Song-A-Day #4: What Is It Called

Listening Party

The title wasn’t meant to be a joke. I was going to change the name to avoid the tongue in cheek title but with the lyrics being what they are nothing else worked to me.

“What Is It Called when somebody loves you but chooses to leave….And you don’t even try to stop them…even though though all you have to do is say I’m sorry?”

I’m not exactly sure if I realized I was making the entire verse essentially one line before I started writing it or if it was when I started the second verse that I realized I was doing it and therefore had to keep it somewhat similar. But it was a question I had always wanted to ask. A touch facetious but in fairness every thing else seems to have a word to describe it these days. It’s not like I don’t see this happen a lot.

The song is a flurry of emotions. I feel for the guy as much as I feel he is responsible for his own undoing. Sort of a tragic hero. There are outside factors too but it’s all how he deals with it that causes his ongoing problems. You know what they say: if every one of your relationships fail maybe it’s not always the other person.

One side of the relationship is unable to let the other in, unable to lower their defences or let go of their stubbornness. Sometime folks will let everything they love go rather than shake off what they know is killing them. Like an addiction to being in control. One of the most important lessons of life is that control is an illusion. No one is ever really in control.

Chris Clarke – Drums
Brad Madden – Bass
JS – All other sounds

Song-A-Day #3: She

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“She” is probably the oldest song on the album. I wrote a first draft of the tune in 2010. But the lyrical idea had been around since high school. When I was in high school the rage, for kids like me, was the all ages circuit. Usually afternoon shows at the LSPU Hall where 5-6 bands would play alternative rock, metal, funk, punk, whatever. They would all play shows together. That kind of camaraderie on stage created a sort of camaraderie in the audience too. Everyone was accepted. So kids came from all walks of life. Where high school was all familiar faces, even if you didn’t know them, they were the faces and names you could know about if you simply asked another kid. But at these shows there were folks from other schools. People you had never seen before. I had been to dances before and all, but there was nothing that could have prepared 14 year old Jerry for the hip swaying the girls did to heavy music. I mean, girls couldn’t like heavy music could they?

The idea formed in my head sometime around then for a lyric. I wrote it down somewhere but never looked at it again. It disappeared from memory. In 2010 I was thinking about where my next album would take me and realized that many of the albums that initially pushed me towards a career in music were about to celebrate their 20th anniversaries. U2’s Achtung Baby, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, Drop Nineteens, and the list goes on and on. So I dug out some of my old books. Chicken scratches. Mostly bad poetry pining for some girl or another, teen angst or blatant plagiarism of one of the aforementioned artists. But I did find a few forgotten gems. One of the pages had the idea that became “She” on it.

“She was always the first one on the dance floor. She never cared who was watching or what they thought”

Good job 14 year old Jerry.

The song became a retrospective look back. A love song to the unforgiving over-emotionality of youth. Every little tragedy was the end of the world. Every love was “The One”. But as I started to write this homage to that misguided youth I realized it wasn’t all that different today. I still have an automatic respect for the first girl on the dance floor. And anyone who knows me and my music knows how much I love to write about dancing.

I wanted the music to have a series of varying beats and/or pulses countering each other so that it would feel more like a sway than a full on dance. Something the girls at the Hall may have liked. But it also had to have heavy guitar sounds for the guys I used to hang out with. Drop-D tuning (Well actually DADGAD but the low D is still there) to hearken back to a band or two that always used it cause it was automatically heavier. And when recording we made sure to get room tones like being in the stairwell of the old Hall. Staccato lines interspersed with legato lines. Rhythmic mixing with lyrical melodies. It feels like thinking back to me as memories come in and fade out replaced by another one. But you can see if it feels that way for you.

Hope you enjoy it.

Chris Clarke- Drums/Percussion
Brad Madden- Bass
Danika Drover- Harmonies
Robert Kelly- Diving Bell
JS- All other sounds

Song-A-Day #2: Embers

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I’m not entirely sure where this song came from. The idea was originally very different darker subject matter but somehow evolved to become this song.

The narrator/voice/character/whatever you want to call it comes home after a bad day, pulls his lover close and says “how about we just forget the world exists and go to bed and stay there as long as we can?”. That has always been one of the most romantic notions to me. No flowers, fancy dinners, or moonlit walks on the beach (though those things are lovely too), just staying in bed and doing those things that people do in beds. Sometimes they talk, sometimes they curl up together and sometimes….they don’t talk much at all! (Heyy Ohhh!)

This one took on a life of it’s own in the studio. It had only ever seen the light of day as a solo acoustic guitar and voice combo. But I knew there was something big hiding behind that bedroom door.

Between Brad Madden’s barely there groove bass and Chris Clarke’s epic percussion we already had a good foundation. Robert Kelly (engineer/additional production)and I experimented with different sounds. Slamming random things against other things to add to the drums to make them huge and orchestral. Then Ian Foster came along and wrote a string arrangement straight out of John Barry’s playbook, played masterfully by Janis Campbell (Violin) and Naomi Kavka (Cello). If memory serves this was one of the first songs on the album that we deemed complete.

Song-A-Day: #1 Some Things of Yours (for Don)

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I’ll be releasing a new song every day for streaming via my Soundcloud page. That’s one a day up to the album release date of November 18th. Here’s the first one – Some Things of Yours (for Don)

My Uncle Don always told me I should write country music cause that was his favourite. I wrote this for Don in 2012. I played it for him in 2013 shortly before he passed away.

Don suggested the subject matter of a guy who wanted to admit he had done his girl wrong. I took it a step further and wrote it about a guy who drunkenly calls up his ex trying to be cool but he really just wants to hear her voice. The verses are what he says. The choruses are what he wants to say.

The tune features Brad Madden on Bass, Chris Clarke on percussion, and Tino Borges and Danika Drover on the harmonies!

https://soundcloud.com/jerry-s…/some-things-of-yours-for-don

Album release shows!

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Very happy to announce three release parties for Rogue Doubt. On November 8th join me at the Bull and Barrel for a listening party with friends.

Then on December 6th I’ll be at The Company House in Halifax to release the album in fine style, and at The Rock House in St. John’s on December 19th. Lots of friends will be home for the holidays, this will be a great night I’m very much looking forward to.