I almost forgot. I had the distinct pleasure of being a judge for the 2012 JUNO Awards in the category of Recording Package of the Year. (The JUNOs are arguably the most important music awards given to recording artists in Canada.)
The process was delightful: I was sent about 15 albums and asked to judge the albums on the merit of their cover and packaging artwork. I spent hours and hours pouring over the imagery, type treatments, color, and materials of each album. Oh, and I listened to each record at least three times. I voted for what I believed represented the very best of commercial Canadian music packaging, at least from the selection of what I had been provided. The difficult part was ensuring that the pieces selected not only represented great packaging and good design but that the object itself inhered the character and sensibility of the music it housed.
Chris Tarry’s Rest of the Story won the award. The CD itself is gently stuffed between the pages of a gorgeous book which tells the story of a man falling. The book and CD were illustrated by Kim Ridgewell and designed by Jeff Harrison of Rethink Canada. I’m not naturally a fan of most contemporary jazz but I enjoyed many of the tracks, which at times reminded me of a kinder and gentler Godspeed You Black Emperor, a truly superb Canadian act. You can buy the book—and listen to some of Tarry’s music—at Nineteen-Eight Records.