While Winnipeg might not exactly feel like a fertile music scene to those that live outside the Canadian prairie, Imaginary Cities formed from the small community of musicians and creative folks that encourage themselves to play in up to five bands at a time. Primary songwriters Marti Sarbit and Rusty Matyas met and formed in Winnipeg as Sarbit’s soul-powered voice immediately captured multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Rusty Matyas’s attention at the Cavern, a Winnipeg bar where Sarbit was fronting a Motown cover band and Matyas had come to mix the sound.
Recently, Broken Social Scene began the Broken Social Scene Presents series of albums, where one member takes the reins, starting with front man Kevin Drew’s Spirit If. . . And more recently, bass player Brendan Canning released the next album in the series, Something for All of Us. . . The album has all the telltale marks of BSS – the multi-layered sound, the unbridled genre-hopping, the rough edges and spontaneous moments – but also lets Canning step into the spotlight.
Jason Collett’s latest record, the 2008 release Here’s To Being Here (Arts & Crafts) is a marvelous thing; it’s personal enough to put on when drinking with friends becomes an option. It begs for authenticity through conversation. He pens lyrics like “The perennial fatigue of the times/when you’re long in the tooth/short in the sleeve/there’s nowhere left to hide” which let you into a world you only feel like sharing with your best friend. All this coming from a guy with three children. And when he’s not getting personal, he’s still littering his albums with references to joints and cigarettes.