No Way To Reach is Ogden’s first single under his own name in ages and the third single released by Monopolized Records in as many months.
For a music scene that seems to be constantly battling one setback after another, Saint John’s remarkable artist-led infrastructure continues to be the envy of Atlantic Canada, offering its musicians unwavering hope when the chips are down. And in Saint John, the chips seem to be down a lot these days. The city has no regular venue that supports live music. And the gentrification of its uptown core seems hell bent on commandeering every possible storefront or back alley space where people could gather to share in the ever-important social activity that is regular live music. This is purely an outsider’s perspective, but one I don’t believe to be too far from the truth.
But musicians are resilient. And oftentimes, music can be a form of therapy when we need it the most. Music is also something that builds community. It can also hold one together when needed. This is part of what makes the latest single from Jason Ogden such a win.
No Way To Reach is a great reminder of Ogden’s strength as a writer and performer. Without stepping too far from the roots rock framework of his band Penny Blacks, Ogden leads a quartet made up of several longtime collaborators. Drummer Sean Boyer and guitarist Brett Whittaker, two musicians Ogden has been involved with going back to the early days of Hospital Grade, join with bassist Geoff Smith (Papal Visit, Little You Little Me, Tooth & The Fang) to give Ogden a foundation to build from. The Blue Rodeo vibes are resonating confidently from this track as No Way To Reach calmly unfolds through slow, hanging lyrics and gradual momentum. It’s like taking a long drive with the windows down. Alone with your thoughts. Not exactly sure when you’ll turn back, or if you will at all. It’s also a strong reminder of Ogden’s every-shifting muse and the versatility of his accompanying musicians.
A deeply respected and admired songwriter teaming up with an equally respected city-based indie label (Monopolized Records) to share another new single by a Saint John artist. Beautiful. When the time comes for the city to welcome its next live music stage (more on that soon), there will be a wealth of locally made music ready to make its hometown debut. What a party that will be.