Craig Cardiff definitely considered tweaking some of his old songs featured on a new collection.
The Canadian folk singer opted instead to leave the tracks on This is Craig Cardiff: Collected Works just as they were originally recorded.
“It was a bit of a push for me to just let the songs be as they were,” he said during a telephone interview with The Sault Star earlier this week. “I’m glad we did.”
His tendency, he adds, is “to fix or to tweak.
“Let’s put strings on everything,” he said. Cardiff resisted the creative urge.
“No,” he said. “That’s not what made this song connect with people in the first place. It wasn’t what was missing. It was what was there.”
Cardiff chose songs for his new album based on “the people’s picks” based on plays on streaming services. Works such as Last Love Letter, Lenny Bruce Lee and Revival Day have a combined 75 million streams, Cardiff says. This is Craig Cardiff also features two new efforts To Be Safe, Love and Home and Ymir, BC. The pair of songs feature Sault Ste. Marie native Jesse Harding on bass and percussion. Harding also co-wrote the song Lake Michigan, released by Cardiff earlier this year.
Cardiff chafes at the suggestion the collection, released digitally on Nov. 2 with a vinyl release expected later this month, could be considered a greatest hits package. A limited edition CD, available online on Bandcamp, features nine additional songs including Dance Me Outside and Not the End of the World.
“I have so many great songs that I’m still going to write,” he said.
When work on This is Craig Cardiff wrapped, the musician set his sights on recording covers of several classic Christmas tunes and one original for possible use in film, television, radio and Spotify.
“It’s always good to keep busy and that’s what we’ve done the last little bit,” he said. The songs were mixed this week.
He settled on John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over), Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Joni Mitchell’s River.
Cardiff based his choices on what Christmas fare listeners are choosing and tap into an interest of the selection of “recordings of familiar songs.”
He also wanted to have a personal tie to his covers.
“What songs felt like there was a connection?” he said. “Those were the ones that made the cut.
“They will lack the holiday glitter and polish that people usually associate with Christmas songs. There’s not really, I don’t want to say false sentimentality, but I love Christmas. I love the season, but I know it can also be a hard time for a lot of people for a variety of reasons. They’re just good songs that have a great message that we’re just going to give to people.”
County Road Christmas is Cardiff’s original effort.
He anticipates the Christmas songs “will pop up” when he tours Canada in November and December playing material from This is Craig Cardiff. He stops at LopLops on Friday.