Broken Social Scene member has new solo CD

photo courtesy canvas media


Jason Collett’s new solo album Here’s To Being Here was released last week.

Make no mistake: Jason Collett is not a singer-songwriter. True, he does both sing and write songs, but despite what the obvious moniker suggests, he’d rather not associate himself with that label.

Collett does, however, consider himself part of the “grand, glorious tradition of rock ‘n’ roll music. It encompasses so many great things,” he told Metro in a recent interview. “Blues, jazz, gospel, country ... all those flavours exist together in one genre.”

Labels aside, one can’t really refer to Jason Collett without alluding to his work with the always genre-defying Broken Social Scene.

“Broken Social Scene was an exercise in sonic density,” Collett noted, “and my own work has been an exercise in allowing for space — both are noble pursuits in my mind, and it’s great to have the freedom to go back and forth freely between the two.”

But we’re here to discuss Collett’s work sans Broken Social Scene. Here’s To Being Here is his third collection of new songs released on the Arts & Crafts label, and while his small-town Toronto roots played very heavily into his previous solo endeavours, such is not the case for the Bramalea, Ont., native’s most recent release. “I’ve already exorcised all those demons,” he said, although he’s quick to note that he is quite proud to be a part of Canada’s prolific history of music and writers.

Here’s To Being Here refers not to any place in particular, but to a line of poetry by Paul Haines, father of Metric front woman Emily Haines. Haines had given a book of his poetry to Collett as a gift before a name had been established for the album. “I flipped to the line and thought immediately that it was great,” he recalled.

The album was recorded mainly in producer Howie Beck’s home, and for Collett, this created a warm, domestic vibe that greatly affected the finished product. “Atmosphere is everything,” he said when asked about the significance of space when recording and performing. “I really like intimate venues ... I’ve always tried to take that sensibility into the bigger clubs, to break down the barrier between artist and audience.”

Here’s To Being Here succeeds in doing just that. Its guitar-driven musical landscape is as honest as it is personal, and suggests that “here” can refer as much to one’s state of mind as it does to geography.

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