Today, we’re proud to present to you the latest single from Birds of Ontario. The five-and-a-half minute track “Legion” was originally written and recorded nearly ten years ago with musicians David Kierstead, James Hein and Jeff Luciani (The Dears) in Eric Lepp and Matthew Klassen’s past band The Lofty Pines.
“I thought it would be cool to write a song about a story in the bible where a demon possessed man who lives in a graveyard meets Jesus. In the story, Jesus asks the demon his name (apparently a common practice in traditional exorcisms), and it replied ‘I am Legion, for we are many,’” explained Klassen.
“Jesus goes on perform an exorcism and the man is healed, but not before the demons beg Jesus to send them into a nearby herd of pigs rather than cast them into the dark abyss. It’s a weird, bizarre, and crazy story. As i reflect on the song 10 or so years later (it was actually an Audiovisuals song in its original incarnation), I think it’s come to represent something bigger, something more universal. We all have our demons – our shadow selves – whether we’re conscious of them or not. I also think we’re all seeking healing and wholeness. it’s one of life’s great tensions – pain and suffering versus hope and healing.”
The dark and solemn tune, accented by the beat of wood blocks, continues to build throughout both the song and story until Klassen hits his apex. Reaching for his falsetto, Klassen moves the song into the second act, ultimately reaching it’s final mantra, the repeating “Hallelujah”, as it brings the song to it’s haunting, yet hopeful, conclusion.
“Our inner and outer demons are constantly telling us that we are worthless screw-ups who can’t do anything right,” said Klassen. “Unfortunately that’s the story we’ve been told and we tell ourselves far too often. That is a lie. It’s just straight up not true. We are good. We are worthy of love in spite of our demons. It’s when we remember that – when we forgive ourselves and others – that we can all sing ‘Hallelujah’
“Legion” is the first single from Birds of Ontario’s forthcoming 2020 LP that will be released this spring.
Birds of Ontario are: Matthew Klassen and Eric Lepp.
On this recording: Klassen, acoustic guitar and vocals; Lepp, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keys, vocals and additional production; Jeff Luciani, drums and percussion; David Kierstead, electric guitar, production; James Hein, lap steel.