Jim Bryson’s Fixed Hinge Studio, in Stittsville, ON has been recording and producing some magical music for 2020. This year has seen releases from Ken Yates, Lynne Hanson, and most recently, Kathleen Edwards’ highly anticipated, acclaimed album “Total Freedom” (co-produced with Edwards and Ian Fitchuk), yet Jim Bryson is also a remarkable songwriter of his own work. He has released six solo albums and his 2018 EP, ‘Tired of Waiting,” is a fine example of an artist well possessed of his songwriting skill and talent.
Starting in 2019, Bryson began to introduce a project through Bandcamp titled “Survival Tactics Series.” The series of singles and other innovative musical projects is intended to “offset, the offset” that streaming has had on the livelihood of performers and recording artists. The first two installments are “Better on Drugs” (2019), and “Mama Tried” (2020). His latest single, the third installment as it were, released on September 4th, is called “Knights of 1000 Sleeps,” and what a stunning song it is.
The song opens softly, with gentle brush strokes, lazy as a summer breeze rustling through the leaves. Accompanied by Caroline Brooks (The Good Lovelies), Bryson whispers a soft mantra – part surprise, part discovery. That feeling of “O yeah, now I get it,” that comes with momentary recognition, when both heart and mind see, ever so briefly, simultaneously. The song meanders through the fleeting residue of these feelings as the singer reflects and ponders their meaning.
The momentum of the song rises, restrained purposely, the lyrics contemplative and mysterious as a Zen koan. Like pages in a story we won’t forget, like a summer eve slipping into a rainy night, seasons drift immutably, one into another, our hearts filling with what we’ve missed, and what we’ve lost, as each and every day fades. Children grow and leave, sunsets burn away, loved and dear ones depart, some for home, some forever.
Bryson crafts every resonate word to linger and hold, as much as any word might. This moment that he draws our attention to is brimming with wonder. Even though we fall away, distracted so quickly from what lies right before our very eyes, something remains. “Knights of 1000 Sleeps” is testament to Jim Bryson’s gift, not only as a songwriter, but also as a gift to those who follow his work. What a gift it is.
This song and his prolific song catalogue are available on Bandcamp. https://jimbryson.bandcamp.com.
Released September 4, 2020
Produced with Mike Dubue at Fixed Hinge
Mixing: Jonathan Chandler
Philippe Charbonneau: Bass / Bass Vi / Electric Bongos
Pascale Delaquis: Drums
Caroline Brooks: Singing
Jonathan Chandler: Electric Guitar
Peter Rompkey: Cover Photo
Michael Perry: Muse