FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick

Lucky Time - with Tracy Jones - Pass the Jam

February 16, 2024 Blake Melnick Season 5 Episode 7
Lucky Time - with Tracy Jones - Pass the Jam
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick
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FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick
Lucky Time - with Tracy Jones - Pass the Jam
Feb 16, 2024 Season 5 Episode 7
Blake Melnick

Send us a Text Message.

When Tracy Jones strums his guitar, it's not just about the notes—it's his life's story in the strings.  Tracy doesn't just play music; he lives it, breathing life into his songs while fostering thoughtful , personal reflection and a community spirit.

This week's episode takes you on a sonic journey through the heart of Tracy's artistry. We navigate the waters of his song craft, revealing how legendary acts like the Beatles and Rush have shaped his rhythmic and narrative approach. It's a tale that dances between adaptability and passion, showing just how Tracy's creative fires burn bright . His reflections on the development of "Lucky Time" illuminate the artist's commitment to tapping into the zeitgeist, offering solace and perspective during times of turmoil.

Whether you're a die-hard music fan or simply intrigued by the layered life of a dedicated creative, this episode promises a host of insights that will resonate with your own narrative. Tracy Jones isn't just making music; he's orchestrating a soundtrack that unites us all.

The music for this episode,  is written and performed by our new artist in residence, #TracyJones

You can find out more about Tracy by visiting the Blog Post for this episode

Link to Information about how to be a guest on Pass the Jam

Knowledge Management Institute of Canada
From those who know to those who need to know

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

When Tracy Jones strums his guitar, it's not just about the notes—it's his life's story in the strings.  Tracy doesn't just play music; he lives it, breathing life into his songs while fostering thoughtful , personal reflection and a community spirit.

This week's episode takes you on a sonic journey through the heart of Tracy's artistry. We navigate the waters of his song craft, revealing how legendary acts like the Beatles and Rush have shaped his rhythmic and narrative approach. It's a tale that dances between adaptability and passion, showing just how Tracy's creative fires burn bright . His reflections on the development of "Lucky Time" illuminate the artist's commitment to tapping into the zeitgeist, offering solace and perspective during times of turmoil.

Whether you're a die-hard music fan or simply intrigued by the layered life of a dedicated creative, this episode promises a host of insights that will resonate with your own narrative. Tracy Jones isn't just making music; he's orchestrating a soundtrack that unites us all.

The music for this episode,  is written and performed by our new artist in residence, #TracyJones

You can find out more about Tracy by visiting the Blog Post for this episode

Link to Information about how to be a guest on Pass the Jam

Knowledge Management Institute of Canada
From those who know to those who need to know

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

review us on Podchaser
Show website -
Follow us on:
Show Blog
Face Book
Support us
Email us:

Lucky Time with Tracy Jones 

[00:00:00] Blake Melnick: Well, welcome to this week's episode of, for what it's worth. I'm your host Blake Melnick. This is an exciting episode for me as we turn our attention to our music series, pass the jam and the official passing of the jam from our current artist in residence, Douglas, Cameron, [00:01:00] to an exciting new artist. 

[00:01:02] Blake Melnick: This is a two-part episode. Part one will be my interview with our new artists. And part two is the official passing of the jam where our current artists and residents Douglas Cameron will join us in the conversation. 

[00:01:14] Blake Melnick: We've been trying out a new approach to introducing our guests on the show. Instead of me reading their bio we're letting our guests introduce themselves. We kind of figured that most of us cringe when somebody introduces us, certainly in my head, I go, is this really me? We also figured most people tune out when somebody else reads another person's bio. All to say, I was interviewed on a podcast recently called because you need to know hosted by Edmund Morris. And he used the approach of having the guests introduce themselves. 

[00:01:43] Blake Melnick: And I really liked it because it allows the guests to talk about the things that are really passionate about. So without further ado, please meet our new artist in residence. For what it's worth. 

[00:01:55] Tracy Jones: Nice to meet y'all. I'm Tracy Jones. I'm a, , Toronto based singer, songwriter, recording [00:02:00] artist. I've been in the scene for many years. I started out in bands way back into the new wave days of the late eighties and early nineties. Started recording my own solo stuff coming up into the late nineties, early two thousands.

[00:02:14] Tracy Jones: Started with a co-production, an album called Picture This, that I co-wrote and produced with an artist named Andrea Florian. Put out my first solo album in 2010, which was called Once Around, which was completely self-produced and mostly self-recorded. I had a couple of artists. My new album is Lucky Time. It came out at the beginning of 2023. It's a full production album produced by Jerry Mosby. I'm sure we're gonna talk lots about that, but that's \ the short biography history. I've been a player in the Toronto scene for many years. In a combination of original music doing session work with other independent artists, as well as playing in a couple of relatively notable I'll call it a cover band situation.

[00:02:57] Tracy Jones: We started about 15 years ago, a project [00:03:00] called Community Soul, where we pulled together about a dozen. Pro and semipro level musicians who had all grown up and gotten married and had kids and had careers, but really wanted to give something back. So what we did was we started a band that we donated to large charity galas so that they wouldn't have to pay for entertainment at it, and all the money would go back into the charity.

[00:03:20] Tracy Jones: And we, actually over the 10 or 12 years, helped raise several million dollars for some very big charities and some very small charities. It was great. We were willing to play anywhere we needed to be helpful. I'm also currently playing in a Pink Floyd tribute show a band called Floyd Factor.

[00:03:36] Tracy Jones: So I'm also keeping my finger on my inner Dave Gilmore and playing songs with a band like that in addition to all of my solo stuff, and I'm continuing to write even as we speak.

[00:03:45] Blake Melnick: Tracy. Great to have you on the show. I really like your record, lucky time. And I'm super excited to share it with our listeners. You and I were connected through a member of the band community, soul. I know we'll talk about them a little bit later on.[00:04:00] Terry Donnelly, whose family is deeply entrenched in the music scene. Both in Eastern and in Western Canada. 

[00:04:06] Blake Melnick: And I know you guys play together a lot. and it was Terry that reached out to me and said, you know, You should have Tracy Jones on the show. He's just released a new record. and it's absolutely fantastic. So here we are. What I particularly loved about your record. Tracy was the diversity. And variety of your songs. 

[00:04:24] Blake Melnick: When you send me a copy. 

[00:04:25] Blake Melnick: I shared it with my kids who are both musicians and avid music listeners, and they have a really good sense of the emerging music scene. 

[00:04:32] Blake Melnick: And I know some musicians don't like to have their music compared with that of other artists. But as the philosopher, Piaget said, when we're confronted with something new, we tend to relate it to something familiar. And I think you'll like these comparable's Here are some of the responses. They sent me following their first listen of your record. Really like this record.

[00:04:52] Blake Melnick: His sound was reminiscent of Bowie during the hero years, and I heard influences of modest mouse and blue [00:05:00] rodeo in the vocals. 

[00:05:01] Blake Melnick: The band is amazing. 

[00:05:02] Blake Melnick: Very tight. 

[00:05:04] Blake Melnick: I'm glad to have you on the show as part of our past the jam. series. And of course, we'll be bringing on our current artist in residence, Douglas Cameron, to join us in the conversation shortly. But let's begin with a little bit about you. 

[00:05:17] Blake Melnick: I do this with all my guests. 

[00:05:19] Blake Melnick: I want our listeners to understand. where you came from, what you're all about. And who, and what influenced you in your music career? So you were born and raised in Toronto, correct? 

[00:05:30] Tracy Jones: Born and raised in Toronto. If you've seen the cover of Lucky Time, you'll see that the cover is actually a picture of me at age four with a little old Yamaha acoustic guitar on my lap. And I came about that honestly, my two brothers are a little bit older than me 15 years It was one of those happy accidents. I like to refer to myself as with my parents. So both of my brothers were teenagers when I was four years old and they were both in a high school band I think it was called The Odyssey or something like that. And my brother Doug played bass and my brother Dave played [00:06:00] guitar sixties pop kind of band. And I grew up listening to some great music that was coming from the basement. That's what I always talk about and I think it's ironic that I'm in my basement now talking to you guys about my music and that's the effect that I've had on my kids as well. But when I think about the music that I was listening to when I was four and five years old I wasn't listening to pop music.

[00:06:22] Tracy Jones: I was listening to Sam and Dave and Booker t and the Mgs, and then on the other side of it, my brothers were products of the sixties generation. I was listening to the Ugly Ducklings and Blues Magoos and the Moody Blues all of that kind of psych rock incense and peppermints by the strawberry alarm clock was one that I always remember. And it helped plot a course for me that and I think there was a real turning point moment for that where I was like, I wanna learn how to do this. And that was when I heard the album Beatlemania, the first Beatles album. My brothers had a copy of it. the Beatles might have broken up at that point. But I was just a kid and I was hearing this music and I thought it was really cool. And it was the [00:07:00] beginning of something for me. 

[00:07:01] Blake Melnick: It's fascinating how we're influenced by the people around us. It was the same for me growing up, I was listening to music. From the older brothers of friends of mine, they were playing things like Spirit and Strawbs and The Who. And I was obviously too young to really appreciate the music. But it did set me on the 

[00:07:21] Blake Melnick: path. Of my musical education. When did you start playing?

[00:07:27] Tracy Jones: I used to sneak down to the basement when my brothers weren't home and literally just grab a guitar and try to find sounds my first guitar lesson, for real though, I would say I was probably in grade three, grade four, or something like that.

[00:07:39] Tracy Jones: I went to a Catholic school and one of the things that you had to do when you went to Catholic school in Toronto was a once a month you had to go to Mass and there was a church folk group. I remember the principle, Mr. Faye very well. He gave me my first guitar lessons what I didn't know at the time was that I was learning these hymns.

[00:07:56] Tracy Jones: But the chord progressions of those hymns were all [00:08:00] usually based on 1950 songs that right. And, in a weird way, by learning these church songs. I was learning the fundamentals of rhythm. I was learning the fundamentals of chord structure. I was learning relative relationships between sounds and what made people wanna sing along. A good chorus comes from a good refrain in a church hymn where everybody knows the words and everybody sings

[00:08:28] Tracy Jones: along now not practicing. Catholic anymore or anything, but it sure gave me an honest start going

[00:08:33] Blake Melnick: And how old were you when this was all going on? 

[00:08:36] Tracy Jones: I was probably around 10 I remember the very first time I stood up in front of people and played as part of that church group thing at my school. And I had no idea what was going on. I got up there and I understood what it meant the first time to experience that freeze that you have of stage fright. Forgot everything I had practiced and learned. And you know what I think with some people it makes you just wanna give up and not continue with it [00:09:00] and with other people. It makes you wanna stiffen your resolve and say no, I can nail this. I can do this.

[00:09:04] And so I did I took my first electric guitar lesson. I remember I was probably about 12 or 14. First song I learned was back in the USSR.

[00:09:14] Tracy Jones: I remember that vividly when I went to high school I went to a private boy’s school, St. Mike's in 

[00:09:20] Tracy Jones: Toronto. 

[00:09:21] Tracy Jones: Being a boy named Tracy, who's a music guy a school full of, of artists and jocks was a challenge. But I remember in grade 11, some guys asked me if I would come and jam with them because they were getting ready for a rock night. And it was very much the Marty McFly moment from Back to the Future.

[00:09:39] Tracy Jones: I walked in I plugged a fender telecaster that's still hanging on the wall behind me into a trainer guitar Amp, turned it up to 10 and hit an, a chord and blew the windows out of the music room at the school. And they were like, okay, this guy has a reason to keep it. And you know what? I think that's where the hook was really set though, [00:10:00] was the power of hearing what you could do. And I actually wrote a line about this in one of my songs, three chords on a sunburst wire, like just. It's three chords in the truth, but just the idea of taking a beautiful sunburst guitar and plugging it into an app and turning it up and hammering because at the time I was really into the Who I loved what Pete Townsend was about as a guitar player because he wasn't all about finesse and it wasn't like Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page who were so brilliant in Virtuoso in their performing, he treated the guitar like it was a baseball bat man.

[00:10:32] Tracy Jones: He just hammered on it and had so much visceral energy towards it. And that's what really attracted me to it. I think it was a real a real emotional outlet for me, more than a technical exercise in trying to become a fast guitar player or a flashy guitar player. It was really more about expressing my personality through that instrument and having it say things about me that I wasn't able to say out loud by

[00:10:55] Tracy Jones: myself. 

[00:10:56] Blake Melnick: John Hyatt wrote a song called Perfectly Good Guitar about [00:11:00] Townsend and his abuse of the guitar. So when did you make the commitment that you wanted to be a professional musician?

[00:11:09] Tracy Jones: , that's a great question. I wonder if other people feel the same way. It just happened, it just evolved. There's a point where you decide whether something is your life or your livelihood.

[00:11:17] Tracy Jones: And I think that over the natural evolution of myself as a guitar player and the validation that I got personally from performing and playing and being an entertainer I think it just became a natural progression that one thing led to another. And the big turning point obviously was in the mid-eighties I met a guy we were sitting at the Ontario Place Forum like we used to do waiting.

[00:11:40] Tracy Jones: 'cause went in the morning and saved seats all day to see your favorite artist. And there was another guy sitting behind me and he had a portable stereo and he was listening to the first Spando Ballet album. And he had turned the EQ so all the horns were really loud.

[00:11:55] Tracy Jones: And I thought that was really cool. And we started talking about the vision for a band bringing groove [00:12:00] oriented music together with heavy guitars. And at the time I didn't even really know that what I was describing was the first Duran album with really great synthetic grooves Andy Taylor being such a, an absolute God on guitar rocking out.

[00:12:13] Tracy Jones: And so we started a band and it took off. We did well and recorded a couple of 12-inch singles that got a fair amount of airplay and one thing led to another. And you're making videos and you're on much music and music plus and you really feel like you're on the ride at

[00:12:28] Tracy Jones: that point. 

[00:12:29] Blake Melnick: Did you get a lot of support from your family? You went to a private school and I did too, so I know what all that entails. Was your family supportive?

[00:12:36] Tracy Jones: That's a great question. But I'll tell you my mom and dad were what I call depression era parents, right?

[00:12:43] Tracy Jones: They were born in the twenties. My dad served in World War ii. My mom worked at a munitions factory so they came from very traditional values and I think that they were conflicted about me because I wanted to do stuff that wasn't the tried and true path of get up, go to [00:13:00] school get a job get a degree, get a job, get married, have kids, blah, blah, blah. But I think half of it particularly with my mom was she couldn't handle the affectation that came being band eighties, right? I went from being a normal hair kid with shaggy long hair and then all of a sudden, I'm getting my hair buzzed on the sides and it's three different colors and I'm wearing eyeliner and I'm in a band and I've got Comrags designing my wardrobe, and we're on stage and we're doing all this stuff. It was just like another world. And I think that my parents were a little bit terrified, their son saying. This wasn't a hobby to them. They realized that this was like a big deal when your mom turns on much music and there's your video Erica M introducing our video on much music. I think it started to sink in with them eventually, that this wasn't just a hobby for me and I think that like most parents, they worried about whether it was gonna be a financially viable thing, whether it was gonna be, and I'll tell you that, that programming set in because there was a point where I did walk away from the [00:14:00] idea of music being a way to make money and be a livelihood. 

[00:14:03] Tracy Jones: I got a degree in radio and TV arts at Ryerson. My goal was to go into production and get into music documentaries. I really wanted to do stuff like what the Sound Source Radio Network was doing back then and all of that on CKFM. I think it's indicative of the way people are.

[00:14:18] Tracy Jones: We fall into things sometimes if we leave ourselves open to them. I fell into advertising. I was working as a gopher in the advertising department at Eaton's and they said, Hey, you've got a degree. You probably know how to read. Why don't you become a proof reader? And so I became a proof reader. And when I started proofreading copy, I realized that writing it paid five grand more. So I said, I can write copy. This is great. So I fell into a career as a, an advertising person. But the cool thing about that is. I was involved in music as an advertising person and it was part of my DNA, it was who I was. And it's ironic that I hadn't even thought about it until we were having this conversation right now. That's where I met Jerry Mosby, who [00:15:00] produced my album. met him in the commercial music space. He was working for a very big music house called Harris Cole Wilde back then Ralph Cole was the founding guitar player of Lighthouse. And Doug Wilde is a musical genius. And Roger Harris was the executive producer. And I always had my finger in music, but I got to do it in a way where I was also making a salary in advertising. So I continued playing. I was always playing. I was doing session work.

[00:15:27] Tracy Jones: I, I joined the A FFM. I started playing on a lot of sessions. I started writing a lot of the jingles that we were working on, or co-writing. And my music background really fed into that. 

[00:15:37] Blake Melnick: You and Douglas, Cameron have that in common. I think being a musician these days does require a multi-talented or a multifaceted approach to your career. If you want to continue to do what you love, so many of the people on our show have talked about this.

[00:15:51] Blake Melnick: There's a bit of a mindset issue where somewhere in the back of your mind, you've set this as your goal, you want to do this, but along the way, there are realities like making [00:16:00] money and supporting your family and so forth. So you have to adapt and shift and do whatever you can to remain within that space around music.

[00:16:08] Blake Melnick: And all our guests have talked about that, the need to do other things, but somehow to bring that back to the music. , you've mentioned some of your early influences, but I'd like to drill down a bit on that.

[00:16:18] Blake Melnick: We're the people that really inspired you both in terms of. composition In terms of your guitar playing, who were the people you were listening to back in the early days and Who's influencing you?

[00:16:30] Tracy Jones: Back in the early days when I was listening to the incredible stuff coming up from the basement that my older brothers were listening to my earliest influences for sure would be the Beatles. And I would say the Moody Blues factor in heavily because one of my brothers listened to them constantly.

[00:16:47] Tracy Jones: And I couldn't help be impressed by the grandness of the narrative of an album, like Days of Future Past and the storytelling and the imagination. And then as I got a little older I was always drawn [00:17:00] to and I didn't, wasn't able to articulate why back then, but I was always really drawn to the stacks r and b world.

[00:17:06] Tracy Jones: More so actually for me than Motown. I preferred the edginess, and again, I didn't have the language even back then to talk about what I liked about that versus what I liked about Motown. But I think when I look back on it now with what I know, just that tension between Steve Cropper and Donald Duck Dunn a couple of dudes playing in a rhythm section with Booker t and those guys and that edge that they put in their music and the live energy off the floor that they were getting really guided a lot of my playing as a rhythm guitar player.

[00:17:35] Tracy Jones: I've always been known for having a good right hand for the rhythm. Of things in a really good sense of time. And I think that was baked into me listening to that music. And then you know what I don't mind admitting it. I remember a friend of mine, a kid that I was in grade school with, showed me this album by this band called Kiss, and it was Kiss Alive, and it blew my mind. Ace Frehley just blew my mind. [00:18:00] Just the whole spectacle of it and the complete sensory experience that band represented. As juvenile as a lot of the songs are. It was powerful. and it was that feeling and that led me naturally into who's influencing those guys?

[00:18:13] Tracy Jones: And then I started to go back and I'm like, oh, wow. The who Tommy was such a huge album for me when I was a kid, but it was actually the movie Tommy, because remember that was I think 77, I would've been 14 years old seeing that movie and seeing Elton John's version of Pinball Wizard and seeing Eric Clapton playing Eyesight to the Blind and the So Boy Williamson Tune, which again took me into blues.

[00:18:37] Tracy Jones: So there was, there's just all these things. I feel like I grew up in the perfect time in music where it was, we were still analog. We were still. Doing everything live without a net kind of thing. But things were getting bigger and more theatrical and there was a lot of storytelling. And then the biggest thing of all that happened was the band Rush. Alex Lifeson is[00:19:00] a hero for so many guitar players. I don't think I need to say much about him, but I just wanted to learn everything I could that he did. And that took me from being just a rhythm player that liked to bang around on the guitar and every now and then, hack out a little bit of a solo to wanting to learn the, all of the as my wife Sandra calls it, the weedly

[00:19:22] Tracy Jones: parts of all those songs. And that's where it just became an obsession with learning how to play that stuff and learning what the approaches were to that kind of music. So I would say that was all of the formative stuff that really got me into it. But it's weird because it was like this blend of heavy metal Zeppelin, rush the who kiss and really funky stuff like Booker t and the Mgs and all of those kind of bands that were coming out of the Atlantic RB scene.

[00:19:52] Tracy Jones: And the Stax music scene of the sixties and seventies.

[00:19:55] Blake Melnick: Well, it sounds like you and I grew up around the same time and I suspect we're [00:20:00] about the same age. and, I had similar influences to yours. And it's interesting that you mentioned the moody blues because your music does have a level of orchestration to it. That's reminiscent of the moody blues. 

[00:20:11] Blake Melnick: And I often wonder with musicians growing up and being influenced by all of those different music around them. There must be a challenge in trying to find. Your sound. How much of a struggle was that for you to find your own sound in amongst all these people that were influencing you?

[00:20:28] Tracy Jones: You know what, I would say that was one the hardest things because. As you're growing as a songwriter, you pick up a guitar and you play, D to A to G and you go, I can't write in that. Everybody's done And I questioned so many of the things that I was writing, not because I felt like I was copying somebody else, but because I felt like I wasn't doing something completely original that nobody had ever thought of. And then what I realized is the thing that's completely original that nobody ever thought of is

[00:20:57] Tracy Jones: me. It's me and my voice and [00:21:00] my interpretation and the way I sing those songs and I should have known better because I love Bob Dylan. I love listening to folk music it is a common language.

[00:21:08] Tracy Jones: It is a songbook that we all read from, but when you bring your own interpretation to it. Then you become really free. And I think that was one of the things that really held me back originally as a songwriter, was worrying that my stuff wasn't different enough. And then I realized sometimes when you write something to be different for its own sake, it's actually just not that accessible.

[00:21:27] It doesn't connect with you. I'll tell you great story. I was on stage with Paul Reddick and the Sideman years ago. And I was always nervous when I played with them because they're so good. And Fergus Marsh was playing bass with them at the time who was just a monster bass player. And it came time on one of the songs to play a solo. And Paul just put his hand on my shoulder on stage and he goes, tell me a story, man. And that was a changing moment for me. It's amazing. These things we remember, right? Especially when we're doing an interview like this. And I realized. I have stories to [00:22:00] tell and whether those stories are instrumental or whether they're lyrical. That's valid. I have permission to tell stories. and you know what? It's up to the listener then to decide whether it connects with them or not.

[00:22:10] Tracy Jones: Because I really truly believe that when you write a song, the minute you put it out, there you are allowing the song to not be your song anymore. You want it to become somebody else's song. That's why when I look up to Bruce Springsteen or I look at Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits and bands like that, I remember a Mark Knopfler interview where he said, I'll play Sultans of Swing at every show that I do, because that's not my song anymore.

[00:22:31] Tracy Jones: That's my big crowd's song and they wanna hear me play it and I owe that to them., that's an oral tradition and us all feeling like we have a piece of it,

[00:22:39] Blake Melnick: That's a great point. Douglas and I talked about this in our interview as well. When I hear a song, I develop an interpretation. about that song, what it means to me. And what I interviewed Douglas, I gave him my interpretation of his song. Nightfall. And his response was, wow. 

[00:22:55] Blake Melnick: I never thought about that. 

[00:22:57] Blake Melnick: That's a valid interpretation you had. I [00:23:00] didn't see that meaning in my own song. And I remember the playwright, Sam Shepard used to do the same thing. People would ask him, what's your play about? And he'd go. I have no idea. It's my play. I wrote it, 

[00:23:13] Blake Melnick: but I really leave it up to my audience to interpret my words and to give meaning to my work. So that sort of goes to your point, that when you write a song and deliver that song to an audience or put it on a record. It really is no longer just your song. 

[00:23:28] Blake Melnick: It now belongs to the listener as it connects with their subconscious, their memories, et cetera. I think that's a great thing about music. And all learned for that matter. 

[00:23:38] Blake Melnick: Well, let's jump right over to the record. Lucky time released in 2022. 

[00:23:43] Tracy Jones: end of 22.

[00:23:44] Blake Melnick: Tell me about the title.

[00:23:45] Tracy Jones: It's funny when you're trying to name an album it is a bit of a process and I had been playing with a bunch of ideas for what I thought the album might be called, but then when I wrote Lucky Time I realized that it was the right title in my history as a person. It [00:24:00] also reflected to me that we've been through so much in the last couple of years With Covid and with losing people. And we'll probably talk about it at some point, but there's one song on the album at the very last song on the album is dedicated to my middle brother Doug, who passed away, suddenly. And there is so much to be down on right now, right? Like we're wondering whether anything we hear is true

[00:24:24] Tracy Jones: anymore. We're having trouble trusting our institutions. We're having trouble trusting any legacy media. And at the same time when you try to break yourself away from the deluge of information that we have coming at us all the time and look in your backyard look around you.

[00:24:39] Tracy Jones: I hate to use the cliché of count your blessings, but when you think about the people that you know, that you love and the fortune that you have to have met my wife Sandra how much I love my kids. Kyle and Ryland are both amazing now, not so young man.

[00:24:53] Tracy Jones: They're in their twenties. And I'm lucky. I've got some incredible friends and I've got an incredible support network of people who I know [00:25:00] genuinely care about me and I care about them too. And it got me to the idea that we have to focus on the lucky time. We have to focus on. That part of our existence. Because and I know there's all, , all the clichés, you can't have the good without the bad and all of that kind of stuff. But I think that sometimes we get so fixated on negativity and algorithmic world that we live in now, is constantly reinforcing garbage to us.

[00:25:26] Tracy Jones: It's taking all of our fears and all of our insecurities and all the things that are not us at our best, and just jamming more of them

[00:25:33] Tracy Jones: at us our morbid curiosities, all of that. That song, lucky Time is on one level. It's a relationship song, but on another one, it's just about taking a step back.

[00:25:42] Tracy Jones: There's a lyric that says look at us now here, you and me watching the river rise from behind the trees. We know the flood waters are rising, but you know what, we're seeing it happen together and if we have each other and we support each other then we can see goodness in that,

[00:25:56] Blake Melnick: Absolutely. And I think to a certain degree, I'm not [00:26:00] saying musicians have a responsibility, but they got to chronicle the last few years of the world just as you've articulated, how much it's changed, how much we're being influenced by external forces how much we're trying to search for that truth, that I think it's a unique opportunity for musicians and songwriters.

[00:26:18] Blake Melnick: To chronicle this period and provide a different perspective there are also positive things because you're right, what seems to be happening these days is a lot of negative influences. I cut off my news channel because I realized that every morning what I was doing, and I think that most people probably do too.

[00:26:36] Blake Melnick: You reach for your coffee, you reach for your phone pops up the news. And I found myself starting every day angry. Just angry. I'd read stuff and I'd go, who would possibly write something like that? And I realized it started to have a very negative influence on me, and I'm a very positive person.

[00:26:56] Blake Melnick: I turned off all my notifications so that I could actually [00:27:00] start to feel more like myself. So I think that's a great point. 

[00:27:03] Blake Melnick: So let's jump right to the album. I'm going to play a clip from the first 

[00:27:07] Blake Melnick: track, and then we can have a chat about it. [00:28:00] that was only love. I got to say, I love the intro to that tune. It's amazing. The heavy drum beat that kicks and I really got me going, has that real, oomph, that I love. So tell me a little bit about that song 

[00:28:25] Tracy Jones: that one was a fun one. That was actually the last song I

[00:28:28] Tracy Jones: wrote, for the album. It came out of a jam. I was up north at my brother John Cook's cottage, a good buddy of mine. And he is a musician and his son is a musician and up at his cottage there are mandolins everywhere and guitars everywhere and tabla, drums and all kinds of stuff to play around with. And I got up one morning and just started playing that lick, that oodle doom. Then John came down and he grabbed another guitar and he started [00:29:00] playing slide. And then Adrian, his son, came down and grabbed a mandolin and started playing mandolin. And we played it for ages. We all were just really in a circular groove with it. It was almost a reflection, like a meditation 

[00:29:12] Blake Melnick: I love that whole idea of a song developing from a jam session. I think that's absolutely amazing. I love to play that way. I like it when somebody just starts a song and somebody else joins in and a jam session. Eventually coalesces into something more than that. And in your case, A great song... 

[00:29:30] Tracy Jones: I brought it home and I'd had the idea originally of writing a Crosby stills and Nash and young kind of song with a lot of harmony. And as I evolved the song though and I wrote the lyrics, it pulled itself to being more personal in terms of the verses slow My Love, slow.

[00:29:48] Tracy Jones: It's how we've always been. It's how we know it's the space between, it always grows slow. And so it was about being small and again, that idea of pulling in good things to toward yourself. And then [00:30:00] when the chorus comes out though, it's more about our universal, the universal us, right?

[00:30:04] Tracy Jones: That there's always a way to try to find love. We always need to be looking for that. And trying to write those things in a way that didn't sound cliché or impersonal. So that's where that song naturally grew toward that. And when Jerry and I started working together on it, where we started was here in this basement actually.

[00:30:21] Tracy Jones: And what we did was we, and this is probably segueing a bit into process I think you wanted to talk about a bit, but we played these songs. He pushed me to play them over and over and over again, which I'd never done before. I had never really been pushed that way by a producer.

[00:30:38] Tracy Jones: And he just said, I'm gonna burn these songs in, man you gotta get these so that you know them off the top of your head like. And we played it over and over again, and the vibe just started to evolve. And another big band that was influential to me back in the day with Simple Minds. And so I had this idea of getting that kind of [00:31:00] Charlie Birchell guitar, that kind of dreamy guitar kind of vibe and blending that. So there's, there are some elements of that sort of late eighties, early nineties production

[00:31:08] Tracy Jones: vibe in it. But fundamentally that song, like all the songs on the album is a song that I can pick up a guitar and play. They're not production songs in that pure sense of the word. The interesting part of the process though, was to record all these songs as a production like this. But then I had to go back and learn my over again to go out and deliver them live. , I often jokingly say I feel like I'm a cover band in my own music because you're always figuring out how do I interpret this music live?

[00:31:36] Tracy Jones: Which goes down to the approach that we took. We could have been a band situation. The original thing we talked about is putting four or five people together, rehearsing all the songs and then almost recording a live off the floor kind of approach to it. But I decided that in terms of my workflow and in terms of my focus Jerry and I got to the point where we said, okay, no, let's work together.

[00:31:58] Tracy Jones: Let's do this together. [00:32:00] And then we pulled in the people that we wanted to pull in. So everybody that plays on this album is somebody that I know. Quite well. And fortunately I know some really good musicians. And so between Jerry's skill as a bass player and a keyboard guy and myself on guitar and I brought David Lageth in, who is a very accomplished drummer has toured all over the world.

[00:32:23] Tracy Jones: And Tim Ick played drums on one Edward Pond, played bass on one, and then a virtuoso guitar hero of mine. David Barrett came in and did some atmospheric stuff on tomorrow. Never knows 

[00:32:35] Blake Melnick: let's move on to the next song. We rise. We fall to me. This was the Anthem song of the record. Tell me about this tune.

[00:32:43] Tracy Jones: It's a personal song. It's a song about me sharing a little bit of things that were eating away at me at the time when I was writing. The idea of when you become a person of a certain age and you've been through lots of life lessons you wonder why am I waking up at [00:33:00] three o'clock in the morning and my mind is going 24,000 miles an hour? I hear that from a lot of people that I'm friends with. I know that a lot of people will go, yeah, no. It's like I just, I find I wake up and my mind is just flying. And that's the first verse. I woke up in a sweat

[00:33:15] Tracy Jones: of fear. If we share that with each other and we're open and vulnerable with each other about those things, that's how we make it better.

[00:33:23] Tracy Jones: And that's where that chorus came from. We rise, we fall, we make it better afraid of falling apart together. And it's interesting, when I originally wrote that song I wrote it in G and including the chorus and Jerry who again, was really pushing me to help me find my voice in all of this, not just in terms of the technical singing of it, but in terms of my energy. He said, I want you to take the chorus up to C. All of a sudden, I went from very comfortably singing I will come up in a sweat of here to We Rise, and I'm belting it out. And then we added the stadium refrain, as I call

[00:33:56] Tracy Jones: it, the oh part. But what I love so much about that [00:34:00] song is. When I go to a concert, like I'm still that kid, like I still, when I go to a concert, I get lost in it. I took my sons and my wife. We went and saw Flaming Lips and I was the one jumping up and down screaming, do you realize you have the most beautiful face? Just loving that stuff and that feeling when you're at a concert and the entire crowd is singing a chorus. That feeling, that energy it is transcendent to me. And I wanted something on the album that felt like that. It goes with the lucky time thing. It goes with the idea of let's be cathartic. Let's exhale let's shake this, let's get this off of us.

[00:34:38] Tracy Jones: And. Let's be resilient and big find our grandness again. And that's what that refrain feels like for me.

[00:34:45] [00:35:00] [00:36:00] 

[00:36:28] Blake Melnick: That was rise and fall from Tracy Jones. New record, lucky time. 

[00:36:33] Blake Melnick: we talked about this in the pre-call. I'd recently seen the Peter Gabriel show, in Vancouver. And of course, as soon as he launches into the song, BIKO it's a transcendent experience. I've seen him many times. He always plays the song, but when he does, everybody stands up, holds up their lighters and starts to sing. And like you, when I go to a show, I want to immerse myself in the experience. And in my interview [00:37:00] recently with Tom powers. We discussed the importance of interpersonal, musical entrainment. between the artist and the audience. It's that feeling you get when everybody is in sync with the music and the musicians on stage, 

[00:37:12] Blake Melnick: and it all becomes part of the sound. experience. Gabriel's a master at it. He draws the audience in and allows the audience to take ownership over the course of that song.

[00:37:23] Tracy Jones: I think that would definitely be an influence on many of us as songwriters. That feeling of a song like In Your Eyes,

[00:37:29] Tracy Jones: or Biko he was always good that way. Like even in his earlier stuff, songs like on the Air where , you just wanna. Belt those at the top of your lungs in the car. I'm still that kid, man. I'm still that kid that I turned it up way too loud in the car and people will be pulling up next to me at stoplights laughing at me. 'cause they'll see that I am on stage at Massey Hall in my car.

[00:37:49] Blake Melnick: Sure. We all love to do that.

[00:37:52] Tracy Jones: Yeah.

[00:37:53] Blake Melnick: The final song I want to talk about. And then I'm going to bring Douglas Cameron into the conversation is the song [00:38:00] rain. Now, this struck me as a real orphan from the rest of the 

[00:38:03] Blake Melnick: tunes on the record. I love solo acoustic music, and it was a beautiful song, but I'd like to understand why did you choose. To include this song on the record. 

[00:38:13] Tracy Jones: Rains a funny one. It's actually, I would say. It is in the top two or three favorite played songs by the listeners. I get comments about rain all the time. Both of my sons actually have always said that they just love when I play solo acoustic stuff like that. For those who haven't heard it yet, there's no lyrics in rain.

[00:38:32] Tracy Jones: an instrumental. The original recording of that I was sitting in my dining room looking out over my backyard and I was trying to play in open d tuning and I was trying to match the flow of the storm that was my window. And the build and the growth and the quieting. And so I recorded this thing just with a little task am, portable recorder and really liked it. It was a one take kind of thing that I had done so. When I [00:39:00] was working on tracks for the album, I had said to Jerry that maybe I'll release this one as a bonus track and I'll put it on after the fact because it is a little bit of an

[00:39:08] Tracy Jones: outlier, but as it turns out, it really isn't.

[00:39:11] Tracy Jones: The goal I had in writing the album was to not do 10 songs that all sound like subsets of each other. One of the hardest things in recording an album is how do you come up with a bunch of different stuff for your album that doesn't sound so different that the album has no

[00:39:25] Tracy Jones: connective tissue, but at the same time feels like you and doesn't feel like the same song over and over again And rain.

[00:39:32] Tracy Jones: I gave it to Jerry, and all of a sudden, he came back and he said, now I've done something . I wanna know what you think. Let it sink in. And he put that groove behind it that kicks about halfway into the song. And at the beginning you go, I wasn't hearing it like that. And you're wondering if it makes sense and then I thought, no it's exactly what that piece needed to help give it some connective tissue to the [00:40:00] rest of the album, but also take it away from just being my thing. Me doing a finger picking exercise and giving it a groove, put everybody else in the

[00:40:11] Tracy Jones: song and the more I listened to it, the more I liked it I don't like production for its own sake. I tend to be pretty deliberate about what we did on the album. And that the idea that it built with the song. Thematically with the idea of rain, and then it crashes down as the rain quiets down and the storm passes by sounds so highfalutin when talk about it, try to intellectualize But it really was just a, an exercise in feeling 

[00:40:39] Blake Melnick: Here's rain from Tracy Jones. 

[00:40:42] [00:41:00] [00:42:00] 

[00:42:36] Blake Melnick: You made that point earlier, the struggle of trying to put together a record. We're not all songs sound the same. Well, still maintaining that connective tissue. And I think you did that extraordinarily well, in fact, on my first list 

[00:42:49] Blake Melnick: and I thought, wow, there's a lot of variety here. It doesn't all sound the same. And that's part of what I really liked about the record. 

[00:42:56] Blake Melnick: Okay, well, I'm going to bring Douglas Cameron into the conversation. 

[00:42:59] Blake Melnick: Now. [00:43:00] he's the current artist in residence and holder of the jam for the official passing of the jam. 

[00:43:05] Blake Melnick: Douglas, over to you. 

[00:43:07] Blake Melnick: This concludes part one of lucky time. With Tracy Jones, part of our past the jam series. We'll be back again next week with part two, where our current artist in residence Douglas Carmen will join us for the official passing of the jam. For what it's worth. 

Pass the Jam
Influences and Finding Your Sound
Explore "Lucky Time" Album and Concept
Evolution of Songs and Musical Experiences
Album Variety and Deliberate Production