LP In Verses Out August 18th On Smith Street Records
“Blending harmonies and country, folk and rock influences, the band crafts a song that’s both sweet and sad — about being together and alone, while still finding sunlight in the sadness. Propelled by an ambling melody and kind sentiment” -NPR Song Of The Day, “Evergreen”
“Listening is like running down a mountain on a switchback trail, the sound of surprise generating its own momentum. There’s a punk glee inside the bluegrass craft–and a punk vehemence inside the bluegrass smile.” –Greil Marcus
“… charming, unusually graceful music” –The New York Times
“…like 1995 Wilco with the sensibility of 2007 Wilco.” –The Onion AV Club, Milwaukee
“They play their catchy originals with virtuosic mandolin jams and honky-tonk piano fillers, and top them with off-kilter, good-time harmonies.” –Time Out New York
Jones Street Station are ready for their debut… Again.
Though the simple grace of 2007’s Overcome extends to the band’s second effort, In Verses, “This is really our first record as five people coming from five different places,” explains singer and harmonica/accordion player Jonathan Hull. To wit, In Verses marks the studio debut of drummer Sam Rockwell, the emergence of four lead singers, and the addition of roadhouse rock and straight ahead pop to strains of Americana and soulful country-folk.
The evolution of the group is, according to mandolinist and singer Danny Erker, due to fact that “Each member of this band is capable of fronting one on his own. We’ve each got different skills and tastes, so when we’re lucky, we wind up with a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts— it’s a beautiful show of strength in numbers.”
This group of Brooklynites from Minnesota, Princeton, Chicago, St. Louis and Springfield, Ohio are indeed a quintet of fully-formed characters. Hull, for one, carries his harmonica in a gun belt for a reason—a note-nailing delivery that’s as jittery and disjointed as his personality. Then there’s Rockwell, a steam roller who can punish the drum set and play with lightness and touch; keyboardist/singer Jonathan Benedict (better known as JB), a skilled remixer/producer who’s twisted knobs on tracks for Rihanna, Yoko Ono and The Killers; bassist/singer Walt Wells, a “musician’s musician” and part-time ethnomusicologist with the chops to carry his own in everything from a soul revue to a Japanese string band; and Erker, a “craftsman” with a modified mandolin, plug-and-play banjo approach and honed singer-songwriter skills.
Ask Hull just how this adds up to an album as seamless as In Verses, and he’ll rattle off one reason after another, from the heft that came from dropping Rockwell’s drums in the mix to a pass-the-mic style that results in their trademark harmonies. Case in point: the way “Favor” and “Evergreen” fade in and out on the strength of starry-eyed keys, slow-burning chords and melancholic melodies. And just when you think you’ve got the band figured out, they send a crunchy Rhodes cascading across “Oh Victoria” and invite their friends in Goes Cube—a metal band, mind you—over for the raucous, banjo-led campfire climax of “Neville.”
“We don’t really do genre-specific music,” says Erker. “In ‘Neville,’ for instance, we’ve got detailed four-part harmonies alongside flat-out screaming, Scruggs-style banjo and a harmonica, for God’s sake—all of which co-exist within a three-minute song that starts off as a sleepy ballad and mutates into a rock anthem free-for-all.”
And if In Verses doesn’t explain all the gear-shifting behind the scenes of Jones Street Station, there’s always their shows…
“People see our instruments and expect one thing,” explains Hull, alluding to previous gigs with Ben Kweller. “Then they’re like, ‘Woah! That’s not how people play the harmonica. Or the mandolin. Wait; where’s your lead singer? You don’t have one?’”
Nope. And they won’t anytime soon, either.
7/16 – Housing Works Bookstore w/ Kristen Andreessen (Uncle Earl) and Scary Mansion – New York, NY
7/25 – Roosevelt Live at Riverwalk Commons on Roosevelt Island w/ Diane Birch – New York
8/7 – Prospect Park Bandshell (Celebrate Brooklyn) w/ Deer Tick and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals – New York, NY
8/14 – Black Cat w/ Junior League Band – Washington, DC
8/16 – Webster Hall Studio (Sunday School Party) w/ Drink Up Buttercup – New York, NY
9/3 – Housing Works Bookstore w/ The Feed – New York, NY
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