The Local Spins series highlighting music that most influenced Michigan musicians continues with Michigander frontman Jason Singer revealing his picks, plus current faves he “can’t stop” playing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians and songwriters can trace their inspiration to key recordings that captivated them and influenced their careers. Writer Ross Boissoneau today showcases recordings that changed the world for Jason Singer of Michigander. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of his picks, plus two Michigander gems.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
The leader of the self-described “American rock ‘n’ roll band” Michigander, Jason Singer grew up in Midland and has since lived in various locales around the state. He’s built a considerable audience nationally as well as regionally, playing numerous festivals and earning WYCE Jammie Awards along the way.
His recent EP “Everything Will Be OK Eventually” embodies the attitude he’s cultivated since the pandemic struck. It caused the cancellation of his original opportunity to perform at Lollapalooza, though he was finally able to perform there this past year. Singer and Michigander currently are touring with acclaimed indie-rock bands Manchester Orchestra and Foxing, crisscross the country throughout February and March. They play a Michigan show on March 12 at Fillmore Detroit.
1. James Taylor, “Greatest Hits,” specifically “Mexico” (1976) – The first I remember was as a kid on my parents’ boat in Tawas on Lake Huron. My parents didn’t listen to a lot of music, but they had a cassette of James Taylor’s “Greatest Hits.” Hearing the song “Mexico” for the first time, I said, “Let’s play it again.” That song made me fall in love with guitar, listening to James Taylor play acoustic and classical guitar. On that song, the chorus and verse are in different keys. That was fairly common in ’80s music, but that was the first I’d heard it. I didn’t understand it at the time; I was 8 or 9.
2. Coldplay, “Talk” (2005) – On TV, there was a music video for “Talk” by Coldplay. I thought, “Who is this band?” I remember going to the library and renting all the CDs by Coldplay. Piano rock, synths, I got all their albums. A year later, “Viva La Vida” was very important to me. It was also the first concert I went to, in 2009. I said, I’m gonna do this, figure out somehow, some way.
3. The National, “Trouble Will Find Me” (2013) – In 2012 and 2013, that was a band I always kind of liked. James Taylor really influenced me, and Coldplay, then it shifted when I found pretentious music. I’d heard The National earlier, then heard “Trouble Will Find Me” (and) the song “Don’t Swallow the Cap.” I went to Vertigo Records (in Grand Rapids) and bought it from Herm (Baker). I put it in the CD player in my car and it was there until I got rid of that car. It wasn’t pop and wasn’t mainstream.
Listen: “Don’t Swallow the Cap”
Currently Loving: Gang of Youths, “The Angel of 8th Avenue” (2012), The War On Drugs, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” (2012) – Those are my two bands. I can’t stop listening to them. What’s important for me now (is) I have to believe it. If I can’t do that it’s hard for me to care. There’s something about the music. These two, I believe what they’re singing, their vocal take.
Listen: Gang of Youths, “The Angel of 8th Ave.”; The War on Drugs, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”
ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Michigander’s Playlist on Spotify
Copyright 2022, Spins on Music LLC