Now that the artwork and the master for The Day The Money Run Out have been handed over to the manufacturers, I am taking a few moments to reflect on the genesis of the project before plunging into the nitty-gritty of putting together the launch: the party, the media push and all that jazz. Basically, I’m procrastinating, because none of that organizing work is going to be anywhere near as much fun for me as the process of creating the cd. At least not until we get to the launch party – that’ll be a hoot, but with a date sometime in late October, there’s still a ways to go before we get there.
In the meantime, I’m thinking about how this cd came into being. Because I’ve been writing for many years but only recording for the past couple, I have almost 4 albums of songs (with more added every month) waiting their turn to be recorded and released. So, the question is: what made me choose to record and release these songs at this time?
The Day the Money Run Out is basically an album about work: the good and bad sides of working – and not working. There are songs about corporate zombies and homelessness, success and getting stepped on. I wrote some of these songs years ago, and others (including the title track), since the current economic downturn began in 2008.
I think the bolt of lightening hit me in March 2009, when I saw Jon Stewart interview Bruce Springsteen on The Daily Show and The Boss said, “We’ve had an enormous moral, spiritual, economic collapse, and people go to storytellers when times are like that.” That statement hit me hard and pointed me in the direction of creating The Day The Money Run Out.
Sometimes, there’s an invisibility to hard times. A few months after his interview with Springsteen, I heard Jon Stewart question why people don’t write songs about things like the economic collapse (I’m paraphrasing here because I can’t find the exact episode – but can you tell that I watch The Daily Show compulsively?) I remember thinking, “Well, actually, lots of people write those songs, but they just tend not to be folks with major label deals who get played a lot on the radio. For songs about hard times, you have to look to independent musicians, people who are experiencing hard times, or who have experienced them recently enough to remember what they feel like. (One song that immediately leaps to my mind is “Woebetide the Doer of the Deed” by Old Man Luedecke, a no-holds-barred response to the actions that led to the current economic situation, released on his amazing album, My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs in the spring of 2010.)
Since I feel deeply connected with my own struggles around work, financial survival and urban living, when The Boss’s lightening bolt hit me, I leapt at the opportunity to create an album that focuses on these topics. I hope The Day the Money Run Out will provoke new insights into the economic and cultural situation we find ourselves in. And I figure a little toe-tapping, a few laughs and couple of lullabies can’t hurt matters, either. Maybe Human Resources Blues will help take the sting out of being downsized for you or someone you love. Maybe John Doe will inspire you to lend a hand to a fellow-traveler along the way. Maybe Rest With Me Tonight will lull you to sleep after a difficult and anxious day. I certainly hope so.
one: buy more buddhas
two: elevator blues
three: the day the money run out
four: daytime lullaby
five: mercury lights
six: don river valley scene
seven: human resources blues
eight: salthill road
nine: john doe
ten: little girl
eleven: never too late
twelve: rest with me tonight
P.S. This blog post was written and posted in Dufferin Grove Park courtesy of Wireless Toronto. Thanks for the free wi-fi, folks!