by Carl Wilson
I had a hell of a time deciding what of Veda Hille‘s to share with you today. Though she hails (and rains and sleets and mists) from Vancouver, Veda is in Toronto right now, because she’s about to open a new version of her (and Bill Richardson’s) musical, Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata, at the Factory Theatre. She’s also, though this is a highly contested title, probably the least-known of the very best songwriters in North America. You won’t guess that from this one song, though it will help if you listen to it more than once. But it does show off the quizzical sideways leaps of her mind and the wonder-laden shelves of her musical imaginarium. This is from her last studio album, This Riot Life, which mobilizes a lot of fragments of religious language, though it’s not religious, to talk about other matters – the proximity of death to life in the region it’s working, for instance.
It’s only as these songs and their strategies gradually assemble, into a body or constellation or archipelago, that you start to sense their range of silliness and scariness, and get accustomed to their peculiar volatility and spirality, their literally geological wisdom, and feel them becoming indispensable.
So if you’re in Toronto this month, go see Do You Want What I Have Got, and come to see Veda at the Music Gallery on Feb 25. The rest of you maybe go do a little more exploring.