We first became familiar with the music of Jory Nash several years ago, when CBC Sonica was broadcast on satellite radio here in the US, and tracks from the “Little Pilgrim” album were rotated frequently. CBC Sonica may have been dropped from the SiriusXM lineup, but we kept tabs on Jory’s progress, enjoying the following “The Many Hats of Jory Nash” and the very recent “Wilderness Years” releases. And while my own personal work schedule prevented us from attending Jory’s album release show this past summer in Oakville, we absolutely refused to miss this opportunity to see Jory perform live at “Silence” in downtown Guelph on a mid-November Saturday night.
Performing to a warm and intimate room, Jory not only shared music from his new album, but pulled out some hits from his vast back catalog, and threw in a few cover songs from artists whom he drew some of his inspirations. Opening with “Prisoner’s Lament“ from his “Tangle With The Ghost” album, Jory quickly settled into sharing tales about both the inspirations for the new music, and other encounters during his time as a professional musician. “There are some overarching themes to the record,” stated Jory, kickstarting a conversation that would be revisited throughout the evening. “One of the titles was called ‘Three Stories,’ but it did not make it.”
Performing a trio of new tracks in succession, the crowd would enjoy hearing “A Good Good Day,” “Dark Matter” and “She Gets Her Courage From Alcohol.” Prior to the second of these three, Jory would continue with his earlier tale. “Naming a record for me is one of the hardest parts of the process, except this time it was clear as day; ‘Dark Matter’,” he exclaimed. “The pressure was off, and then, just last December … Randy Newman released his first album of new material in eleven years, and do you know what he called it? DARK ‘FUCKING’ MATTER!”
Following a rousing cover of Carole King’s “Up On The Roof,” Jory would share a tale of how, just once, he came up with the perfect bridge for one of his compositions. And as he launched into “The Best Of Your Heart,” a smile crossed my face as I was reminded of that very first Jory Nash tune I heard on satellite radio, and happy in knowing that it was being performed on this evening. And fulfilling his earlier promises, a trio of covers were shared later in the evening, combining the works of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Bruce Springsteen.
Returning to tracks from “Wilderness Years,” Jory would precede the music with tales about playing south of the Canadian border. “For us musicians, we need work visas … [and] if you try to play without a visa, you can be banned from re-entering the United States for five years,” he shared. “A couple of years ago I was traveling with my friend David, and at the border crossing, we were immediately flagged to go inside for more screening. After facing some rapid fire questions … I bent, but did not break, and after six or seven minutes, [the officer] turned to David and yelled, ‘What about you, are you coming in to try and get work too?’” With a well timed pause for effect, Jory would complete the tale. “David very calmly said, ‘Well sir, Jory is a guitar player, I am a ukulele player.’ ‘Ukulele,’ he cried, ‘I don’t need to hear any more, you’re free to go!’ That’s it, Ukulele is the password, and you’re in.”
With a brief sojourn back to some of his earlier works, those in the room would have the opportunity to hear both “God Don’t Know Me Anymore” from his “New Blue Day“ album, and “Luger” from “Many Hats of Jory Nash,” complete with a tale of time spent in West Virginia as partly inspiring this track. Setting his acoustic guitar aside on two occasions, Jory would share a pair of tracks whilst behind the keyboard, notably “Truth” from “Little Pilgrim,” and “Caroline,” the closing track on the new album. “Not one of the most lyrically upbeat songs ever,” he joked as he reached for his guitar once more, raising the tempo with a lively version of the Jackson Five classic, “I Want You Back.”
Returning to the third and final installment of his tale about the new album title, he continued, “While ‘Dark Matter’ was the intended title, I was of course beaten to the punch, and so for the following three months, I tried to come up with another title.” With the audience fully engaged, he built to his finale. “I realized I was one song short for the album, and still didn’t have a title track. As I came up with ‘Wilderness Day,’ my partner said, ‘no, it’s not enough, what about years?’ And after a Google search for ‘Wilderness Years,’ nobody has a record with this title.” Performing “Wilderness,” Jory would close the evening with a return to his “Ain’t Coming Home” album once more for “Are You Ready To Love?”
This phenomenal evening of live music from Jory Nash, along with the tales and puns too, proved to be a perfect escape for Team GDW, and was much more than we could have possibly imagined. Thank you Jory for a wonderful show.
- Prisoner’s Lament
- King In Denial
- I second that emotion (Smokey Robinson cover)
- A Good Good Day
- Dark Matter
- She Gets Her Courage From Alcohol
- Up On The Roof (Carole King cover)
- The Best Of Your Heart
- The Astral Plane
- Sister Station
- God Don’t Know Me Anymore
- The Luger
- Give Your Boy A Call
- Alison (Elvis Costello cover)
- Is She Really Going Out With Him (Joe Jackson cover)
- I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)
- I Want You Back (Jackson Five cover)
- Are You Ready To Love?