Jonathon Long – Self-Titled
CD: 11 Songs, 37:29 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Guitar Monster Blues
Before an artist begins his/her creative work in earnest, s/he often plays around a little. Authors “free write.” Painters take a worn or fading canvas and go all out. As for Louisiana guitar slinger Jonathon Long, what he likes to do sometimes is “free shred” and post the results on Facebook. Once yours truly got an earful of his scorching fretwork, even while he worked his chopper chops, she knew she was in for a fantastic debut album. Long’s self-titled release, produced and promoted by blues maven Samantha Fish on her label, is a melodic ascent to the summit of blues-rock glory. Is such a description too overblown, especially for a first-timer? Pop this CD in your stereo and find out the answer is NO. Not only is Long a guitar hero, but also a talented songwriter. Vocally, he’s one part Tab Benoit, one part SRV, and all tough with a capital T. On ten original tunes and one cover (Kenneth Tudrick’s “The River”), his macho inferno blazes.
In the CD liner notes, Samantha Fish notes, “Jonathon arrived at the studio with a compelling arsenal of songs. Immediately I felt the songs out straight to the soul with a fiery command of the guitar that left everyone’s jaws on the floor. He delivers passionate performances on every song, like a high-spirited Southern preacher laying a fire-and-brimstone wrath on his Sunday morning congregation. [He’s] an all-around star, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness and take part in his rise.” His biographical info reveals that such focus and determination are nothing new for Long, who has been a working musician even before he got a learner’s permit to drive. At 29 years young, he excels in what others twice his age and more have tried to master. “Prodigy” would not be too grandiose a descriptor for Jonathon. Neither would “future superstar.”
Along with Long on lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars are Jullian Civello on drums, Chris Roberts on bass, Samantha Fish on guitar for tracks one, three and seven and vocals for track seven, and Michael Harvey on fiddle for track seven.
The following three songs are the pick of the litter, though there are no “runts” among them.
Track 01: “Bury Me” – In this age of political and social divisiveness, our hero offers medicine for what ails us. “Heaven knows it’s about that time. You have your God, and I have mine. Better stretch our hands to the heavens, stop counting our money, start counting our blessings.” Life is too short for hate, and when life’s gone, “remember me through the words of my song.”
Track 05: “Living the Blues” – “Rent is high and the pay is low. Living in hell with nowhere to go. Middle class is yesterday’s news. You’re either rich or you’re living the blues.” These phrases land, one by one, like punches to the gut. Some people characterize the blues as sad music, but the truth is that life is much sadder. Being happy is no easy task, but being understood is a critical part of it. Harmonious vocals make for a catchy refrain, if a melancholy one.
Track 08: “Pour Another Drink” – Time for a tongue-in-cheek bar lullaby. Our narrator has gone through a conga line of misfortune, and as for the remedy? “Two more shots do me just right.” A smooth mix of jazz and blues that goes down easy, number eight is perfect for slow-dancing.
Jonathon Long is no newbie when it comes to the blues. For a debut artist, he totally “nailed it!”