Updated: May 11
by Christopher James Vasseur
Photos provided by Sass Jordan
It was about 30 seconds into the interview before Sass Jordan dropped her first F bomb. I knew we were gonna get along right away. During our 30 minute conversation, I don't think there was more than a minute that went by without one of us laughing. Sass comes by her name honestly. She is sassy to be sure, and I loved every second of talking with the Canadian music Icon. She talks like a sailor but is classy as hell with a sharp wit, a good sense of morals and a big ole voice that cannot be duplicated.
I know Jordan’s music from her early days. “Make You a Believer” was a favourite as my musical taste buds were just starting to bloom around 12-13 years old. As was my new interest in girls…I admittedly had a pretty big crush on Jordan in my early teen years. The leather jacket, the rocking tunes, the scratchy vocals….can you blame me?
Then as I got a bit older, Canadian Idol brought the bluesy singer back into my (and a ton of the country’s) consciousness. Jordan was a highlight on the show with her honesty and true love of music and performing shining through. At this point I had no idea she had already played onstage with (or would soon after) the likes of Aerosmith, AC/DC, Foo Fighters (She was a good friend/Mentor of Taylor Hawkins), Jeff Healey and even those Rolling Stones to name but a few. So to say she's had a storied career is a bit of an understatement. Add to that the giant influence she’s had on female (all) performers of all kinds with her fearless truth telling and refusal to be silent about equality and what is really important in this nutty world. She's blazed her own trail and does things her way to this day.
But let's get back to the task at hand. I was chatting with Jordan about her newest record, “Bitches Blues” and her upcoming show in Regina. Hearing her voice, even over speaker phone from across the country, you could tell who it was immediately.
Jordan has always been a bluesy singer. Her discography will tell you this, but she has always had one foot reluctantly in the pop world. When 2020 came around, she decided to immerse herself fully and put out an all blues album. This was “Rebel Moon Blues”. The record we are looking at today is its follow up and kind of a sequel. Born of the pandemic, the new record is a deeper dive into the music that inhibits her soul.
We chat about this as I ask her the famous question, “Do you have to have the blues to sing the blues?”
“Genre is an excuse for people to get elitist….” starts Jordan.
“You're a white person from Canada….What do you know about the blues?”
“Why the sudden change in genre?” She starts to list off some of the comments she's received.
These are some of the example questions she gets and she greets them with the musing that these are phrases from the old way of thinking. Further to that, we are in a period of change right now where ideologies are changing. She, along with myself, are of the opinion it's perhaps time to embrace change. All the while throwing the “rules” in the f**king garbage.
“It’s all silly. It's silly to judge people by the colour of their fucking skin, or religion, or how much money they make….it’s an old paradigm and the old world is dying around us. And for me it can't go quick enough.” Jordan does not mince words and I deeply respect her for it, it also makes the conversation a thousand times more fun when the other person is so passionate and shares some of your views on the world.
She brings the conversation back to the music and explains how it can be such a force of energy and communication between people. It has a way to bring people of different ideologies together and can be a great way to convey feelings and opinions in a palatable way.
“Do you really think arguing about everything is going to make it better?” You can tell she is getting sick of how some of the world has become…but doubles down on music as a healing source. Realistic but hopeful. It's refreshing and charming.
“I think there are a lot of angry people nowadays, they probably need love the most…..it just won't be from me,” she trails off into a burst of laughter.
That combination of heart, honesty and emotion is very apparent on the new record. The album starts off with the track “Still Alive and Well”. Organ swells fill the speakers before the band kicks in (a lot of the same players from the previous record). Jordan's signature growl comes in with the question, “Did you ever take a look to see who's left around?” She goes on to remind everyone she's still here, still in great rock n’ roll shape and can still howl along with the best of them.
This album keeps the pace up with the second track as Sass whispers it to life reminiscent of Janis Joplin's “Mercedes Benz”, a showcase of pure vocal talent. The slide guitar shines through near the end of the track, masterfully played by Jordans partner, guitarist and producer Derek Sharp, or D# as he is sometimes credited.
On track three, Jordan brings it back to the basics with a simple piano/vocal track. Something you would hope to see at the end of the night in a seedy old blues bar. Those are the best performances.
Jordan does not tour often anymore, preferring the home life to the busy pace of touring. When she plays a show, it's out of love of music and out of performing. Plus, she hasn't come out to the prairies lately and she loves these parts:) So, when she comes to play the Regina Mid-Winter Blues Fest on March 4th at the recently renovated and historic Darke Hall, you’d best be there to thank Canada’s Queen of Rock.
I don't want to ruin the album experience for you by listing every song, dive in and listen for yourself. It truly is a blues lovers album with covers by legendary artists like Taj Mahal and Freddie King intertwined with Jordans originals.
At the show Saturday, you can find her playing about 65% bluesy new stuff with a sprinkling of hits thrown in. Showing off her skills at adapting to the world around her. I mean, she is headlining a blues festival.
Her voice has strangely gotten better with time. I would say it has the same growl as the old days but it's more refined now. Like a nice scotch, whiskey…or even wine. Which she hucks too by the way…and it's aptly called Kick Ass Sass, available in white and red. She is obviously even involved in the wine making process, working closely with the winery and not putting it out until it meets her high standards. She's always had her hands in a lot of different artistic endeavours and chooses her extracurriculars carefully.
Asking her for her view of taking on other projects outside music at the end of the interview she says it's pretty simple for her,
“I've got one mandate, It's gotta be fun…..plus money,” she laughs again after a lengthy pause.
And on playing live, “You get to know people on a different level. You can leave the show on a higher vibration because it lifts everyone up. Music is a very powerful tool”.
Tickets to experience this amazing artist linked below along with a preview of what to expect live this Saturday in Regina.
I've never laughed so hard in an interview yet. She is truly a fun spirit with a bit of a naughty side. Sassy indeed.