On Tuesday at the Great Hall, Jason Collett, a songwriter’s songwriter, launches his latest album Reckon, a thoughtful reaction of sharply written protest songs, not without sly doses of humour. We asked three of the musicians who will perform with Mr. Collett to speak about their favourite tracks.
Danielle Duval, who provides background vocals to four songs, on Talk Radio: “Sometimes on records there are these simple, two-minute, totally stripped-down, bare-bones jams. As soon as I heard this song, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. Even the first line, “What is happening to me?” It’s a man trying to make his way through life, working his butt off to provide for his family. It just spoke to me.”
Howie Beck, the album’s producer, on Jasper Johns’ Flag, about an American painter’s use of iconic stars and stripes: “After hearing this I wanted to know about Jasper Johns and his art. Producing the song, I really wanted to make the end sound like Disney music. It starts off as a simple, live, bam-bam rhythm pattern, but eventually it swirls into this grandiose moment. It took a long time to arrange and it doesn’t last very long, but it’s fun to hear.”
Andrew Cash, singer-songwriter and the NDP Member of Parliament for Davenport, on I Wanna Rob a Bank: “It’s hard to write a good political song. That’s why there aren’t a lot of them out there. The best ones speak to the moment, but transcend that moment. And I think a little bit of humour helps too. This has all that. Jason has remained faithful to an artistic vision where musicians play a part in the political and social-cultural conversation. You have to have the artist’s voice in that conversation, and the best artists are in it because they have something to say.”