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Sass Jordan discusses her blues covers album, Bowie Celebration tour

She’s been listening to David Bowie and blues music for years, but only recently did Sass Jordan realize one of Bowie’s signature songs was deeply rooted in the genre.

Prior to touring Europe as one of the singers in A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour, Jordan says she watched a video interview featuring former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, and one of the songs he talked about was “The Jean Genie.”

“And I could not even believe what he was saying,” Jordan recalls. “I never, ever noticed it until he said it. He said, ‘Well, that’s like an old blues lick.’ … I was just amazed by that, and yet it completely makes sense: Of course it’s that.”

So even with “a lot of hybridization,” Jordan says that “there’s definitely an actual, identifiable connection” between certain Bowie material and the genre.

Jordan, a self-described “raging Bowie fan” up through his Station to Station album, has a connection to the blues as well. The veteran Canadian rocker’s latest studio effort is Rebel Moon Blues, due March 13 on Stony Plain Records. 

“It’s almost like the songs chose me, as silly as that may sound,” she says of the album’s seven covers. “Because they surfaced out of an ocean. … They came into my awareness, for some reason or another — like I would hear it on the radio or somebody mentioned it. I’d be looking through a list of songs, and one would sort of light up.”

Jordan says each selection had to contain “something I wanted to say.”

“And not necessarily lyrically; I [also meant] energetically,” she adds. “There [had to be] something about the song that made sense and spoke to me on some level.”

Rebel Moon Blues contains one original, titled “The Key.”

“It was specifically written about two weeks before we went in to record it,” says Jordan, who tracked the entire album with her touring band, the Champagne Hookers, in three days. “And to me, it’s not necessarily a blues-structure-type song. It has more of a Tom Petty-ish vibe, and it’s not that far off that it sticks out like a sore thumb.”

During March and April, Jordan will be back on the road as part of A Bowie Celebration, with the focus this time around on the albums The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Diamond Dogs. Like on the European leg, she expects to sing lead on “We Are the Dead” and “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide.”

Asked what the most Bowie-esque part of her wardrobe will be for the North America shows, Jordan chuckles, adding that she can never figure out what to wear.

“I think I’m just going to wear a garbage bag — paint a peace sign on it and stick my arms through it,” she says with a hearty laugh.

— By Chris M. Junior

Sass Jordan on tour with A Bowie Celebration:

March 3: Belly Up — San Diego

March 4: Mesa Arts Center — Mesa, Arizona

March 6: The Rose — Pasadena, California

March 7: Belly Up — San Diego

March 8: Bimbo’s 365 Club — San Francisco

March 11: Crystal Ballroom — Portland, Oregon

March 12: Neptune — Seattle

March 13: Commodore Ballroom — Vancouver, BC

March 15: Palace Theatre — Calgary, AB

March 17: Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts — Winnipeg, MB

March 19: Arcada Theatre — St. Charles, Illinois

March 20: Royal Oak Music Theatre — Detroit

March 22: Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall — Munhall, Pennsylvania

March 24: State Theatre — Falls Church, Virginia

March 25: Agora Theatre — Cleveland

March 27: Chevalier Theatre — Medford, Massachusetts

March 28: Lebanon Opera House — Lebanon, New Hampshire

March 29: Garde Arts Center — New London, Connecticut

March 31: Sony Hall — New York

April 1: Count Basie Theatre — Red Bank, New Jersey

April 2: McCarter Theater — Princeton, New Jersey

April 3: Bergen Performing Arts Center — Englewood, New Jersey

April 4: Keswick Theatre — Glenside, Pennsylvania

April 5: Tilles Center — Brookville, New York

April 7: Center Stage — Atlanta

April 9: Capitol Theatre — Clearwater, Florida

April 10: RP Funding Center — Lakeland, Florida

April 11: Amaturo — Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Photo by Derek Sharp

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