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Past Shows

Wed. March 16th 2016
Cowichan Performing Arts Centre Duncan BC (All Ages)
Jann Arden
Thu. March 10th 2016
The Mary Winspear Centre Sidney BC (All Ages)
Jann Arden
Wed. March 9th 2016
The Mary Winspear Centre Sidney BC (All Ages)
Jann Arden
Sat. September 6th 2014
The Orpheum (All Ages)
Jann Arden, Rosie Cousins
View All Past (24)
Jann Arden

Jann Arden

Unknown - Confirmed: Sep. 30, 2005 (Awaiting Update)
Tracks (2)

Like the albums before it, Jann Arden’s self-titled album seems to contain the same quirky, catchy melodies, the same emotionally evocative voice and the same hundred-pound lyrics – but look again. Strangely, this new album did not necessarily begin as a Jann Arden record. Early in the song-writing process, Arden and her trusted collaborator, Russell Broom, decided to create an “anonymous” work to have some fun and alleviate the pressure, and reputation, of writing songs heavy with emotion.

Admittedly, it was a bit unusual for them to escape something that has been successful for so many years. “We were being as renegade as Russ and I get, which is really subtle to say the very least.” Comments Arden, “It was a nice offshoot and a great spring board to leap from. It was nice just to not worry about it.” Two years ago Arden may not have reacted to this idea. As Broom, who produced the album with Arden, explains, “it all had to do with timing, and a little luck.” “Two years ago I thought my last album, Love Is the Only Soldier was brimming with optimism and that it was a very “up” record,” agrees Arden. “When you are in it, you don’t have a sense of where you are – it’s only after the fact. I feel that this record is teeming with a really joyful spirit and full of bliss and optimism and an edge that I don’t think I’ve had for ten years…but I could be wrong.”

All of this, was wonderful and worth the heartache

Generally, the topics on this record appear to deal with common universal elements. Elections, war and terrorism – hugely affective global issues – were contrasted personally with band babies, long lasting friendships, and supportive parents living next door on a new piece of land – comforting elements in Arden’s world. “As a writer you are so affected by things that you see, things that you read. This record is more about being appreciative of just really insignificant things. It’s just about being thankful and recognizing what you have and not what you have not. We just felt like doing something that was a little more celebratory and were both coming up with ideas that were kind of in the similar vein…it just felt right to do.”

“It’s a bit of a holiday when Jann and I get together and write, but by approaching this album like a side project, it was like a holiday from a holiday.” mentions Broom, “We ended up writing these songs in a different way; a more fun way. It would be nice if that translates.” Arden agrees, “There was no hesitation; we had fun and if we’re not going to have fun, we’re not going to do it anymore.” Knowing that Broom was mixing and engineering this project provided additional confidence in their new ideas. Broom’s experience enabled Arden to try new things, and in return, her trust further inspired Broom. The load was shared through the entire song-writing process. Arden was very interested in pursuing the new sounds and new ways to present ideas. “She tends to push the envelope more than I do, which a lot of people don’t realize,” states Broom, “and she let me do things that she probably shouldn’t have.”

Broom brought ideas into the early song-writing sessions that had been lying around his mind (and house) for months. Sometimes they were a bit more up - tempo and a little faster, other times they were just curiously strange. “Life is Sweet” the first song recorded for this album came from the meditative chords that Broom created for the birth of his daughter. “I had some piano chords for when my wife was giving birth to my daughter – just something that she could zone out on.” These simple chords were put to a beat and played for Arden; to which she reacted well. “If I play an idea and I don’t hear anything but paper being scribbled on, then the idea is okay.” Arden’s scribbles quickly became a melody and lyric that was recorded in under an hour. Arden’s vocal interpretation was a dreamy, bliss-filled whisper of appreciation. They both knew, “that we had done something really, really different” but also “just really bizarre.”

As with elements of albums before this, songs were written, completed, and the vocals recorded, in Russell’s basement, “The Broom Closet.” For Broom, “A more familiar environment helps us focus more – with fewer unnecessary distractions; this way we can experiment and push the boundaries on our own terms.” Arden adds, “Being at Russell’s house is just so relaxed. There’s no pressure there because it’s where we do our demos.” Broom’s studio is a womb-like cocoon of chaos and creativity. An eclectic collection of variously coloured and shaped sound baffles cover aspects of every wall. Cables snake across the floor from his computer consol to the microphones, amps, keyboards and guitars comfortably at home in each corner of the room. Evidence of Arden’s presence in the basement is found firmly pressed onto the corner of the music stand, beside a microphone, “That’s Jann’s gum,” quips Broom. “We were recording vocals one day and she just forgot it there. I’m thinking about starting a collection from the people I work with. I haven’t decided yet.”

All of this, was beautiful and full of light

On the surface, much of this new album is filled with up-tempo, radio friendly songs, but listen again and Arden’s deceptively enlightening interpretations of the common will begin to emerge. “That’s what was so interesting to me, that she was writing, lyrically, so differently. It’s more optimistic, more narrative and more observational,” explained Broom. “Here is this really special person who has this ability to articulate all these things she experiences – that everyone experiences. Her writing effectively captures the experience of the common person – because she is one. Because of that, I think people relate to her sincere, heartfelt, deep lyrics –– they resonate with people.” For Arden, “It was just enjoyable for me to be writing about something that wasn’t always dealing with romantic love.” Simply put, Arden’s observations are filled with, “all the things that we all do, or wish we did. It was really easy to write – I just didn’t think too much about it. I usually think too much and this time I just didn’t. It’s still about really common simple emotions.”

“It might be bold of me to say,” theorized Broom, “but Jann just seems more content and in a more comfortable place.” “Everything is new in my life,” concurred Arden, “I’m very, very happy and comfortable personally – I don’t think I’ve ever been that way in my life. For the first time in many, many, many years I have this real sense of self-worth – just that you feel worthwhile and accepting of yourself. I think I said it in one of my journals, “I know that my body is simply a way to cart around this old soul of mine. Every wrinkle, scar, extra pound, stretch mark and imperfection...it gets me around quite well. I can see and hear and taste things. How I look has no bearing on what my experience here is. It's just my wagon to get me from here to there.”

Arden’s confidence in herself, and confidence in Broom, equalled her faith in the contributions her band members would make in interpreting her songs. “When you have such great talent as Lyle Molzan (drums, percussion) and Darcy Phillips (keyboards) it brings such a great energy that is so unique,” pronounced Arden. Having toured together for many years, the familiarity of the musicians’ with Jann’s work, and each other, provided a greater level of certainty to their contributions. Arden simply gives the musicians a template and allows “them to run with it.” The addition of Brett and Ryan Molzan (cello, violin) – brothers of drummer, Lyle Molzan – and Moffatt brothers Bob, Clint and Scott (background vocals) increased the family-like closeness already experienced in sessions.

All of this, was everything I ever hoped for

The excitement surrounding the release of Jann Arden, on April 12th, are monstrous for everyone involved, but Arden’s expectations are typically humble, “I am just grateful, very grateful, for Canadian radio and I really hope that this record finds its way into other countries.” Respectfully, Broom muses, “I just hope it finds a place in people’s lives that will make their day different than if they didn’t hear a song. That’s a pretty broad statement, but that’s what music does for me.”

Audio Samples

TrackPlaySave
Never Mind (Live)
Good Mother (Live)
View all tracks for this artist (2)
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Status: Unknown
- Last confirmed Sep. 30, 2005