As a touring artist, Sass Jordan watches days pass in a blur of travel. It’s the nights, and their performances and motel rooms that become the one constant: The source of her memories.
From the haunting call to prayer of a Middle Eastern muezzin to the fuzzy state after a long night of partying, the singer and former Canadian Idol judge drew on her experiences of the hours between dusk and dawn when writing her new album.
“I’m not really a night owl at all,” said Jordan, reached while preparing for tour. “(But) that’s the most vulnerable time for humans — when our bogeymen come out. During the day you are distracted, and in general don’t have time to toss and turn and think.”
But along with the worry and insomnia that can come once the sun has set, Jordan pointed to the creativity that happens in the dark. In Eastern meditation — which the Juno-winning singer practices — that time of the day is considered ripe with energy.
“Creation happens in the dark. Think of the beginning of life,” she said. “That goes on in the dark, inside the body: well, unless they have a light switch in there I don’t know about!”
Jordan channeled that creative energy into her new album, which she hopes echoes the sound of Southern California in the late ’70s. Produced by her husband, Derek Sharp, arrangements range from upbeat, horn-spiked rockers like Fell in Love Again to the boot-stomping, guitar-picking Americana of Matter of Time.
While she missed living the ’70s scene, Jordan caught it second-hand. After her breakthrough album Rats, she moved to L.A., soaking up the music and lifestyle there. While she said the city is rough, filled with the broken dreams of itinerants, the glorious California sunshine warms the end of every tough night. Jordan said the magic of that time sparkles in songs like Tom Waits’ Ol ’55, which she covers on the new album.
“When I was a kid, growing up in the ’70s, I used to love the Eagles. They did that song (Ol ’55), and we covered it in (Montreal’s Westmount) Park,” she said. “As an adult in L.A., I remember driving into town from the high desert at 6 a.m., with the sun coming up, and hearing that tune. That’s what the song’s about: that experience, driving with Lady Luck. And I experienced it.”