Jason Collet

CMW 08: Thursday Night @ Lee's Palace

As the second night of Canadian Music Week rolled around, I found myself running just a wee bit behind. I got to Lee's Palace just in time to catch the tail end of Rebekah Higgs' set. I'm not sure what the rest of her material's like, but it's pretty obvious that I've caught her and her band on their "rockin' out" number, which seems to consist primarily of Rebekah wailing wordlessly into a microphone with far too many effects while the band bashes one chord as enthusiastically as possible. Pity.

The 6ixty 8ights were up next and instantly gave the impression that 1968 is the year all their favourite records were made (with the possible exception of Get the Knack, judging by their vests). Their songs are fairly catchy, relying heavily on sounds from the other side of the pond, and my only wish is that they had a more balanced mix. It's nice to see a band that that tries out some vocal harmonies once in a while (up to four mics in play at times).

By the time Jason Collett Takes the stage, the joint is wall to wall people, and even though his record has just come out a casual scan of the audience reveals a lot of people singing along. The tunes are laid back and rootsy, and Collett has a tendency to wiggle around during the instrumental breaks in a way that totally evokes memories of Johnny Cash (although I'm doubtful the man in black ever wore plaid).

While he's in the spotlight, it's hard to imagine anyone sounding more Canadian than Collett while he's in the spotlight. He'd even give Jim Cuddy a run for his money. In between his simple country and folk infused pop tunes, he has an easy manner on the microphone, joking casually about forgetting his nice shoes (wingtips!) and suggesting that another critic put her "homework" away. It's easy to see why everyone hangs on his every word: this guy just exudes charisma.

As Collett's set was wrapping up, I felt a furious need for fresh air, so I stepped outside and stretched my legs for a few minutes. Regrettably though, upon my return to Lee's I'm informed that they're "done with passes" for the night - "long ago." Oh well, wouldn't want them to violate the fire code on my behalf. Guess I'll have to check out Birds of Wales some other day.

Tonight I'm taking in Hawksley Workman at the Music Hall.

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