Fast becoming a must-see outdoor rock and roll extravaganza, there will be some superlative Canadian content at the 2019 edition of the Tail Winds Music Festival, as Sass Jordan will be on the stacked bill, for the day-long event, taking place Saturday, June 29 at the Hudson Valley Regional Airport in Wappingers Falls, New York.
There will be a secondary music stage, as well as food trucks, craft beer, helicopter rides and other family activities, with proceeds from the day going to the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation.
At the Tail Winds Festival, Jordan will be on a bill that also includes Black Stone Cherry, Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime, King’s X, along with headliners the Chris Robinson [The Black Crowes] Brotherhood.
“Some of my old buddies in Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime are playing the Tail Winds Music Festival. I haven’t seen them since I toured with them in 2014. I’ve met Chris Robinson before and I know Dug [Pinnick] from King’s X, but I haven’t seen him in about a thousand years. I’m really looking forward to this show. I think it’s an awesome cause, and I think it will be just a great show,” Jordan said in a press release to announce the lineup for the festival.
“I do hope that a lot of people come out to the show and that everyone can hang out and that we have a fantastic party. That’s what it’s all about, we are there to celebrate life. I am assuming I will be on first because I’m the least famous of the lot, I think. So, I will be on early and then I’m going to watch the rest of the show, so then I can have a few drinks with everyone.”
Sass Jordan burst onto the Canadian music scene in all her majestic musicality and infectiously ebullient personality in late 1988 with the release of her hit debut album, Tell Somebody. Based on the massive success of the title track and the singles So Hard and Double Trouble, she became a sensation and the album launched a career that has continued strong to this day.
But it was hardly an overnight success, as Jordan had been toiling in bands and as a solo performer on the competitive Montreal scene for a good decade before Tell Somebody made her a star. Part of her ascent included a stint as a back-up vocalist for Montreal pop act The Box, especially on their 1987 album, Closer Together.
“The backup thing for The Box was just a sideline project that I did, because I wanted to get out and play live in front of people. I loved the band and when they asked if I wanted to do the gig I said absolutely. But in the meantime, I had been doing my own thing. I was a bass player in a band called the Pin Ups, and we were a pretty huge club band in Montreal and the Maritimes. And then we broke up, which was my fault because I can’t handle having to agree with four other people all the time, I just wanted to do my own thing. Everything has its own pros and cons no matter what you do. And that’s how I ended up doing the thing with The Box. It actually took me forever to find people to write with who I was happy with. At one point during that journey The Box thing came up, so that’s why I ended up doing that while at the same time I was working on the record that would become Tell Somebody,” she explained from her rural home north of Toronto.
“At the time, I never had any doubt that I was going to do something that would be noticed. I was absolutely, 100 per cent convinced that I was going to be hanging out with Steven Tyler, Robin Zander and Paul Rodgers, all the people I most admired and I would be their contemporary. That’s all I ever thought, I wanted to be up there working with all the people who inspired me and how I got there was irrelevant to me. And basically, that’s exactly what happened. It took a while. It wasn’t overnight as you know. It took the entire decade of the 1980s to get to the point where I was actually recording my own stuff.
“As far as Tell Somebody, I think the song itself was pretty cool because it was me saying, ‘hey, it’s me. Hey woo hoo, I’m here! Tell somebody!’ And I give a lot of credit to my co-writer at the time Bill Beaudoin; he was a catalyst and he was as enthusiastic and dedicated to it as I was. We were like two mad scientists cooking it up and we were in our lab every single day nonstop for about two months during the coldest, darkest Montreal winter. He was as into it as I was, and so was our producer, Pierre Bazinet. It just felt like we were finally on the right track, that this is the right thing. But now it’s so long ago that I can’t even fathom it.”
After Tell Somebody came Jordan’s critically lauded and commercially successful follow-up Racine in 1992. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of her third studio album, Rats, which brought her into contact with well-respected and prolific rock drummer Brian Tichey (formerly of Whitesnake, Foreigner, The Dead Daisies and many other projects) who played on Rats, forging a friendship and collaborative relationship that would carry over into the ambitious, but underrated Something Unto Nothing (S.U.N) project in 2011. Prior to that she also released the solo albums Present (1997), Hot Gossip (2000), Get What You Give (2006), From Dusk ‘Til Dawn (2009) and a re-recording of her Racine album, called Racine Revisited in 2017.
Currently, she is working on an as-yet-untitled album of blues covers commissioned by legendary Canadian roots label True North Records, and also is putting together material for another solo album of original songs.
“I was asked by True North to make a blues record and at the time I was like, ah, I don’t think so, I am not into that. About two months ago I suddenly had all these ideas and I thought it would be cool to do this song and do that song and so that morphed into me asking if they were still interested in me doing that blues record. They said yes, so we’re off to the races with this blues record thing. And it’s going to be entirely covers except for one new song which we just wrote,” she said.
“I am not sure when it’s coming out. Timelines are really difficult, and I am at the mercy of whatever True North wants to do as far as a release. They want me to make the record, but then they have to figure out their schedule and when they want to put it out and all the rest. That’s really got nothing to do with me; that’s out of my hands. It was originally supposed to be October, and now I think it’s going to be the first quarter of 2020.
“As for my next album of original songs, it’s going to sound like me. No matter what the hell the genre is, it always sounds like me, it’s always the same energy. So, I am not entirely sure of the genre so I don’t know if I can describe it for you yet. I’ve got to have more songs in the can, and I’ve only got one now. Once I have more songs then I will be able to say what we can put it under as far as style or genre of music. But it’s never going to be anything too far away from what I have done in the past, although I have done a lot of different things.”
Jordan has many creative and entrepreneurial oars in the water, and in recent months she has begun to pull all her projects under one umbrella, or brand, #MakeBigNoise.
“All the upcoming projects I am doing I am putting it under one big banner and that’s the banner Make Big Noise. It’s like the big tent at the circus and then there’s all these little things that can go under it, like a record here or a book there, or a TV show, or some wine – all the different stuff that I do, because I do all kinds of different stuff,” she explained.
“And I might have an actual record that’s called Make Big Noise too. I want to do editions of it like a first edition of Make Big Noise and then a second edition of Make Big Noise, because I think that’s something that we all have to do in this day and age to even get a second of attention – you’ve got to make a big bloody noise. And I call what I am doing a project because that way it’s inclusive. I don’t want to say it’s just a record. There are so many other things.”
What is always at the top of Jordan’s agenda is spreading her personal power of positivity and her endlessness enlivening and joy-filled personality, charm and her memorable melodies as far and wide as she can, acting as a beacon of badass light in an often dark world.
“So much of the negativity that bombards us all day long is based on fear – that’s the underlying message, how to control people through fear. So, my job as a musician, as an artist and performer, or a personality whatever you want to call me, is to give everyone a couple of minutes escape from that nonsense. Let’s look at the positive and let’s enjoy these moments together, because really most of that fear is created, false evidence appearing as real, as they say,” she said.
“People are naturally inclined to feel good, but all day long the shit just keeps chipping away at that. It’s this bombardment of hell, so my job is to say, ‘let’s lighten up. We are much lighter than we appear.’ I give everything I am every time I am on stage. And people respond to that, they really and truly do. I am not light, fluffy entertainment. It’s very emotional and it really takes people though the same journey that I go through, and I do it every single time,” she said.
Besides her appearance at the Tail Winds Music Festival, Jordan is playing at ArtsFest in Hamilton, ON on June 22, at Rockin’ The Fields in Minnedosa, Manitoba on Aug. 4, in Prince George B.C. on Aug. 10, Vancouver on Aug. 17, Rocky Mountain House Aug. 23 and in Shawville, Quebec on Aug. 30.
For tour dates and updates on her forthcoming albums, visit Jordan’s website at http://sassjordan.com.
For tickets and other information related to the Tail Winds Music Festival, visit https://www.tailwindsmusicfest.com.
For more information on Mile of Hope, visit https://milesofhope.org.
- Jim Barber is a veteran award-winning journalist and author based in Napanee, ON, who has been writing about music and musicians for a quarter of a century. Besides his journalistic endeavours, he now works as a communications and marketing specialist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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