“Jay Sparrow might just be our next classic rock musician in Canadian… not that he has even the slightest bit of the attitude that could come along with being such a talented musician.”
– Two Way Monologues
Jay Sparrow is a punk and a poet. He was born in the icy, northern Ontario mill town of Thunder Bay yet at times can sing with the warmth and soul of a southern country gospel soloist. Jay toured relentlessly the past few years with his road-weary punk band The Murder City Sparrows but now begins anew as a solitary singer-songwriter. Guthrie meets Rotten with northern roots.
His new self produced EP was recorded at a feverish and immediate pace in three days in his spiritual hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. Good Days Gone By was recorded essentially “live off the floor” and speaks heavily of the current state of the union, yet the songs still manage to deliver in uplifting fashion. The overall sentiment he wanted to portray was the simple fact that we are all in it together… a somewhat comforting notion. This is Jay’s second solo record, a follow-up to The Running, released in 2008, with songs also included in the Sparks Music/EMI compilation Royally Sparked.
Last year Jay was one of the Canadian songwriters commissioned by CBC Radio 2 to compose a song for “The Great Canadian Song Quest’. Along with the likes of Joel Plaskett, Martha Wainwright, Hawksley Workman and nine others, each penned a song about a different region of Canada. As the Alberta representative Jay wrote and recorded “The Ballad Of Mary White” which dealt with the cultural heritage of the Hoodoos/Badlands. The song appears on the CBC album and was also recorded live at the Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto in December as the winners from across the country joined together for an electric radio and television special.
With pen constantly to paper and guitar in hand Jay has recently completed The Tempest Line, the third release in his solo trilogy. This time the production reigns were handed over to long time friend and co-conspirator Jimmy Gnecco of the band Ours. The EP will be released this spring. Whether playing solo with an acoustic guitar or with his full band, an eight-piece “deep roots orchestra”, Jay Sparrow always delivers with an inspired presence.
The Running (2008)
Good Days Gone By (EP) (2009)
The Tempest Line (EP) (2010)