Yacht Rock stars

Yacht Rock Sets Sail at The Boat Tonight

If you're not planning on going to Virgin Music Fest today, or if you are going and need to chill out afterwards, head over to The Boat, where you'll hear Jordan Kern play the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock.

I asked Kern about the phenomenon of this Yacht Rock (not to be confused with Kraut Rock) and this is what he had to say.

BlogTO: What is your definition of Yacht Rock?

Jordan Kern: Pop music between 1978 and 1983 that could be described as "smooth." From what I've heard, the term was coined by Jimmy Buffett as a way to describe his own music.

What's the appeal of this type of music today?

The resurgence has a lot to do with the nostalgia of it all. It's really all songs that my brothers and I would hear on the radio as kids on the way to swimming lessons, the records my parents would play at dinner parties, the concerts we were taken to at say, Ontario Place, or even in the movies we watched. For some reason I feel like I may have experienced Christopher Cross at all of these settings.

I was on tour with Hot One with my friend Gabe when he introduced the band to the term Yacht Rock. Every song was like, "Owww, I remember this track." And the whole thing felt really cheesy, but it was no secret that we were totally into these songs. We knew a lot of the words and all of the various twists and turns. Suddenly I found myself just plain loving these songs and bands and embracing their smoothness.

Is Toronto part of an international or North America-wide Yacht club movement?

Toronto is definitely a part of the movement. When my brother (DJ Shandy) and I started the night, I think we were pretty excited about how much people knew about it, were into it and just wanted to hear and dance to these tunes all night. I don't know how global it is, but you might be surprised by how far reaching it's gotten already.

I saw the Yacht Club facebook group. There's a MySpace page and an online video series devoted to parodying the music and the artists that typify this Yacht Rock. What do you make of this?

They're hilarious. If you haven't already seen them, watch 'em! They're really well done.

These videos are actually what Gabe told us about. This is where the whole thing started. They were the inspiration for our night. The actors portray Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, The Doobie Brothers, Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Toto.... The list goes on.

These videos were made with a serious depth of knowledge surrounding the Yacht Rock genre. I guess that's half the fun. You really can poke fun at these songs in all their smooth and campy glory, but when all is said and done, you can't deny your real love for the music.

What are your top 10 Yacht Rock songs?

What A Fool Believes (The Doobie Brothers)
This Is It (Kenny Loggins feat. Michael McDonald)
Ride Like The Wind (Christopher Cross)
I Keep Forgetting (Michael McDonald)
Rosanna (Toto)
Peg (Steely Dan)
What Can I Say (Boz Scaggs)
I Can't Go For That (Hall & Oates)
Sailing (Christopher Cross)
Takin It To The Streets (The Doobie Brothers)

Here's a look at the Yacht Rock show from YouTube:
Disclaimer: the following scenes contain some expletives and many references to American soft rock stars of the late '70s and early '80s.

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