Faith Healer’s recent release, Cosmic Troubles, orbits a dark galaxy of ‘60s psychedelic indie-pop that never travels too far from the light. From playing in The Tee-Tahs to Punk Explosion, Faith Healer – a.k.a. Jessica Jalbert – steps out with sun-kissed harmonies and echoing fuzz on her sophomore solo effort. Georgie caught up with her to talk about becoming Faith Healer, the spirit of collaboration, and why boxing is not in her future.
G—Your second album, Cosmic Troubles (Mint Records), was released under the name Faith Healer, while your first album, Brother Loyola (2011) was released under your actual name. Why did you adopt an alias for the second album?
Jessica Jalbert—I was running into some challenges when I was using my own name. There are a lot of preconceived ideas about what singer/songwriters performing under their own name might sound like and I didn’t want to feel restricted to that. It’s not just going to be me sitting on a stage with an acoustic guitar, quietly whispering into the microphone. This is a rock band.
G—By taking on this new name, have you developed a stage persona as Faith Healer?
When I started writing and performing music, I was alone. I wasn’t writing large arrangements; I was writing things that I could play by myself on stage. Slowly, over the years, I assembled a band and started writing for a band rather than just writing for myself. This album is me becoming Faith Healer instead of Jessica Jalbert, the solo artist.
JJ—I don’t have a fake persona or anything like that when I’m up on stage. The idea to represent myself as a band and not as a person is indicative of how my music has progressed. When I started writing and performing music, I was alone. I wasn’t writing large arrangements; I was writing things that I could play by myself on stage. Slowly, over the years, I assembled a band and started writing for a band rather than just writing for myself. This album is me becoming Faith Healer instead of Jessica Jalbert, the solo artist.
G—Can you tell me more about the cover of Cosmic Troubles?
JJ—Sure, it’s just a really ugly picture of my teeth.
G—That’s an interesting juxtaposition with your music. Why did you decide to go with that for the album cover?
JJ—It manifests from the idea of having a lot of people watch me while I perform. The thought of that kind of stresses me out, so I wanted to lighten the pressure by not having everything be so focused on me. I’ve always been really insecure about my teeth so I thought I would put them out there for the whole world to see, and then that way it would just be a funny joke.
G—Renny Wilson collaborated with you on Cosmic Troubles, as well as on your first album. Why do the two of you work so well together?
JJ—We’ve been friends for a long time and we have operated in the same kind of circles. We both appreciate each other musically, so I think it works well because we don’t have clashing personalities. I would like to have him involved in any musical project I’m working on because I trust his instincts and he’s just a good guy to work with.
G—You have collaborated with so many local artists. What do you think it is about the Edmonton music scene, or Edmonton, that nurtures collaboration?
JJ—I wonder if it’s the kind of place we are – geographically, and in terms of world city importance. There’s not a lot of bravado in the arts scene in Alberta. It’s not like Montreal, where there’s a reputation of being an artistic central hub in the country. It’s a weird kind of humility. Edmonton doesn’t have a “we’re too big for our britches” kind of mentality, so there’s going to be a lot of collaboration because there’s not a lot of competition. For me, having a lot of people support one another and encourage each other just engenders a lot more positive creation.
G—Last question: if you were a boxer, what would your entrance music be?
JJ—It would be a major bummer song like “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground.
I’m not very aggressive, so I think I would be the worst boxer of all time. I can’t imagine what my entrance would be like. I would probably slink into the ring.
In the ten years since Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg started First Aid Kit, they have been going non-stop. The indie-folk duo got their start when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral, and have since released four albums, won five Swedish Grammis awards, and brought two of their idols to tears on live television. Following a brief hiatus, and four years after their last record, Stay Gold, First Aid Kit is back with Ruins, a raw account of losing love and finding yourself. In the middle of a North American tour, Georgie talked to Klara and Johanna about the new album and what brought them to Ruins. G—You’ve said in past interviews that Stay Gold was a more put-together, polished kind of album, and Ruins is a lot rawer. What caused that shift? JS—The production of Stay Gold is very lush and elegant, and I think that’s what we wanted at the time. But we started longing for this rawness, this almost lo-fi aspect that we had on our first records. [For Ruins]…our attitude was that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If we sing a bum note or there’s a little crack
Charlotte Cardin is on track to having her biggest year yet. The electro jazz-pop singer has been nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at next month’s Juno Awards. Along the way, she has performed at Osheaga—an experience she calls “surreal”, having attended for years growing up in Montréal—and Festival d’été de Québec where she opened for Sting and Peter Gabriel. More recently, she has been touring behind her EPs Big Boy (Cult Nation Records, 2016) and Main Girl (Sony Music, 2017). Through this past September and October, she supported Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), and she’s been on tour with BØRNS since January. This spring, Cardin will headline her own dates. Prior to her full-time career in music, Cardin modelled in fashion which afforded her pocket money and freedom to work on her art. She also competed on the first season of La Voix, a francophone Canadian version of The Voice. But being on television, like modelling, was never her passion. “I never really felt that much pressure when I was on TV. For me, there’s something a lot more real about what I’m doing right now.” She feels more pressure performing her own
Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad