Jon James has been actively performing since he was 7, and continues to this day in similar vein. He hails from northern Illinois and has long resided in Minneapolis. Since the die was cast, Jon has been involved with approximately one zillion bands. Sideman to many, he currently juggles playing with precisely seven (Courtney Yasmineh, Tim Houlihan, Tina Schlieske, Ali Gray, Patrik Tanner & The Faraway Men, Johnny Clueless, Mish Mash).
When he comes up for air, Jon likes to work on solo recordings. Au Contraire is his sophomore album. Jon likes loud guitars and big drums, but he’s also a sucker for bizarre noise and perplexing language. If pop music is bubblegum, Au Contraire is more akin to black licorice: sweet notes here and there (cuz Jon is a teddybear), but tinged with enigmatic essences (cuz Jon is a shadowy teddybear).
In younger years, Jon was heavily influenced by Brit Invasion, Glam & Power Pop. As an over-schooled grown-up, he is now equally smitten with smart, melodic wordplay -- from Dylan to Bon Scott, Leonard Cohen to Kurt Cobain, Warren Zevon to Wayne Coyne, Tom Waits to Jack White. In fact, if you can corner him (don’t try, he may bite), he'll confess nothing shy of obsession with the written word; a steadfast conviction that lyrics are the heart of song.
Some will tell you this is a crying shame, because it just so happens Jon is also a rather monstrous guitar player. They fear he is squandering potential glory. Try to ignore them. He is simply saving your ears so that you may revel in the laughter of your grandchildren.
Lately, Jon is conducting lots of research (read: wikipedia) on traveling medicine shows, the apothecary tradition, vaudevillian history, tin-pan alley, etc. -- any similar institutions of old where people toured on a shoestring, penned ditties, filled parlours and dabbled artfully in potion & persuasion. He’s formulating a theory that some precise combination of these arcane arts might serve as a much needed shot-in-the-arm for our beloved music industry; rock-and-roll in particular, lest it become ossified and inflexible.
Even if he's unable to distill a workable hypothesis, it's clear these themes will be featured prevalently in his next CD. Or not. News on that as it develops.