Nothing But The Facts

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Jessie Brown tackles an East Coast reality on her new single.

Matt Carter

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This weekend, Halifax soul-rock sensation Jessie Brown wraps up her fall tour with a show at The Capital Complex on Saturday October 1.

Along with bassist/guitarist Jason Vautour and drummer Thomas Spence, Brown kicked off this recent string of dates with a show in Toronto the day after the releasing her powerful new single, DEBT, We Ain’t Got No Money, on September 7.  As the title suggests, the song is centered around a major part of our collective identity as East Coasters – being broke.  But as Brown explains, this song aims to highlight much more than her own financial struggles.

“I have an entire album of material all related to different aspects of trying to keep up a certain persona or facade of ourselves, and how that can affect our mental health, our relationships, our bodies, and debt was a huge part of it,” said Brown. “Originally I was talking about my own financial situation, but it grew quite quickly when I realized everyone I knew had the same issue. Since the subject is normally rather taboo, and all of us suffer from it in some way, it becomes this giant weight on our collective shoulders.  I wanted to speak up, and try to give everyone a hug so to speak. Let them know they’re not alone.”

Last year, Fredericton’s Kill Chicago release their debut album The Grey, which touched on similar topics including the western migration of young East Coasters and the realities of student debt. With Brown now throwing her hat in the ring to further fuel the conversation, perhaps we’re witnessing the start of an important shift in East Coast voices choosing to tackle real world issues instead of simply trying to offer an escape.

Through a supporting social media campaign, DEBT, We Ain’t Got No Money has helped ignite an important conversation with people from across the region chiming in to share their own stories of how they relate to the song and the broader theme it presents.

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“I definitely think our current financial situation strengthens our bond as an East Coast community,” said Brown. “Before releasing the single, I had started the hashtag #WeAintGotNoMoney to post a different point of view every day. I didn’t say why. Within a day or two it was starting to spread. Others were posting their situations, or sending me private messages that they couldn’t post publicly.”

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In late August prior to the single’s official release, Brown performed the song live on Global News Morning. A video of the performance posted online has since generated nearly 15,000 views.

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“The reaction was beautiful and somewhat overwhelming,” said Brown.  “From mothers who didn’t eat so they could buy diapers, to students who couldn’t find work but had 40k in student debt, to seniors who can’t afford care. It’s been an emotional response.”

Brown says she’s excited to wrap up the tour in Fredericton, marking the end of an exhausting run that has seen the group rack up several hundred kilometres each weekend for the past month.

“The tour has been great, so far,” she said. “We’ve managed to keep all of the touring to weekends so we can keep our day jobs. This is all to go with the theme of the single. It’s more cost effective to spend more on gas than to lose days of work. We’ve had people singing along the chorus of the single already and they sound beautiful doing it.  I’m really excited to play The Capital. It’s been far too long since we’ve played Fredericton and can’t wait to head back. We’ve got some killer bands to join us – Mrs Hippie and the Electromagnetic Blues Band. It’ll be an eclectic night, and we know people will dig it.”

Jessie Brown + Mrs. Hippie + Electromagnetic Blues Band | The Capital Complex | October 1, 2016 | $6 | View Event

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