Updated: May 13
by Chris Vasseur
photo by Scott Roos
JJ Voss was walking down the gravel road on his Family farm. Dad was gone, some things were said and there were some things that needed resolve. His three siblings were on his mind. His father's request was on his mind. As he wandered through the hills he could feel his fathers presence. This happens in magical places. Places that are sometimes lost, sometimes left behind. This is where his new single, "A Letter to Dad'', comes from.
The song starts with a beautifully written line:
I can still feel you out in these hills
It brings me peace and it brings me chills
It brings you into the headspace he's in. A hard place.
Voss has talked about the meaning of this song, the words and where they came from: the heart. The decisions that were placed in his path.
But, what I wanted to know (as a fellow songwriter and word nerd) was how the song was brought to life and how it was built. As it turns out, Voss was walking down said road with some hard life decisions at hand. The reflection he felt led him to his guitar as it often does for those who are so inclined to write a verse or two.
Home from the walk, he picked up his guitar and put a letter down for his dad.
Voss is a methodical song smith....taking great care and editing furiously as the song takes shape. Most songs (the good ones, anyhow. Voss says) get "labour(ed) over painstakingly" as he re-writes them word for word, note for note... the labour sometimes taking him months...or even years.
"Every lyric should have a purpose and there shouldn't be any throw away lines".
Once the lyrics were finished and the song was done, he headed to Calgary to record with Russell Broom At OCL Studios. Bed track was recorded with Ben Bradley on drums, Lisa Jacobs on bass guitar with Russel playing all the strings...except the acoustic which JJ played himself.
The song is going to be included on Voss' next record. But first, he needs to deal with the farm.