In the fall of 2015, I began a series of transitory life events. One of which was a trip to Red Deer, Alberta, to attend a show i felt would be life changing. I didn’t fully comprehend to what extent, but as it turns out, the serendipity of following songs as guidemaps of the heart becomes a fascinating adventure.
i wrote Dan Mangan a longwinded email filled with fanfare akin to a ticker tape parade, and waited until the morning of the show to hit send. I got on a bus and treated myself to a soul journey of meeting the poet who understands life in a way i could never believe was a voice that could silence anxiety by continuing the conversation with questioning.
i knew good music was possible, and that feeling at my deepest core that says to preserve social justice in daily interactions would someday find a home. As it turns out, all the time old classics get the nostalgia going something fierce, but I am so very grateful for modern writers who keep up honest + weird folk culture alive.
that, in essence, was the tone of the email. that i am happy he has continued to treat words – and his audience – with the respect they deserve. oh, and that his son and I share the same name. Jude is a name with parallel strength and vulnerability which i am pleased to bear, i have chosen it. To name a new human with a name drenched in cultural meaning is a bold move as well. But, I agree, it’s a good name. Jude Mangan, I’m glad you exist.
….i digress. the trip became an existential overload where the email turned into a series of subsequent interactions from stage to merch table signings. From 2010 to present, i’ve enjoyed every moment of the 10 live shows for another reminder of how to be 1000% real.
though i’ve been raised within a monumentally supportive community of folk musicians, it was only about 6 years ago i started to really there’s an amazing indie music scene running through Canadian soil. ever since I’ve been asking myself, everyone, and the man himself – “who is Dan Mangan?” … except we specifically avoided that question, we agreed it wasn’t one of those kind of interviews.. instead, my questions began with a brief exchange from the stage: “which came first, the music, or the lyrics?”
my process has changed over the years. when i started i was better at playing guitar than i was at writing songs. now i’m basically the same level of a guitar player as i was then, but i’m better at writing songs, so sometimes the words and melodies hit first.
After the show in Red Deer, we briefly discussed the synchronicity involved in naming his son Jude (with my similar chosen identity). Dan’s affinity for the weighty lyrics in Hey Jude “for well you know it’s a fool who plays it cool by making the world a little colder” offer a uniquely ubiquitous reflection on individuality. (in paraphrase:) ‘To veil yourself to negative experience is also going to inevitably veil yourself to goodness and positivity. Openness to this range of emotion creates an environment for vulnerability, which thereby begets strength.’
It seems to be this vulnerability is an element of his success. Since reflecting on Jude (as a name, as a song, as an identity) further, I’ll bite. ‘So much for fear’ sums up our generation’s connection to Beatles’ wordplay…in a NiceNiceVeryNice way.
(Basket has remained a puzzle piece of live performance since it was written)
stream all of Club Meds here,follow along with the lyrics here.If you’ve read the liner notes(poetry worthy of its own accolade), you’ll know:sedation is massive,we’re all in for the ride ( from XVI).…the conversation continues here, with answers to the great realizations from working with Dave Grohl and thoughts on “career anniversaries”