Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
GRAVENHURST — Marc Jordan has written and co-written a lot of great songs, many for top artists in the world.
His songs have been on albums totalling over 35 million sold.
But there are many more he’d loved to have had a hand in.
Thus his weekly JazzFM radio show, Songs I Wish I Had Written.
And the genesis of his latest CD, Both Sides Now, out tomorrow from Linus Entertainment.
Saturday night (April 6) he will be here at the Opera House for a concert as part of its launch week. And the first chance to play the full CD.
“So it is the launch.”
Jordan, who writes “every day,” was in Nashville last week co-writing with Grammy winner Matt Rollins, when MuskokaTODAY.com spoke to him.
Both Sides are also “songs I always wanted to sing,” he said, by composers he has long admired.
The CD is like listening to his radio show, but without his enjoyable preamble — “the tangential connections” he weaves between tracks.
(You can get both Saturday night, by first listening to him from 6-7 p.m. on CJRT 99.1, and then go hear him live.)
Although this CD, his first in six years, pays homage to some of his legendary musical friends he has played with or written for, the nine tracks are more than mere cover band recordings.
The title track honours fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell, whose 1969 Both Sides Now hit he clearly loves.
“I think it’s one of the greatest songs ever written.”
A plaintive ballad that captures Jordan’s musical sensibility and easily fits his vocal style and range.
The first track, the Nearness of You, a Hoagy Carmichael/Ned Washington collaboration, sets the bar high, establishing the relaxed, romantic feeling he and producer/arranger Pomanti comfortably achieved in the latter’s Toronto studio with the help of the Prague symphony (who recorded their parts via tielines) and several celebrity guest artists to round out the lush sounds.
It kicks off almost 50 minutes of American Songbook influences, thanks no doubt to his father, Charles, who was a Toronto singer and voice coach, and for whom “music was a bit of a family business.”
So, like father, like son, says the Brooklyn-born musician, who returned to Canada with his family and briefly got into film, studying Brock before returning to Toronto, where all his buddies were in bands and in clubs.
“It’s my life’s work. Song writing’s about the only thing I know how to do. So I keep doing it.”
Two tracks are originals: I Saw Your Smile (with co-writer Lou Pomanti); and He’s Going to Break Your Heart, which he co-wrote with Steve MacKinnon. (Jordan won a producer of the year Juno in 1994 with McKinnon, for his song Waiting for a Miracle.
Both Sides further showcases, the “eclectic” tastes of the seasoned singer/songwriter, who says he writes both his lyrics and melody jointly.
“My thing is to get with a really good player, somebody like Matt, or guys in Toronto or L.A. And just bash around ideas and come up with something,” he says modestly, leaving readers and listeners to ponder the incredulity of the off-handedness of the manner in which portrays his gifted artistic talents.
“I don’t have the talent where I can just write hip hop or classical.
“I take what I’m good at and add to it.”
Jordan, who turned 71 March 6, says “the trick to great song writing is for words to say the same thing as melody. “If you’re playing something over melody that’s not saying the same thing, it doesn’t work.”
He says often songs the public like “aren’t well written.”
As for public taste: “All I can control is I write stuff that is truth and good as I can make it.
“I have written songs I think are amazing that have never seen the light of day.”
He says “you can’t judge the public. If you try you get in trouble.
“I just do what I can do and I’ve been lucky.”
Lucky indeed, his walls are filled with platinum albums from songs he has written for international stars including Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, Cher, Bette Midler and Chicago.
Not bad for kid who came to prominence as a guitarist with Bobby Vee; and who has gone on to have an acting role with Olivia Newton John in Score: A Hockey Musical.
“I’m happy to live in Canada,” where he has made a good living.
For fans who won’t get to see the Rolling Stones at Burl’s Creek in Oro June 29 (show postponed), you can hear Jordan’s version of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ Wild Horses, about “Childhood living (being) easy to do” and “the things you wanted to do….”
Part of the launch party Saturday night will include an auction of one of Jordan’s painting.
“I don’t consider myself an artist” — he only began painting seriously about six years ago — “it’s just the same part of my brain as song writing.”
But some of it is not bad, based on some of cover art from his later albums.
Joining Jordan for the Muskoka launch is his band, including Pomanti on piano, Mark Rogers on bass, Mac Lalonde on keyboards, and drummer Kevin McKenzie.
Jordan said he’s not sure if his wife, Amy Sky a great Canadian singer on her own, will be able to join him at the Opera House. They’ve done shows there and at Peter’s Players in the past, which are both near their family cottage on Lake of Bays. But he hopes so.
Join them if you can.You’ll hear the following play list and possibly more.
Both Sides: Linus Entertainment, 48.5 minutes.
- NEARNESS OF YOU 6.03
Hoagy Carmichael / Ned Washington
- CALLING YOU 5.12
- I SAW YOUR SMILE 5.07
Marc Jordan / Lou Pomanti
- WALK ON THE WILD SIDE 5.50
- BOTH SIDES NOW 7.19
- WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE 4.46
Michel LeGrand, Alan and Marilyn Bergman
- WILD HORSES 6.23
Mick Jagger / Keith Richards
- HE’S GOING TO BREAK YOUR HEART 4.14
Marc Jordan / Steve MacKinnon
- PEOPLE GET READY 5.05