Privacy Policy You may submit material for review by first contacting Music Matters at the email address above. Contents are Copyright 2012, Music Matters Review, All rights reserved
Music Matters Albums
Listen to samples of
music that matters.

Through iTunes
Through Amazon

Issue 15
Issue 16
Issue 17
Issue 18
Issue 19
Issue 20
Issue 21
Issue 22
Issue 23
Issue 24
Issue 25
Issue 26
Issue 27

Issue 28
Issue 29
Issue 30

Find us on Facebook

Click here to play FreeRice 24 Hour Streaming Folk Music

Billy Jonas Link:

Billy Jonas

Billy Jonas
Life So Far

2000, Bang A Bucket Music

Life So Far album coverIt took me a while to hear about this artist but I am sure glad I did. This guy has cornered the market on a unique combination of socially and politically aware songwriting with a stunning sense of performance. Jonas is more funk than folk and his main instrument is the drum (and found-object percussion). He is also not afraid to have fun in the studio with sound effects. His spirit is childlike as he dances his way through the material, but if he is a child he must have been here before, because he is an absolute master of his medium. There does not seem to be a wasted motion, drumbeat, pun or sound effect. It’s amazing how close to being over the top he is throughout the album without losing loosing traction.

Life So Far is a dazzling combination of insight and energy. Starting the album is “One,” a list song with a message, the kind of thing you may think you have heard before, but have a listen to this “one.” Jonas launches his list of contrasting human traits with wit, and an infectious drum beat. The word “one” is repeated scores of times, but in voices that sound like a cast of thousands. I have a lot of favorites on this album, but I really relate to “Late.” It’s sung from a child’s point of view:

I’m gonna make you late
I’m gonna do you a favor
I’m gonna get you off your schedule
For the third day in a row

“The Bus” is a series of emotionally complicated stories told on a cross-country trip. This is the first song featuring Jonas on guitar, with the relative lack of frenetic arrangement standing in contrast to the hectic nature of the stories. “Do you wonder at such tangential esoterica shared by strangers on the asphalt of America?”

You probably never noticed how cool sounding the phrase coup d’etat is, but you will never hear it the same old way after hearing Jonas’ song of that name. It’s a tour-de-force of Jonas’ style (hey Billy, does tour-de-force have any lyric possibilities?). “God Is In” could have careened off into didacticism but for the fact that it is approached (attacked?) with the same humor and musicality as the rest of his work. It is a triumph that should be on the curriculum wherever tolerance is taught.

Jonas shows himself to be a stellar talent on Life So Far. Although there are a lot of studio effects on this album, the real fireworks are in the performer. He must be incredible live and I am sure to get out to see him when his orbit grazes my area.—Michael Devlin

Back to main index