VIDEO PREMIERE: Jennifer Holub – “Way Out” from The Reckoning available 9/28
Canadian singer/songwriter Jennifer Holub’s sophomore album The Reckoning was conceived as a feminist call to arms, but the title also suggests a more literall meaning of punishment. That notion definitely comes through on the new single “Way Out” and its video, shot at the ruins of a once-notoious northern Ontario prison.
“The song ‘Way Out’ speaks to the systemic problem of incarceration and hints at the politicized reasons for incarceration,” Holub says. “It was inspired by the Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill 1979 documentary called Tattooed Tears that documents a failed experiment in youth incarceration. When the youth were experimentally tried and convicted as adults, the outcome was disastrous. The lyric ‘three months has turned itself to six for a dime’ speaks to specific incidences where youth in the prison system were brought in on relatively small charges, but because of the method of institutionalization, being tried as adults, they were adopting criminal behaviour and their sentences were being elongated.”
She adds, “Securing the location for this lyric video was an essential part of the project. I was thrilled when the owner, Josh Reynolds, agreed to let us paint the lyrics on the famed and abandoned Burwash Prison [near Sudbury]. In exchange, he asked that I use any extra paint to cover the vulgar images left behind by trespassers. The site is not for the faint of heart. It is remote and a popular destination for thrill-seekers and graffiti artists since it was abandoned 40 years ago. Under its new ownership, however, entry is restricted and allowable only by permission by the owner.”
Working with co-producer Jonathan Danyliw (Murder Murder, Pistol George Warren) and engineer Matthew Wiewel, The Reckoning marks a major artistic step forward for Jennifer Holub who builds on her previous Americana-tinged sound with a range of elements—everything from vintage soul to EDM—that adds up to a reflection of her home environment in the northern part of the Canadian province of Ontario: pastoral, cold and resilient.
The album also presents the first fruits of Holub’s decision to make music her full-time pursuit, and she’s set up to have the road be her home well into 2019. She says, “I’d been sitting on some of the new songs as ideas for years and I would sing parts of them to myself when I would drive to work. I finally started putting them together when I spent a month at my partner’s family house in the woods. Some of the songs came through me very easily—as if I needed to exorcise something.”
The Reckoning does retain some of the Americana flavor of Holub’s past work, particularly on “Bound For Glory” and the devastatingly confessional “Rider.” However, genre distinctions have less meaning for her than they ever have, and Holub cites artists as diverse as Mavis Staples and Zach de la Rocha as her primary inspiration for The Reckoning. “To me, artists like them represent the potential of music to affect change,” she says. “They have taught me how songs can inspire hearts and minds when rhetoric fails.”
Get The Reckoning from jenniferholub.com