Bragg Borealis jon

When, Where, and Why!

This Friday night at The Ship is the big announcement: come and see who has survived all three rounds of really, really tough jurying. We will be crowning the winner of the 2014 Borealis Music Prize at The Ship at 11:15 pm sharp.

After the drumrolls, confetti bangs, and cheque presentation, the winner will play a quick set, and then Mark Bragg will perform for the rest of the night — a perfect party soundtrack, live in the flesh.  So come and dance your pants off to Mark, and see which album close to 40 jurors chose as the best of the year.

There’ll also be free copies of Big Townie Tunes Vol.1 on hand: a 20-track album featuring 1 song by each shortlisted band. There might even be a secret second trophy to present. Come see why.

Every day this week, we’ll say something on each of the 5 shortlisted bands, and, hear a random fact on a Mark Bragg song.

Fun Facts on Jon Hynes’ song, “Opinions Piece” 

Prior to moving to Ottawa, Jon was part of popular local bands like Geinus and Trailer Camp; since moving away he’s recorded and toured with some great Canadian bands like Kathleen Edwards, Evening Hymns, The Hidden Cameras, and even hometown heroes Hey Rosetta. So it’s no surprise his solo debut LP, Watchful Creatures shines. Among the many genre-spanning gems is track 5, “Opinions Piece,” which fun fact, includes a phenomenal outro whose gang vocals include Hey Rosetta members as well as fellow shortlistee Steve Maloney, and other familiar local voices like Rajiv Thavanathan, Chris Donnelly, Robbie Brett, and Allan Byrne.

The story behind how all these voices came together for the song is, in Jon’s words, a product of amazing timing. “I was finishing the mixing on the song in Ottawa when I had the idea of getting a choir to sing the last line of the song, ‘you had a lie for everyone.’”

He knew it’d make the song, but he needed a way to execute it ASAP, because of a timeline. He was texting with his friend Adam Hogan of Hey Rosetta. “Adam casually said ‘yeah, we have a fun night planned.  We’re recording gang vocals on some Secret Connection songs.’ Well holy shit!  A studio full of friends getting ready to sing gang vocals? Hot damn! I called him immediately and asked if they would take a breather from SC tunes and lay down a few tracks on my song.”

Within  less than twenty-four hours Romesh had the tracks back to Jon. “I was tickled pink.  Not only did I get my choir but it was also done by some of my nearest and dearest friends singing their hearts out on a cold slushy night in St. John’s. It was very humbling.”

The song itself doesn’t have such friendly origins. It was written after Hynes was mugged. “I was tackled down, football style, and held in a submission hold, essentially, until I gave up my phone. It could have been a lot worse, but I left the scene unharmed.”

He says he was shaken by the whole thing for a few months. “The whole violation thing was prevalent at first but then I started to look at it from the perspective of the jumpers.  I knew there was a song in there somewhere so I started writing.”

It was originally recorded as a heavy rock song, “but after sitting on it for a while I felt it was too aggressive.  So I reworked the song until I came up with the version on Watchful Creatures.  I’m really proud of it.”

Mark Bragg on His Song, “Your Boy’s Home”

Every day this week, leading up to the show, Mark Bragg will share a random fact on one of his songs. Today’s is “Your Boy”s Home.”

“Last week a brave grade 12 teacher asked me for the lyrics to this song for an english lecture on familial conflicts.”