We were not joking when we mentioned having plenty of new singles to share with you this week. Canadian artists are super-busy these days, leaving our email inbox groaning under the weight of all these latest submissions. Just a couple of days ago, we devoted our entire Snappy Singles feature to music from Alberta-based artists, and today, we repeat the exercise, this time focusing on four cracking singles from artists just to our north in Ontario. Go ahead and enjoy these amazing tunes, and check back tomorrow for another four singles to get you pumped up for the coming weekend.
Sarah Burton, “I’m On Fire”
Okay, so many of you may consider folk-rocker Sarah Burton to be more of a nomad; one who frequently calls Texas, Vancouver, and anyplace in-between her home, but as of now, Sarah is back in her native province riding out this pandemic, and itching to get back on the road. So, let’s kick off this Ontario edition of Snappy Singles with a little Canadian-Texan flair, where string arrangements and spaghetti western guitar set the tone for a story of young lovers in hot pursuit of a romantic train wreck. Recorded in Austin, TX (pre-pandemic) at Jim Eno’s Public Hi-Fi Studio, “I’m On Fire” is about dizzying, mind-blurring, bad-decision making lust! “Do you learn from your desire?” Sarah asks, following immediately with an indirect answer: “You’ve seen this one coming / You know how it ends,” before excusing such bad behavior with the quip: “Because we all know how hard it is to have our needs met.” With production duties handled by Elijah Ford, and engineered by Brad Bell, Burton offers up plenty of folk-roots-country-blues twang to conjure images of barren wastelands, rolling tumbleweeds, and perhaps even memories of a van named “Lucky” heading for some little bar on the Texas-Mexico border.
Taylor Abrahamse, “I Don’t Care Anymore”
We are going to hang out in Ontario’s largest metropolitan land-mass for one more tune, this time stopping on Ossington Avenue to catch this recent release from former Canadian Idol finalist, Taylor Abrahamse. Coined “the Canadian Paul Simon” by his fans, “I Don’t Care Anymore” is a sunny ballad with a 1970s feel that is lyrically reminiscent of James Taylor and Randy Newman, complete with beautifully melodic instrumentation. Inspired by his own experiences surrounding the end of a long-term relationship, Taylor initially found himself avoiding the feelings of grief, rather than dealing with them, but after a cursory glance from the window of his home, he detected a happy couple out walking together in the snow, and thus, the song was born. He felt, finally, that it really was okay to be alone. “We live in a world where it’s very easy to distract ourselves from our feelings, but avoiding our feelings can have a subtle, but profound price,” Taylor offers. “[This] is a song about trying to avoid the pain of ending a long-term relationship, fighting your natural need to process and grieve the loss. Yet, on the other end of sadness, there’s a rainbow.”
Jessica Pearson and the East Wind, “Broken By You”
Heading east from Toronto, we make a stop in the Ottawa Valley to enjoy this stunning release from Jessica Pearson and the East Wind. Sometimes we end up in relationships that take away our voice and our sense of self, and perhaps become a shell of who we used to be. For Jessica, “Broken By You” is all about taking your voice back, being done with the pain, and realizing that you can choose to stay in this place of hurt, or leave and find joy – delivered through endearing songwriting, beautifully pitched vocals, and wrapped up in some perfectly placed strings. “When Tara Shannon and I sat down to write this song, I really wanted the focus to be on hope, taking charge of your life and choosing joy,” shares Jessica. “We were really trying to capture that feeling when you know the relationship is not working, yet you actively choose to no longer feel that way anymore. You choose to end it so that you can be happy again.” Be sure to enjoy the gorgeous interpretive dancing from Nicole Shi and Xander Sen (choreographed by Deanna Cormier) found in the music video. “It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and take your life back,” adds Jessica.
Dany Laj and the Looks, “Don’t Keep Me Guessin’”
As we head out of the Canadian capital city, our journey winds up in the northern mining town of Sudbury. Located about 200 miles north of Toronto, we introduce you to Dany Laj (Lajeunesse), who grew up in the northernmost gold-mining regions of ON, spent some time in Montreal, and now calls this Ontario city home. With his bandmates Jeannette Dowling (bass/vocals) and Dusty Campbell (drums), the power-pop trio have earned a strong regional following of fans who share Laj’s passionate musical sound that embodies rock, folk, and country, tied together with their pop-centric core that gives their music a certain, joie de vivre. “Don’t Keep Me Guessin’” is a great teaser of new music found on their upcoming album, “Ten Easy Pieces,” out June 11th. “It’s an interesting collection of songs for me,” shares Laj. “Don’t Keep Me Guessin’ was written in 2011 after I had met Jeanette … and we started hanging out. Some of them represent some of the feelings that I wasn’t able to comfortably let out till recently.” Hints of Tom Petty, The Replacements, Elvis Costello, and The Blaze Velluto Collection can all be found here, making this single a truly amazing ‘square peg’ that is impossible to force into just one ‘round hole.’