I will admit that I underestimated the abilities of Jonah Wisnenski at first. I went to the CD release party of Lights back in September, and even wrote a review of the show (read it here). The room wasn’t right for Jonah’s music and the mediocre sound did not do his band justice. Unfortunately, that first impression didn’t draw me back to his music. I am glad that I ran in to Jonah again and I accepted his invitation to give a listen to his album with a fresh perspective . . . so glad!
Jonah has been involved in the Colorado music scene for years, and he had some friends join him on his first solo endeavor. Leftover Salmon’s Bill McKay played keys on a couple of tracks, Rose Hill Drive’s Nate Barnes played some drums, and members of Fox Street Allstars and Kinetix also got in on the action. This album is a great representation of how much the scene digs Jonah’s music, and I consider that some of the best praise that can be offered.
Jonah’s years working as a session man has given him chops in many styles and he really shows them off on Lights. From the country shuffle of “Route 6,” to the funky and soulful “Riverboat Queen,” Jonah keeps the songs grounded in his smooth and jazzy version of the blues. “Grant Me Patience” and “Runaround” give us a taste of his more traditional electric blues playing and also showcase a grittier tone in his vocals.
“Of All the Things I’ve Lost, I miss My Mind the Most” is soaked with sax and is the song that really showcases Jonah’s skills on the guitar. His soloing is tight and has some feeling behind it; natural and unforced. A blues solo is where you can hear if someone plays the blues, or lives the blues, and Jonah sounds liked he is living it!
The album has a lot of different styles and sounds, but they fit together really well. I like being able to leave an album on from start to finish and here it as an entire work of art. I look forward to checking Jonah out again in a room that really compliments his sound. The Walnut Room perhaps?