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Event Details

Over the course of three full-length albums and two EPs, Jonathon Robert Linaberry — thesongwriter, storyteller, visual artist, and one-man band behind The Bones of J.R. Jones — has wovenhis own tapestry of American roots music. It's a classic sound for the modern world, influenced notonly by blues, soul, and forward-thinking folk, but also by J.R.'s environment.From the bustle of New York City, where he launched The Bones of J.R. Jones with 2012's TheWildness, to the rustic solitude of his current home in the Catskills, J.R. has always looked to theworld around him for inspiration. Few places have left him feeling as inspired as the AmericanSouthwest, an area whose desert panoramas and infinite horizons inspired the songs on his newestrelease, A Celebration. Written during trips to Tucson, Bisbee, Joshua Tree, and other desertdestinations, the six-song EP is everything its title promises: a celebration of the thrill of getting lostin something new, whether it's a landscape, a sound, a perspective, or all of the above.The most compelling artists among us don't replicate their past; instead, they evolve. A Celebrationmarks a new stage in The Bones of J.R. Jones' own evolution, fusing the songwriter's southern gothicsound — a sound rooted in acoustic instruments and J.R.'s woozy vocals — with drum machines,analog synths, vibraphone, and the rich, dark tones of a Magnatone amplifier. The songs wererecorded quickly, in a series of first takes and instinctual performances, with J.R. playing nearly everyinstrument himself. The result is an organic record with an electric pulse — a collection of musicthat, like the region that inspired it, is familiar one minute and otherworldly the next."During our honeymoon, my wife and I disappeared into the desert and rented a house in the middleof an open, vast plain," J.R. remembers. "No one was around us for miles, which is a feeling that'shard to come by when you're from the northeast. The songwriting on A Celebration is rooted in thevulnerability that comes from being out there, being exposed to this infinite emptiness, especially asthe night comes in and the colors change, or as you watch a thunderstorm blowing in from 20 milesaway. That kind of insignificance allows for a sort of freedom, and I wanted to embrace it."Slide guitar riffs and digital snare hits share the spotlight on the song's atmospheric opener, "StayWild." An ambient field recording of street life in an Arizona border town — captured by J.R. duringhis visit — fills "Keep it Low" with the moody sounds of barking dogs and singing locals. Harmoniesare stacked three voices high on "Like an Old Lover," a sparse track that's equal parts old-time gospelballad and new-world folksong. Tying everything together are vivid performances from J.R., whoconfidently blurs the boundaries between genre and generation. One minute, he's a pre-wartroubadour on the corner of some dusty southwestern street, strumming songs on his Dean resonator.The next, he's a 21st century man with a drum machine, a Jupiter-8 synth, and a Kalamazoo guitar,creating a Nebraska-worthy collection of songs about the territories that moved him."The record's essence was shaped by those beautiful desert nights and the roads that go on endlessly,"says J.R. "There's so much space out there. When making A Celebration, I wanted to keep thingsstripped-back in terms of orchestration, arrangement, and the number of players on the record. Itgave me a chance to really embrace that space."
A Celebration's cover art — with its western color palette, desert iconography, and black-and-whitephotograph of wild animals — was handmade by J.R., who also created a series of accompanyingprints. The goal, he says, is to embrace every aspect of the musical experience, creating an immersiveworld for his audience. In that sense, A Celebration does more than shine a light on the Americansouthwest — it highlights J.R.'s ability to the bridge the gap between artistic disciplines.

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Event Location

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Empire Control Room & Garage

606 E. 7th St., Austin, TX, 78701

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Talent

The Bones of J.R. Jones