Published Jul 01, 2005"I've had a crush on Jay Ferguson since I saw the video for [Sloan's] The Lines You Amend,'" says singer/songwriter Mary Cobham. "I thought it would be funny to write a girlie doo-wop song using an unlikely heartthrob. One song turned into nine." Now, Mary's crush has evolved into Songs In the Key of Jay, a full-length album tribute to, in Mary's words, the member of Sloan "who'd be perfect for any issue of Non-Threatening Boys magazine."
The album's combination of pop styles and teenage crush lyrics is as much about Teen Beat pop culture it's dedicated to "Sassy magazine readers all over the world" as it is about Sloan's sweetest member. "It was important for it to seem light-hearted," Mary says. "My biggest fear was getting sued. I didn't want my next album to be about woes over a restraining order."
"It's completely flattering, I love it," says Jay. "I like Mary, and her tribute album is forthcoming." Yes, Cobham, whose move from Victoria to Halifax came after the Sloan boys had relocated to Toronto, has come face-to-face with the object of her affection, an event that is, of course, chronicled on the record. Having since heard Mary's tribute-in-song, Jay did find one particular facet strange one track revolves around his apparent dislike for the water; Mary offers water-wing assistance in order to help him overcome it. "I like swimming," Jay reveals. "I don't know where that came from."
Cobham does have musical aspirations beyond getting Jay's attention; she's a member of Halifax theatrical pop band the Maughams, who are currently working on a debut album. "I didn't really expect that many people to listen to it," Mary admits. "The real reason I did it was I thought it would get his attention, it would be a way to get to know him and hang out with him. I don't know if it will stigmatise me as the Jay Ferguson girl.' I do have other, way more serious songs. I'm fairly nervous about releasing music that I take emotionally seriously; it's a lot easier to stand behind funny, quirky stuff. Perhaps I'll put more serious stuff out under a false name. Mary Ferguson. That'll be my false name."