ABOUT STEP INTO THE FEAR
THE SONG. When I got the first mix back of this song from Mark Lawson (Grammy award winning mix engineer based in Montreal) I danced around my flat with headphones on and cried. Proper crying. It was the first song from Thank You For The Medicine to be mixed. As well as being a really moving song with a lot of personal resonance (and a soaring string and choir arrangement from Halifax's Tamsin Michael Robson) - it also represented to me the first time my music had really sounded top notch. This was my 11th album. And as all of us who make albums know, it's a real challenge to make something really good. We try our hardest, and many skilful choices and happy accidents have to coincide to allow one to make an album of lasting value. So when I heard this mix it felt like the standard of song I had always hoped to make.
The song has a special energy not least because of its genesis. My close friend Adrienne was having a challenging time at work and we were chatting about it and I suggested we write something that she could have as a sort of anthem to help her through. She wrote down some keywords on a piece of paper and I sat down at her piano in New Glasgow and picked out the ones that spoke to me, singing them over a fairly standard descending chord sequence. Within minutes we had the pre-chorus. The chorus melody swung through seconds later as I bashed away on the piano. As I was driving back home, around Truro I got the chorus words and chorus outro and pulled over at the service station to record it in to my voice recorder. The song took a few more months to settle in to its final version and became a favourite with the choir that recorded it.
THE VIDEO. When it came to doing the video I knew I wanted to do something special. Having worked with Jeep Jones on two of last year's videos (I Think It Could Be Possible and Thank You For My Happiness), it seemed a good idea to try another one with him and this time I really wanted him to let rip and do whatever he wanted to do. As is the way with Jeep, he had strong instincts from the get-go and immediately suggested we involved his sister, Natalie Morin, a dancer of some considerable note who lives up the road from his place in Moncton.
Despite the sweetness and the uplift of the gorgeous production of the song, the ballast that allows it to soar is in its shadow. And those feelings of anxiety, loneliness, despair, doubt are playfully and subtly brought out by Natalie's choreography. Rather like a character from a weird dream, Natalie struggles to move around the cluttered confines of her interior space attached to what is it? a screen? a bed? Until finally, having waited long enough, like the butterfly that must emerge eventually, she is propelled by an inner force down the stairs and out in to the street of action, movement - where she can flow, surrendered to the natural joy that is her birthright.
All the elements of great clowning combine with understated precision and a charming lack of ostentation and an abundance of child-like wonder to create a timeless space for this euphoric song to live in. Watching it back again now I couldn't be happier that the song has had this amazing choreographed video to go with it, bringing out the more subtle hues of its meaning. Many thanks go to Jeep and his partner Peggy who helped with the editing and of course to Natalie Morin for her stellar performance and choreography.
Jeep Jones is a filmmaker and musician from Moncton, NB. He is the lead singer and songwriter of the Great Balancing Act and Sintax Error. Jeep is known for making creative, unconventional music videos for artists from Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver and New Brunbswick. He has also directed and animated several short films, including the award-winning "Wooden Pirate with the Flesh Leg" and "$1.25". He is currently working on a new video for yodelling cowboy legend, Petunia!