

Hadfield and Gryner famously collaborated on a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity a year ago, with Hadfield’s parts recorded during his stint as the commander of the International Space Station.

As for future melodic endeavours, the Tang-drinking troubadour has a couple of “significant” music projects in the works, but doesn’t plan to make a career out of it. “I have way too much respect for the musical talent out there to start to think I could move into that.”

Still, Hadfield tries to play the guitar every day, and says he takes one everywhere he goes, including into orbit. Which of course means that his touring schedule, if it could be called that, has involved more miles travelled than even the co-writer of The Rolling Stones’ 2000 Light Years From Home.

Or, as Hadfield puts it: “I’ve been around the world more than Keith Richards.”

Globe and Mail/June, 2014