It’s time to forget madly rush-released, poorly thought out albums – which has become an all too common trend of late – and support the acts who are taking the time to nurture and craft great songs and well rounded albums.
Jonah is a prime example of this breed of musician, 27-years in the making and he’s just about ready to bloom. With songs that essentially adopt a folk infused vibe with sincere lyrics that guarantee to send tingles in every which way. Then there’s his on stage presence – an element of cheeky charm that will get the most serious of sorts giggling like they were 13 again. This all immediately begs the question, ‘Why on earth hasn’t the music industry snapped up such a great talent sooner?’ Or perhaps Jonah has actually been swimming away from the jaws of the giant whale? Allowing his sound to develop creating a catalogue of songs that will come together to create an honest and brilliant album.
Just over a year of dedicated hard graft in the studio and Together We Are Taller is here, it hasn’t been an easy ride but the manner in which this exceptional album came about is almost as intriguing as what’s still to come. So where did it all begin? Jonah began singing out loud at the turn of the century cutting his teeth in the sometimes hostile punk rock circuit. Playing for Fellthru landed him opportunities to record and release with labels and support his heroes of the day Capdown, Lightyear, RX Bandits and Farse to name but a few. Growing up in a family with a passion for music in picturesque Cambridgeshire, a fiddle was never far away from his clutch and at the tender age of eight Jonah had already developed the urge to pen his own songs. “I used to wake up in the middle of the night with lines for songs that sounded a lot like Bryan Adams and Chesney Hawkes,” he animatedly adds. Once the song writing seed was planted, his fervent desire to craft new music knew no limits. “It’s the only thing I never thought about. It doesn’t feel like a passion, just something that’s always there like eating,” he explains.
His love for music led him to bohemian Brighton where the hopeful shores brought in a fresh wave of musicians for Jonah to jam with. By 2006 the world was introduced to Les Oeufs. With an indie heart, the band gigged the length and breadth of the country with Jonah as lead vox. Great popularity came, but on the side the singer/songwriter was knocked down by redundancy. Inspired to pick himself up he began writing some acoustic songs to get out what was inside his head. Soon, financial necessity led to an impromptu exchange of his guitar for a hammer and as if fate had laid its humble hand upon Jonah’s shoulder, he found common ground with his fellow worker Lloyd Williams in the form of a 1968 Martin guitar. From that moment on, a strong friendship was formed. The following days were spent with the facade of testosterone-induced jollity followed by a pleasant drive home listening to John Martyn, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan and Bert Jansch. An abundance of inspiration showered down upon Jonah as he begun to lay down the foundations for his brilliant debut album.
Together We Are Taller produced by Simon Walker, ex-fiddle player for Dexy’s Midnight Runners was purposely grown organically with no involvement from any of the giant record labels.
Jonah explains: “I spent every spare penny I had on the album and enlisted the help of kind and talented friends to work with me on it. This is where the title Together We Are Taller came from – there’s also a slight stab at my height issues there. The name has become so much more poignant over the year, the input, talent and inspiration of other people has been truly overwhelming. Together we are definitely taller!”
Inspiration from Andy McKee and John Martyn shines through in full force in this moving 12 track album. “Andy Mckee inspired me to write with the guitar on a completely different level, I focused more on my playing and subsequently I developed a range of new melodies and lyrics,” he adds.
Witness the live shows and the element of surprise is ever present. Currently at the core is Susie Jones on cello and ex Les Oeufs band mates John Anthony banjo/guitar and David Sharpe providing the percussion – Jonah believes that his gigs will continue to be an open collaborative music project. He earnestly adds, “Turn up to one show and there might be seven musicians, turn up to another and it might be me on my tod. I think one of the interesting things about being a solo artist is you don’t have to have a set in stone band, and as I go along I would like to pick up different people who can bring different things to the music, making it much more of a collaborative project than a solo thing.”
Jonah’s debut album Together We Are Taller is out soon www. jonahmaddox.com
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