Published Nov 23, 2008Hot on the worn heels of their beautiful album Forest of Tears, Toronto's One Hundred Dollars present an ambitious seven-inch series, connecting them to communities across Canada. The hard-working country ensemble led by Simone Schmidt and Ian Russell has overcome adversity, namely Russell's near-life-threatening bout with leukemia. Inspired by his rejuvenated health, the band is taking on notable new challenges, like the initiation of a regional seven-inch series of newly-composed songs about Canada, released individually by labels like Vancouver's Deranged Records, Calgary's Saved by Vinyl, Toronto's Blocks Recording Club, and Sackville's Sappy Records among others.
"We'd been approached by Deranged Records to do a seven-inch about a year-and-a-half ago and we got stoked about the idea of vinyl," Schmidt explains. "The seven-inch record, as a medium, forces listeners to be deliberate – to get up and flip the record. So we're getting all McLuhan on people and hoping the medium will affect people's pace, and call them to reflect on the songs." As for those songs, $100 will write A-sides ostensibly about the regions of each respective label, illuminating commonalities of living in Canada. Part I, for instance, is "14th Floor" about the cancer wing of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, while Blocks artist Owen Pallett plays fiddle on the B-side, "Migrant Workers," inspired by seasonal labourers in Leamington, Ontario.
"'14th Floor' deals with what might be considered the overarching themes of the series – sickness and love in many forms and many places, in our relationship with Canada," Russell says. "We love where we live and the people around us, but we're not happy in this relationship. Country music is mostly songs about love and heartbreak and thoughtful love entails critique and entails work, not blind allegiance or patriotism."