Songwriting is a difficult niche to break into. If you contain the right keys and codes, and your mind lacks the stress and convolution of the everyday grinders, the possibility of being a great songwriter significantly increases. Jonathan Jones found this niche more than a decade ago. Making his musical debut in college, he was a co-founder of the band Waking Ashland, and subsequently crafted I Am For You EP in 2004, which caught the attention of Brandon Ebel and Tooth & Nail Records. A year later they released the piano-rock classic Composure; 40-plus minutes of titillating piano pieces, and captivatingly emotional songwriting from Jones, whose writing style flows with ease and fruition.
Unfortunately, Waking Ashland didn’t last long, and decided to throw in the towel in 2007. That, however, was not the end for Jones, as he was determined to keep his music dream alive. So, he enlisted the help of his friends from the band Sherwood, Dan Koch and Joe Greenetz, and released The Polar Bear and Cougar EP later that same year under the alias We Shot the Moon. The EP was mostly overlooked, but merited the band a deal from indie-label juggernaut The Militia Group, which distributed We Shot the Moon’s full-length Fear and Love. The album received generally positive reviews, but Jones wasn’t too happy with how Fear and Love ended up sounding to him, so he didn’t wait very long to release A Silver Lining in 2009. While the album was better from a songwriting perspective, fate wasn’t too keen on allowing We Shot the Moon to continue, and life took its toll on Jones and company. What started as a terrible van accident, ended abruptly in the band’s demise in 2011. Jones decided that he wanted to do things his own way, and not allow the past to influence his songwriting ideals. So, here we have Jones’ latest work Community Group.
Opener “Last Place” is a comforting, albeit brief, piece, as the soft piano, and the even softer voice of Jones captures the track in a swift and stripped-down fashion. Then, bleeding into the next track “The Living Dead”, Jones allows his voice to encapsulate the listener with his varying “Aaah’s”, over an acoustic melody, then shifting into a strong piano-driven verse. It’s these shifts and transitions that are signs of Jones’ maturity in his craft. In no other previous work has Jones been this ambitious. “Duracell” is another example of this change. Its slow-to-mid tempo variations, mixing classical string instruments, electric guitar and piano to further solidify his musical brevity. “East Coast Feelings” continues this marvelous trend as the soaring and catchy hooks combine with musical radiance to form nothing less than a captivating listen. The slower numbers on Community Group exemplify Jones at his best, particularly with the spiritually incumbent “My Faith”, Jones sings of his shortcomings “Where’s my faith, please come out of hiding, my poor heart is crying for you?” Then, he turns from apathy to redemption during the bridge “Halfway there, will you speak to me? The runways clear, I need you to carry me, I’m halfway there, so please forgive me tonight.” It’s songs as honest as “My Faith” that make for a great songwriter. Jonathan Jones is one of them.
2. The Living Dead
4. East Coast Feelings
5. Community Group
7. Hey Andy
8. Brand New Eyes
9. My Faith
10. Morning Light
Jonathan Jones is the lead singer, pianist, song writer and co-founder of the alternative rock bands Waking Ashland and We Shot The Moon.
His solo works include "Welcome Home EP" and "We Were Young"
He is still currently with We Shot The Moon but plans on putting out a new EP during the Summer of 2010.... read more