Jann Arden

What is in the case?


Guitar: Jann Arden has owned this Guild acoustic guitar for decades and has recorded, played it on most tours (including here at Massey Hall), and written countless songs on this instrument. The proof of its well-wear is seen on the accompanying hardshell case.

Lyric Sheets: Also on display are handwritten lyric sheets for "Love is the Only Soldier" and "When You Left Me”

Jann tells us that since inspiration to write can come at any time, she has been known to use just about anything she can get her hands on to write out her lyrics, including writing on a cigarette package or with black eyeliner. You can hear more about this and what’s in this case, from Jann Arden herself, by tapping on the audio link.

Hear it from Jann


Well, hi there. It's Jann, I'm going to talk to you a little bit about some of the lyric sheets that you're going to see, um - a guitar, but mostly some lyric sheets. I have to tell you that I write stuff - sentences down on lyric sheets, Willy nilly on paper, loose paper. Or sometimes I use books, sometimes I use the back of hotel stationary. Sometimes I will use a for instance - good mother was written with black eyeliner - a ripped open Demauria cigarette package, like in 1988 or something ridiculous like that. Um, the first thing that you're looking at here is alert to close your eyes and this is a song that I wrote with Michael Bublé and it's on his 2013 album to be loved.

And as you can see, I used a red Pen, which was obviously all I had handy. Um, Michael had given me, you know, this music that he had been working on, he's a really, really gifted songwriter for one thing. And, um, sometimes he writes lyrics, sometimes he writes partial lyrics. Um, but for the most part, he always knows what he wants his songs to be about. And this one, um, he just, you know, he, he just had a real laser focus about, about what he wanted the song to be about. So obviously I was absolutely thrilled to be part of it. I remember going back and forth a little bit on the phone with him, uh, sending, emailing the lyrics and actually they were kind of recording it and I was still, we were still going back and forth, um, with lyrics, but he definitely wanted it to be about his wife, Lou, and, um, just what an amazing person she is.

This song love is the only soldier is, um, from my 2003 album of the same name, Love is the only soldier. And, um, I really love this song a lot for one thing. It's a very bizarre song to sing. Its very falsetto. Picture the Bee Gees on steroids. Um, the verses are, you know, obviously in a regular tone, ♫love is a drink with a lit cigarette. ♫♫Love is your mouth. That's holding my breath♫. Um, and then the chorus goes into this really, really high, high falsetto, but, um, I'm glad that I have the lyric for this written down. Um, just a really, really weird sidebar - Somebody actually tried suing me about the song saying that I had stolen it from them. I can't even remember. Obviously it got thrown out. Um, but yeah, little sidebar that it's one of the first and only times it's ever happened to be in my life.

This is my Guild guitar. I played this guitar for over 20 years and, uh, almost 25 years and I played it on so many records and played it in so many tours. Actually, I just, um, stopped using that Guild two years ago, just before all the COVID stuff happened. I stopped using the guitar mainly because I was having a sore neck and its soul sore shoulder. And my doctor's like, are you doing something repetitively? And I'm just like, I knew exactly what it was and it was, it's a heavy Guitar and the case that it's in this blue case, um, is super heavy, but it's, it's absolutely atomic like this case it's called a Colton case. And, uh, they built them for a while in Calgary. I don't know if they still build them here, but you used to have to get into a long queue to, um, to get these cases made. Anyway, they guitar, I wrote hundreds of songs on this guitar and, um, it just sounds beautiful. It sounds great, but it's just too big for me to play and it hurts my shoulder. So I'm playing a little Taylor.

Now this is a hand lyric handwritten lyric to when you left me. And it's also from love as the only soldier. This song was written on piano once again, you can see that the pens that I use are any color that I can get my hand on this particular one's in green ink. And it's sort of a, the piece of paper is obviously a boutique-y kind of a paper it's sort of a pulp pressed. Anyhow. It's um, this is one of the saddest songs in the freaking world. And I had ended a relationship that wasn't even that long. It was in 11th, 11 month, 11 month relationship. And it was a long distance relationship with someone in Los Angeles. And anyway, I wrote this song after that hit the ditch and, um, it's still a difficult song for me to sing even all these years later.

This is a song I wrote with Alison Cornell in my house. She played my upright piano. Um, Alison was in my band for many, many, many, many years. We played together for a long time and I'm sure we will play together for many, many years yet to come. Um, this is from my 2014 album called everything almost. I love the song so much that I wanted to, you know, I wanted to title the album that because it's says everything, everything almost you've got everything you want almost. Uh, I wrote it really quickly. Alison was sitting at the upright piano and we were just, just, it didn't take us long at all to write the song.

Jann Arden and Massey Hall

Jann Arden has been performing at Massey Hall regularly throughout her career, gracing the stage more than two-dozen times and counting. Arden reflected on her relationship with the Hall by penning the Foreword to the book Massey Hall by David McPherson, published in the 2021by Dundurn Press. In it she explains, “the first time I saw my name on the marquee outside its massive brick walls - which are almost cathedral like in stature - I was awestruck. I could not wipe the smile of my face….Massey Hall holds so many brilliant memories for me and so many hundreds of other artists.”
Excerpt from Massey Hall

Artist Biography

Jann Arden is a multi-platinum, award-winning singer, songwriter, actor, broadcaster, and author. Arden has released 14 albums with 19 top ten singles. A recent inductee into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, she was also inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, has a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, has seven JUNO Awards, and recipient of the Order of Canada.

More from Jann


Official Website: jannarden.com
Top Hit: Jann Arden – Jann Arden – Insensitive Music Video
From the Lyric sheet: Jann Arden – Love Is The Only Soldier Music Video
Read Massey Hall by David McPherson