Folk singer The Bones of J.R. Jones will perform at The Ark in Ann Arbor on Sept. 10 for his “Slow Lightning Tour.” He’ll be performing a selection of hits, including his latest singles, “The Flood” and “The Good Life,” from his upcoming album, “Slow Lightning”, set to be released on October 13.
Musically, Jonathan Robert Linaberry, AKA The Bones of J.R. Jones is as lyrically illustrative as the folk genre can offer, as his songs encapsulate pieces of the human experience that can only be shared through hard-earned wisdom. For his upcoming album, Slow Lightning, serving as his first full-length album in five years, the Catskills, NY-based singer/songwriter described this project as a process of “Capturing the moment.”
“This album was definitely more paired back,” Jones said. “I wanted it to be more like a live band record, where we have these players, and playing the songs together, which is pretty fun. This album was more stripped back, just what was needed for the songs and the moment of recording it, capturing that moment, and not messing with it.”
Jones says he spent over three years on this album, working with longtime collaborator and producer Kiyoshi Matsuyama. For his lead singles “The Flood” and “The Good Life,” Jones described the creative process as labor, detailing the song as heavier themes that are “impactful.”
“I gravitate towards these themes that are a little heavier and a little more impactful,” Jones said. “I started writing these songs after I put out an EP between “Ones We Keep Close” and “Slow Lightning,” called “A Celebration.” For this album, we took the theme and production template of that EP and put it on this full-length (album) that’s coming out now.”
During his upcoming US and European tour, titled “The Slow Lightning Tour,” Jones, who usually works as a one-man band, will bring a drummer to accompany him on stage. Also playing on the tour is fellow folk singer Benjamin Dakota Rogers.
“For the longest time, I did everything solo,” Jones said. “There will be five or six songs from the new record and the old favorites I like to play. The show gets pretty rowdy for a two-piece, but it’s a lot of fun. I really love it when stripped back, and it’s just an acoustic guitar. There’s just quiet and silence. It’s just that moment of vulnerability you don’t experience much unless you’re at a live show.”
Jones, who admittedly has never been to Ann Arbor, said that he’s looking forward to performing at The Ark, calling the venue a fan-favorite amongst his community of musicians.
“I’ve heard wonderful things about a few friends that have played there,” Jones said. “It’s funny, regionally, anytime you talk about touring with a friend, there’s always certain venues that are the spot (to play), New York has a spot, Northeast Pennsylvania has a spot, the Ark has that name, and I’m excited to experience it.”
Jones, who’s making his Ann Arbor debut, says he wants everyone to have a good time. Jones calls this performance ahead of his album release a memorable experience.
“Come on out. Have a good time and sing some songs,” Jones said.“It’s going to be a time to remember, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Antonio Cooper is a freelance journalist from Detroit, Michigan. His coverage of music festivals and interviews with local celebrities appeared in The E-Current Magazine, The Detroit Metro Times, XXL Magazine, RichMagDigital, The Ann Arbor Observer, and Pop Magazine.