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Jim Bryson’s Better On Drugs

On April 17, Jim Bryson did his part to change the way people view streaming, digital songs and the way people attach money to music. He released his latest single, “Better On Drugs” for the price of $30 on his Bandcamp page.

From his Bandcamp page: “Ok: this is one fine fine song and it’s the closest i’ve ever come to fundraising… and here is the what up. It is $30 as an idea of a way to tell people that I am ok with streaming but here is a way to contribute to the offset of the effects of all that awesome flat rate music consumption. So this smash hit is $30 here: don’t think I’m an ass for doing this: I think it is actually a nice idea.”
While it was a foreign concept, asking his fans to support his musical endeavors paid off.

“The sales so far from the single ended up being about the equivalent of 400,000 streams on Spotify,” said the Stittsville, Ontario based Bryson. “I just kind of wanted to see how it goes. I just sort of said ‘this is what it is’ and ‘why not?’ It’s not like I have anything to lose by being honest.”

The single was recorded in his studio, Fixed Hinge Recording with his drummer Peter vonAlthen, Jon Hynes on bass, and Mike Dube on piano while Dan Ledwell handled the mixing duties and Phillip Shaw Bova mastered the track.

“We just kind of recorded the song and I was half kidding saying I’m going to release this song and charge $30 for it,” Bryson explained.

“Better on Drugs” followed his September 2018 EP release Tired of Waiting, a six song record that bridges the elements between folk, indie and punk. The single from the release “Cut Bait” was a “scrappy little three minutes of joy”, and “Better on Drugs” follows the same anthemic punk/indie aesthetic.

Prior to these releases, Bryson released five critically acclaimed solo recordings including a collaboration record with The Weakerthans in 2010 called The Falcon Lake Incident. In his past, he has performed and toured with Kathleen Edwards, The Weakerthans and The Tragically Hip.

In 2013, he created his Fixed Hinge Studios and has produced records by Oh Susanna, Little Scream, The Skydiggers and Kalle Mattson. Currently he is working on a new record by Ken Yates, a Canadian singer-songwriter.

This May, Bryson is heading out through Ontario with Kalle Mattson, with a stop at the Warehouse in St. Catharines on May 11 as part of the Road to Riverfest Music Series – ‘a series that sees past, present and future Riverfest Elora performers visit various venues throughout the summer as a part of the festival’s 11th annual celebration.’

“I’m excited to leave the house. I’ve been really busy working on records so I haven’t been playing a ton – I did perform a lot in the fall, but it’s easy to hibernate in the winter and work on things and do other things and sort of have different versions of my life,” Bryson said.

Over the past 20 years, Bryson has grown into becoming a father, a partner, a producer, a writer and performer and more, and stated that after 20 years writing and performing music, he often feels detached from the person who wrote his early records, like 2000’s The Occasionals and 2003’s The North Side Benches.

“I think it’s great that I feel like I want to keep doing stuff and change how I say things and what I relate to and what I want to say,” explained Bryson. “I don’t really dress up my music other than a reflection of what I am in specific moments and how they stick out to me.”

Jim Byrson performs at the Warehouse on May 11 with Kalle Mattson.

Written by Chris Illich

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