Toronto native Jason Collett has earned accolades for his solo albums and tenure with several different bands -- most notably Broken Social Scene -- but it was his association with fellow songwriter Andrew Cash that first garnered him critical acclaim. After performing in the Andrew Cash Band during the late '80s and early '90s, Collett joined up with Ursula, an alternative rock spinoff of Cash's previous group. The band toured Canada and opened up for acts such as the Odds, but after several years in the music business, Collett decided to give the profession up for several years.
By the mid-'90s, however, the music bug was still in his system, and Collett teamed up with Cash and Hawksley Workman to form the alternative country outfit Bird. The group's sole album, Chrome Reflection, borrowed heavily from pop, rock, and country traditions, all of which would later resurface in Collett's solo work. Before launching his own songwriting career, though, Collett first began hosting a series of singer/songwriter performances that featured members of Blue Rodeo, 54-40, and Skydiggers, among others. A popular meeting place for local musicians, the events helped cement the growing popularity of Toronto's indie music scene.
In 2001, Jason Collett released his debut album, Bitter Beauty, and continued hosting the Flood Family songwriters' forum. He also joined the Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene, which found him playing alongside a number of his Toronto peers. Collett took a break from the band in 2005 to focus on his solo career; he issued his sophomore effort, Idols of Exile, soon after. Buoyed by the album's critical acclaim, Collett (now a father of three) found time to work on a third release, whittling down the catalog of 40-plus tunes he had amassed over the previous years. Here's to Being Here was recorded in two quick sessions during the winter of 2007, and the Toronto-based Arts & Crafts label issued the disc in early 2008. He remained with Arts & Crafts for the following album, Rat A Tat Tat, which appeared in March 2010. Pony Tricks, an all-acoustic, 11-track set of reworked songs, arrived later that year. The anxieties of an election year seeped into 2012's Reckon, which addressed the troubling state of the world and a more personal sort. After his longest gap between solo albums yet, the songwriter returned in 2016 with Song & Dance Man, named after a Bob Dylan comment in a 1965 interview ("I think of myself more as a song and dance man"). It was produced by Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas, who added a breezy touch to Collett's reflective set. ~ Jason MacNeil