Jason Collett

Here's to Being Here

BY Vish KhannaPublished Jan 28, 2008

Employing looseness in the studio does wonders for Jason Collett, as Here’s to Being Here benefits from the lively spontaneity of his band, Paso Mino. A stylish storyteller, Collett weaves clever wordplay together for a fine batch of songs that suit his sly romantic leading man’s voice. With phrasing and inflection belying a lifetime of listening to Bob Dylan, Collett lets imagery spill out of his mouth with refreshing abandon, adapting ideas to suit mid-tempo folk arrangements such as "Roll On Oblivion,” the seedy ’70s style dance rock of "Out of Time” and the carefree power pop of "Paper Cut Hearts.” A similar sense of liberation exists in the musical arrangements, as Collett and Paso Mino harness the energetic live show they’ve been honing for years. As such, a focus on electric guitar propels the second half of "Henry’s Song” and the mighty, almost symphonic swells of "Not Over You.” There are also gentle, riff-oriented hooks, such as the playful nod to George Harrison’s "If Not for You” slide part on "Sorry Lori,” or the lovely pickin’ on "No Redemption Song.” Though spare compared to his gig in Broken Social Scene, Here’s to Being Here is Collett’s most uninhibited record yet.

Why focus on guitars here?
In the past, I’ve shied away from electric guitars because it can be a bit of a crutch. This time, I didn’t try to control it at all and just did it naturally, but it’s smaller, old school, riff-y guitars, like Keith Richards. It’s tasteful and respectful of space.

Did Bob Dylan inspire these songs?
He’s been the biggest influence on me ever since I was young. The largest influence for me that shows up on this record and past ones is Dylan’s sense of humour. I’ve always really loved that most about him; he’s not very precious.

Does being in Broken Social Scene affect your solo work?
I’ve taken a fair amount from our spontaneity in what I do, which is more of an exercise in space, whereas the Social Scene thing is about sonic density. I bring a certain grounding influence to them; I’m the worst guitar player of the bunch but the only one who really plays chords. I’ve also taken from the free spirit of that experience, but both are about being as present as possible.
(Arts & Crafts)

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