MORE ABOUT THE BLUE PAINTING SHIRT
Demos for An Old Innocence
"The Blue Painting Shirt" is a set of 10 acoustic demos I made for the collection of songs that would eventually be recorded and released as “An Old Innocence”. That album started life in 2014. Or at least, after a deep and dark winter…(I mean it, it was almost traumatising how long and cold it was for this newbie arrival to Nova Scotia) during which I underwent various intense masochistic dietary protocols and also came to the conclusion it was time to give up music, to let go of everything and anything to do with what "Jont" was.
Of course this ludicrous decision was ultimately wise, leading to a renewed vigour with which I picked up the guitar once the springtime came around. I believe I wrote the song "An Old Innocence" around this time....that kind of sums it up.... a catharsis of sorts as described in that song took place and found me in the bedroom studio of a neighbour, Alec Frith the guitarist for Gypsophilia, recording all the songs that were now speaking to me so strongly and wanting to be recorded. Those demos became a collection of about 15 to 20 songs.
The title “The Blue Painting Shirt” came to me because it was the shirt that my daughter's mum Angela would always wear to paint in and it also had been the shirt she gave birth to my daughter in. Something about those details and also just the sound and feel independently of that phrase felt like the right weight and feel for the album I wanted to make. As it turned out at some stage I guess I must have selected 10 of these songs and put them into a dropbox folder of that title. Quite a different collection to what made it on An Old Innocence - and it just has such a lovely care free vibe to it but is full of energy. Sparse though the arrangements are you can almost hear the full band, orchestrated arrangements I'm hearing in my mind.
That summer after a Vipassana meditation retreat I would meet my dear friend and now long-time collaborator Robert Sherwood in a field in Massachusetts where we would instantly get on and jam for a couple of days. He would then come up to Montreal and record the bed tracks to “An Old Innocence” that December. So much work went into that album. Unhappy with the mixes, I even did a crowdfund and remixed the entire album. I had found 4 investors for the album which had been a whole load of pressure too. Eventually the album got pared down to the tracks that are now on it.... but there were several near contenders and I'm not even sure, as happens with albums, whether the best masters / mixes actually made it on to the album now known as “An Old Innocence”. But.... that is just how it goes making an album...
What I do know is that these 10 songs that make “The Blue Painting Shirt” have a freshness and sweetness to them. It is springtime. They speak of love in many different shades and there is a resurgent belief in life and the necessity of expressing and sharing this love through song that courses through them.