In our video series JAZZ Last Call, we hear regularly from musicians about how the COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant lockdowns have changed the way they make art. Surprisingly, those changes aren’t always negative. Musicians, like all of us, have been gifted a rare moment of self-reflection and soul searching, and for those songwriters particularly attuned to the glimmers of hope that flash through the darkness, this has been a moment of artistic prosperity.
Pianist-composer Jon Regen is one such songwriter who seems especially sensitive to silver linings, with a knack for writing lyrics that weave hope through heartbreak. Today, he debuts a new single, “New Prayer,” that speaks to those themes in the present tense.
“Like most people, I spent much of the last few months in quarantine, shocked at just how strange and polarized the world has become,” Regen explains. “But what still makes me optimistic is that I see more and more people listening to each other and championing tolerance, equality, and change. That’s what this ‘New Prayer’ is about to me. A message of hope and healing for better days to come.”
The song can be viewed in the player below as an exclusive to JAZZIZ.com. It will officially be released on Friday, June 26, via Ropeadope Records.
The song features saxophonist Jeff Coffin of the Dave Matthews Band (who expressed similar messages of optimism in his interview on JAZZIZ Last Call), plus an innovative recorded cameo by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, reminding us all in these times of disharmony and discord that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It was recorded remotely in lockdown and mixed by Grammy-winning producer Greg Wells (Adele, Taylor Swift).
The tune begins with a series of bold, widely spaced chords, which give the listener the impression of floating untethered through space. They’re accompanied by a heartbeat kick drum and a guitar riff as delicate as the blinking of an eye. Before long, Regen’s voice cuts through the noise to proclaim a message as simple as it is necessary: “Everything’s gonna be all right.” Against the backdrop of the music, those words become a sort of mantra, and they’re healing powers are evident, now more than ever.
Feature photo of Jon Regen by Ana Webber.