Mountaineer Jonathon Robert Linaberry is a New York songwriter whose American roots music dips into the likes of blues and country to bring you a sound that is nostalgic, but still new and forward-thinking. His solo music project, The Bones of J.R. Jones, began in 2012 in New York City with his album release The Wilderness. Since then, he has left the hustle-and-bustle of the city for a life closer to the wild in the Catskill Mountains of New York. His new EP, A Celebration, is a 6-pack of Americana that rekindles hope with its soulful strings, humbling perspective, and contemplative songwriting.
The lead track, “Stay Wild”, is a tender tune with a strong slide guitar that paints imagery of life out West. Listening to “Stay Wild” is like waking up, and climbing out of your tent on a chilled desert morning to greet the rising sun. The live performance video shows off his slick slide guitar skills, as well as the personal emotion that is found in his music. The one-man-band uses MIDI percussion alongside his acoustic guitar, and booming voice, to create a soulful space that is simple sounding, but hard to accomplish. The track came out as a single, alongside another music video, but the new live performance that came alongside the EP release, shows off the talent found in The Bones of J.R. Jones, as well as Linaberry’s own personal passion as he plays. The video is filmed at This Old Hudson, a rustic rental in the Hudson Valley that provides a calm backdrop representative of J.R. 's sound. The video was shot by Peter Crosby, with sound from Kiyoshi Matsuyama, who also produced the record.
The rest of the EP is worth a listen, and further expands the feelings set down in “Stay Wild”. It’s got somber moments with stripped-down gut-wrenchers like “Howl”, “Keep It Low” and “Like An Old Lover”. The instrumentation is pretty simple all around: some shakers, a guitar, and some subtle percussion. Linaberry uses the power of silence and echo to great effect in his music. “Bad Moves” is a song of growing contemplation, driven by a drum machine and some twangy strings. A Celebration is growth for The Bones of J.R. Jones, its inspirations are less upfront than previous releases, and with more mindful songwriting and presentation, it’s more mature.