Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The best introduction that Jason Collett could ever get - and the introduction that he sincerely deserves - is this one: Jason Collett has been making incredible records for years now and any of you out there who don't already know this or have never heard his name before this very moment are one of the colossal fools. Please give a warm welcome to one of the greatest, lightly sung songsmiths in North America. Ladies and gentlemen, Jason Collett. If you're looking for proof, which you most certainly are after such an accusation, calling you a possible fool of the colossus, should look no further than the cool and collected song, "Cold Blue Halo," off of Collett's latest full-length, "Rat A Tat Tat/To Wit To Woo," a song that is start-to-finish, a slow-burning affair with enough beauty packed in its three short minutes of time to please a rotten-hearted old prospector in a dried up stream. He makes it so easy to admire. You just sit there and it wells up - these melodies and the delightful flourishes, following poetic storylines of full and complicated lives of men and women, fighting against the odds toward a general happiness. The feeling that's being sought, however, has a laze to it, and it remains just a little untouchable for most of the characters, as they bicker and they battle against the invisible forces that cut most down to size and just keep them stuffed in their couches or their chairs, rarely attempting to rock the boat. Collett sings about the "shameless bump-and-grinds" that occur in order to find the love that one's been searching for, acknowledging that the act itself is almost a deplorable one, but what's anyone going to do differently to get to that desired ending. Even if the bumping and the grinding are simply metaphorical, it's a process that requires sacrifice and nakedness and is forever unpleasant until, one day, one time, it's no longer unpleasant. He suggests that finding love or finding our importance, our place out there in the wild is as courageous as it is blasé. He makes it all sound a bunch more courageous than it might be, left to others, in different lyrical hands. He flames the mystery of what it takes to find a mister or a missus. The Canadian reminds us of how life can blister, of how our feet get to barking every night when we get in the front door, finally released from our work stations, walking into a cold supper and a short sleep before slipping into the same car or subway, only to repeat it all again. It takes some serious devotion to keep making it through from one day to the next, but there are the payoffs and Collett shapes those payoffs in such profound and lovely terms that the sometimes pain, sometimes pleasure makes us feel good. He sings on "Cold Blue Halo," "That's the rub you get for cold feet/You say a second chance is all you need/But honey when the light's go out/Everybody's gotta leave," and it's a blunt reminder that there are finales and we'll get to them sooner than we'd like to. He toasts the rough edges when he sings, "Here's to all the shit we've gotta scrape off our shoes," with the thought that it's all worth taking in and seeing what comes of it - the shits, the shines, the stalemates.
Jason Collett Official Site
Arts & Crafts Records