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There’s something that’s goin’ round, that’s shutting our borders down
It’s a bad time for our sick and our old
CNN’s nightly lullaby, tells of hundreds more that’ve died
I shut off the TV and think all alone, how long can this go on? – Jeff Orson, Pray
The opening words to Jeff Orson’s song Pray have become mightily familiar to fans of our popular Podcast series, In Crisis – Travel Retail Voices, which has been running since March 20 as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged around the world.
[Click on the icon to hear Jeff Orson talk to Martin Moodie about Pray]
Jeff, who besides being a top-class singer/songwriter is also National Director – Duty Free for PMA in Canada, recorded the song to help raise funds in the fight against COVID-19. All revenues (minus any Canadian government taxes) are being donated to the UN COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The song came about after I – clearly fuelled by too much Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – tried and failed miserably to write and sing an appropriate song and have my long-time industry friend (and fellow cancer survivor) Jeff record it. It was immediately obvious to Jeff that while I might be able to write good travel retail stories, I singularly lacked talent as a songwriter. “Leave it with me, let me try something,” he responded.
And boy, did he do just that, writing Pray in just a few days, a powerful song that starkly portrays the threat facing humanity but which builds to an ultimately uplifting finish. I funded the recording costs and before you know it Jeff was in the studio, recording the stunning song you can watch and listen to below.
‘Pray’ was released via North America online music company Bandcamp, which allows listeners to buy (or gift) the track by making a payment of their own choice (anything from C$1 upwards). Please click this link to buy (https://lnkd.in/gMsK2jF) or gift it (you can leave a personalised message) to someone you care about who you might not see for a while.
In the three months since release, Pray has been viewed 25,514 times (make that 25,515 as I just watched it again) on YouTube, played on 20 radio stations in Canada, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who featured the song on CBC Sirius XM and CBC Songwriter Channel.
Jeff has been interviewed many times, including being featured on Mark Lloyd’s popular The Night Shift in Dubai (thanks to Sinead el Sibai and Colm McLoughlin of Dubai Duty Free). You can listen to that brilliant interview here. He has raised plenty of money for a vital cause along the way and, just as importantly, inspired people via the various platforms (including our Podcast series) to believe, via his closing lyrics, that better times will come.
And I swear one day, we’re gonna put this all behind us
Come what may, we will survive
I think it safe to say, that better times are gonna find us,
Hope it won’t be long, till this trouble is gone
Footnote: Since the release of Pray, Jeff has also recorded three more great songs.
Faith, a follow-up to Pray, this song is dedicated to loved ones in retirement homes and long-term care facilities, and to the brave and caring front line healthcare workers supporting them. www.jefforsonmusic.com
Drowning, written with fellow Canadian Songwriter David Woods. This deeply moving version of Drowning has minimal production, with only piano and pedal steel guitar. Jeff plans to release a fully produced version to radio in late December.
All Summer, is the just-released sequel to Jeff’s highly successful 2019 release Country Kids. In this coming of age song, Jeff reminisces about those teenage summers, hanging out with friends before going away to school or beginning full-time jobs. Happier times, long before COVID-19.