Now THIS record is sideways. On this first and self titled record, Jonny comes across as everything – from over the top, commercial sounding “music they play for kitchen product ads on TV”, to true heartfelt songs and alluring, dreamy harmonies – only a tree would have a hard time singing along with most of Jonny. If you think about it, that’s a pretty wide river, but Jonny does make it across. Follow along with this:
1) ”Wich is Wich” Over the top or what? If you have ever heard The Monkees, here they almost are! It’s so full of hooky, simple melodies that you are left thinking “Which witch IS which?” Its plain old simple fun.
2) “Candyfloss“ Now they have made a left turn in the same neighborhood, but they’ve aged a bit. Not quite as simple fun, Jonny hangs on to the hooky melody concept. AND … they’ve discovered that a song can be longer than two minutes. “Candyfloss” would have been in the top 50 right beside The Cars and early Todd Rundgren. An alternate title could be “Jonny finds a girl he really likes a lot and could be having his first crush!”
3) “Waiting ‘Round for You” Again we are with Jonny in the sixties, we’ve soaked up alot of The Beatles, Todd, Cars, Psychedelia, and of course, still know how to get all the kids singing along. And among the wide spectrum of the music of that time, they are staying on the melodic, (now called “pop”), course. Full speed ahead!
4) “Goldmine” Sometimes, if you stay at the party too long, you can drink almost too much “pop”. And with with “Goldmine” serving up the fourth in a row, you run the risk of losing some of the audience. But there is a bit of an edge getting in their music, which makes for a newer “car” to hear the hooky stuff in. And Jonny’s whole vocal “thing” begins to become a bit more obvious. Even though its been there since the beginning, the two who thought the “Jonny” thing up can sound like brothers at times, having that genetic, harmonic blend. Even though Norman Blake (Teenage Fan Club) and Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) aren’t even distant cousins. Did I just say Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci?
5) “You Was Me” Do you hear it? It’s a full fledged pop-rock song, well crafted, and ready for shipment. Kind of a Traveling Wilburys meets 2011. A beautiful piece of everything they’ve learned to this point. Encore!
6) ”Circling the Sun” When the crowd asks for an encore, they get one. And Jonny will not dissappoint. Sometimes the listener MAY get the impression that their mind is being read, listening to the mood of this record actually taking that listener by the hand and walking around a park or a city, not knowing nor caring, as long as that hand is there. Some will love Jonny, and others will not. But what in life is NOT like that?
7) “English Lady” My fortune (or lack of!) for a nice, piano ballad right now. Bring in those brothers singing 3 piece harmony, add a tear or a “John-Boy” lump in the throat, and VOILA! Another jewel in Jonny’s crown.This one is for the sentimental mom and dad tune lover..
8) “The Goodnight” Jonny takes it down even more with an acoustic-electric revved down ballad number two, adding a piece of poetry sung perfectly to the girl that it sounds like he’s finally fallen for. She may be just a fling, but by the seriousness of the voice and the toned down vehicle that makes every syllable get heard, she MUST be more than that.
9) “Bread” Sometimes a man has got to eat. Right? This piece sounds like perhaps Charles Dickens and Freddy Mercury had a hand in the writing, but Jonny is definitely at the wheel. With a bit of an operatic viewpoint, “Bread” stands out in the crowd as an offering of the other bank of the river they have crossed. It may leave you feeling like the fun is coming back any minute.
10) “Cave Dance” Primal drums start us into this “latest dance” song, another 60s throwback to “Do the Twist”, The Watusi, etc. With one major exception: its set to a relatively involved chunk of music. Did Chubby Checker modulate keys every sixteen or thirty-two bars? No, he didn’t need to to get the point across. Here, that involvement gives the listener a pretty good idea of what that “Cave Dance” might look like.
11) “I Want to be Around You” Grab an out of the mainstream sound, and a bit of a Simon and Garfunkel voice machine, then take the most infectious melody money can buy, particularly the title line, and you are right square in the middle of “Hits of the Sixties” the sound Jonny has down pat. And if you don’t know pat, here it is. You’ll be singing it to yourself AND out loud all day. Just try it.
12) “I’ll Make Her My Best Friend” This is probably as folksy as Jonny is going to give up, so just listen and enjoy. But don’t sit back, because it’ll be over before you can get back to your chair!
13) “Never Alone” A piano and two voices is the recipe for this ending song. So, in Jonny’s by now famous way, it begs fans of the sixties wanting more, so the choice is either play the record again, or wait another ten years for the follow up. Hopefully it won’t be that long really, will it?
Plloaso mako nuto uf cakso dodtos
John Hampton is a GRAMMY winning producer/recording engineer whose experience includes working on albums with The Dead Weather, The Gin Blossoms, The White Stripes, The Replacements, The Cramps, Alex Chilton and John Kilzer. Read more of his musical ramblings on his blog.