Jonas Martin
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Jonas Martin

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Alternative Indie

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Feb
07
Jonas Martin @ Double Wide Bar

Dallas, Texas, United States

Dallas, Texas, United States

Aug
24
Jonas Martin @ University of North Texas

Denton, Texas, United States

Denton, Texas, United States

Aug
21
Jonas Martin @ House of Blues Dallas

Dallas, Texas, United States

Dallas, Texas, United States

Music

Press


Jonas Martin’s a busy guy.

With Goodnight Ned, he’s a part of one of Dallas’ most acclaimed rock groups. His solo debut from early this year, Chokecherry Jam, established him as a powerful songwriter in his own right. And without stopping to catch much of a breath, Martin’s already at work on his sophomore album, The Color Scheme, due in spring 2016.

Chokecherry Jam was overflowing with ideas, so maybe it’s no surprise that Martin is looking to be prolific. When you can write that many compelling songs, there’s no point keeping them from the world. He pulls together a mix of well-worn rock and roll influences, but Martin brings an incisive lyrical approach and a number of musical flourishes — like the keys and electronic gurgles on the new “Let Them Drown” — that make the sound all his own. His balance of deeply personal and broadly funny material, sarcasm and sincerity, social commentary and heart-on-the-sleeve emotional storytelling, calls to mind the dead-serious goofball poetics of somebody like Father John Misty, who feels like a contemporary touchstone.

“Let Them Drown” is a fantastic number that continues in that vein, but may be a little darker and even more moving than some of Martin’s past work — The upcoming album is dedicated to his late father. - D Magazine


I’ll say it right up front, if you don’t like this album, you just don’t like good music. This isn’t the throwaway rubbish you hear on the radio, this is great rock music and great songwriting, written by a talented musician with a sharp wit for words. I have heard and enjoyed Martin’s band, Goodnight Ned, but his solo album, with all due respect, just blows that project out of the water.

The sound this time around is crunchier and the mood is more biting and experimental; littered with jagged guitars, sprawling pianos, tempo shifts from upbeat verses to somber chorus and squealing guitar, violin and saxophone interludes. Amping up the energy, Martin has delivered a ballsy, brash, in your face collection of tunes encompassing different genres and tempos, while taking chances that pay off handsomely.

As you would expect, from a genius mind, the songs on Chokecherry Jam are more complex than your average pop tune and not particularly radio friendly. That being said, they are ear-candy to a thinking mind and just present one great song after another. “You’re So Blues”, “Autumn Love”, “Wake Up”, “Fishy Man”, “No Wonder”, and “Where Did It Go”, blend sounds from the past with their own modern twists…or is the other way around? Either way, Jonas Martin walks the musical tightrope between psychedelic strains and baroque rock, with everything else stuffed in-between in varying quantities.

I can’t think of anyone else creating music of this quality and verve on the scene right now. There is enough energy, power and even noise in this album unlike any other artists are even willing to attempt. I imagine a shoutout should go to the production and mastering, in achieving an electrifying balance in the sound here.

The artistry of the group of musicians, led by Jonas Martin, is also extremely impressive and entertaining throughout the album; resulting in a record that pushes the envelope but is never pretentious and seems rather devoid of ego. Musically, Martin comes across as someone who deeply understands his influences, yet is able to fuse them into a sound which is ultimately self-expressive.

Lyrically he is even more awe-inspiring, as he explores themes that include insomnia, love, philosophical turmoil or erectile dysfunction. He is often torn between the opposite impulses of temperance and extravagance as he questions everything and seeks conclusions to life’s psychological complexities.

Full of eclectic melody, groove and grittiness, Chokecherry Jam is not perfect in every way – art never is – but it is a work of pure genius and unlike anything you’ll come across. And it gets better with every listen! - Soundlooks


Now that the end of June is upon us, this would be a good time to reflect upon the releases that have helped define 2015 so far. I can honestly say that this year is poised to be the strongest year for local releases in about six years. I like to do a Top 40 countdown of songs at the end of the year. Since this is only the halfway mark, I’m limiting myself to twenty instead of forty. And instead of focusing on songs, this is a list (in alphabetical order) of the strongest albums and EPs of the year thus far. Along with each album, I’ve included one track for your sampling, which I hope whets your taste for the rest of what each act has to offer.

Jonas Martin, Chokecherry Jam
Jonas Martin had already made a name for himself within the local music scene through his work in the band Goodnight Ned. The release of Chokecherry Jam, however, has made his name even more prominent within the scene. Mr. Martin manages to blend blues elements with Beatlesque pop melodies that will leave listeners craving seconds and thirds of his tasty Chokecherry Jam. - Ghost Of Blind Lemon


Jonas Martin has found a home here at sleepingbagstudios, his new album Chokecherry Jam is chockfull of precise musicianship played with real style & skill, innovation and undeniable passion for the craft. From everything I’ve read about Martin, he’d never be content to simply walk the path of others before him without leaving his own unmistakable footprints in the sand to let you know he’d been there in his own, ummm…’special’ way.

We’re not talking about ‘short-bus-special’ for the record…Jonas Martin is absolutely killing it on his first solo record. From moment one, this innovative artist starts out Chokecherry Jam with the bizarre sounds that make up the short “Preamble” intro into the album which, strange as it is, flows righteously smooth into the first full-song, “You’re So Blues.” This first track plays like a Jack White take on Colin James or the Brian Setzer Orchestra…you can hear the classic touch & feel that Martin has for his writing and his ability to modernize these sounds into his own style is nothing short of perfection.

From lyrics to music, this guy proves to be an exceptional talent as the album plays on. “You’re So Blues” is the first look & listen you get to experience the sarcastic nature of the lyrics of Jonas Martin as he riffs on love & life in this opening tune. Love the way this song opens with playful electro sounds and harmonies to break into the guitar & White-ish style ranting vocals…but…I mean…well…it’s well-known that I respect White more than I actually LIKE his music…and I kinda think when you hear an artist like Martin it becomes all the more clear to why that is…

Hey listen. When White gets it RIGHT, he’s a straight-up genius…but I don’t understand exactly WHY someone that skilled can take just as many shots extremely wide of the mark. You pick a band he’s been in or album he’s put out and I’ll show you an album that contains within: a handful of songs you’d never want to live without, a smattering of ideas gone wrong and a couple tracks that someone might even call LAZY. When you listen to the effort, precision and execution from the independent scene with Jonas Martin has made this album with, in a somewhat similar style…it kind of has to make a guy scratch his bearded chin and ponder why someone like White hasn’t been able to get it 100% right, despite what Rolling Stone might have thought back in the day.

Sorry Jonas…I know…I’m here to talk about you. But of course, you’ve mentioned on your pages that he’s an influence, and the comparisons can certainly be made in various spots throughout the album for sure…I’m not trying to bag on a hero of yours so much as trying to communicate I’d much rather listen to what you’re creating due to the captivating song-writing coupled with the flawless execution of it all.

Some people give their blood, sweat & tears to their music careers. With the excellent rhythm of “Autumn Love,” you can almost hear that Jonas has found a way to bring in the spirit of the actual BAND Blood, Sweat & Tears as well as his relentless dedication to his art. It starts out playfully, with a melody that’s reminiscent of “What Goes Up Must Come Down,” by the classic band before departing into a smart set of twists and turns, catchy rhythms and clever song-writing. Kind of like Blood, Sweat & Tears combined with Panic At The Disco!’s more Beatles-esque tunes off their second record. However your ears take this one in, no matter what you hear or what it reminds you of…I can guarantee they’ll be happy that you chose to stuff this sound into them.

If you made it this far through the album, you’ve already got great taste in music…but if you make it to “Wake Up,” it’s game-over for you or any set of ears that hear it. This…hmm…how do I say it…

This is as good as rock can possibly get isn’t it?

Explosive when it needs to be, spacious when it’s not – “Wake Up” is an absolutely perfected rock-song. By far some of my favourite lyrics on the album, everything about this song works massively well for Jonas Martin and the tremendous team of talented musicians that surround him on Chokecherry Jam. The distortion on the main vocals is nothing short of audio-GOLD, but it’s truly his confidence & style in his performance that draws you in. I mean, that’s official SWAGGER in this song…it has that loose-feel to it all but man – this album is so well-executed & well-played that it will curly-cue your pubes in excitement! “Wake Up” is pretty much everything I dig in real-rock and accompanied by instrumentation that truly makes itself known as each player takes a real turn in the spotlight to shine.

That’s who it is! Jeez I had to fish out that name from the back of my mind…but the singer Jonas is reminding me of most on the following cut “Gabby Gasoline” is actually Damon Johnson…some of you will remember him from the band Brother Cane, or perhaps his later work in Slave To The System. Supremely talented guitarist and singer – Jonas Martin is already conjuring up comparisons to some of the best of the best out there…people like Jack White of course already mentioned and The Black Keys will certainly also spring to mind at times throughout Chokecherry Jam. This guy is keeping great company…and if Jonas continues to play his cards this well, he’ll not only be compared to fantastic mainstreamers – he’ll be sitting on the same late-night couches and hitting the same stages. I dig the slow-groove of “Gabby Gasoline” and its stylistic approach to vocals…excellent keyboard support, great bass & drums as well…and of course, a super-rad-ass guitar solo. Simple…I get the idea that Martin could easily take this all for an epic showboat ride, and you’ll hear more of a challenging solo as this song plays to the end – but the point is that he never overdoes it. Not to bring up White only to beat on him slightly once more…but again I think the difference in Jonas Martin’s music makes itself known; he pushes right to the borders of ideas, sounds and innovation…and it might have a casual, loose, relentless rock-based attitude…but the control and precision are completely masterful.

This album does get a little lighter with “Gabby Gasoline” and “Jodie Lever” taking place after the rock perfection of “Wake Up,” but it proves to be cool in different ways. “Jodie Lever” again shows the excellent aspect of the lyrics from Martin…this is an incredible story told extremely well. I’m not one to usually pull quotes out direct, but the line “But when I ask her, ‘Jodie, tell me a tale.’ She says, ‘Son, why don’t you just go out and make one yourself?’” – I mean…it’s pure genius and the line itself is delivered with impact right before heading back into the catchy chorus of “Jodie Lever.” The piano-solo is chaotic jazz-genius and the additional saxophone sounds are just freakin’ GOLDEN…it’s a massive song by the time it finds its ending.

That jazzy vibe finds a classic funk groove and marries itself together solidly in “Fishy Man.” I love the added sonic-textures to this song…it’s almost like a tune underwater! The chorus is completely awesome…waaaaaaaaay too short but impossible not to love. Once again, standout bass performance and incredible guitar solos…by the end of “Fishy Man,” you’re caught up in the net of one incredible jam that really encapsulates great aspects of classic psychedelic-rock & funk. It ends with a smart assembly of static & chaotic-melody…and breaks way perfectly for “Apple Peelings.”

Brace yourselves…because this album started strongly…but the end of the Chokecherry Jam album from Jonas Martin absolutely continues to raise its game towards the end. With a clever layout, his new set of solo-songs really does a great job of mixing up his sound subtly from track to track and plays smoothly throughout its transitions from song to song. “Apple Peelings,” is perhaps one of the lower-key tunes on the album in terms of energy…but as you head into the third-and-a-half minute, you’ll realize that this guy never puts in anything less than 100%. The emotion, power & passion in Martin’s performances will always reflect the true raw connection he has to his art; music is a powerful entity inside him not to be contained, and creativity probably keeps him awake at night.

What “Apple Peelings” does best, as much as I might like the song…is set up the following track “No Wonder” to make the dramatic impact that this song deserves. I’d honestly put “No Wonder” in the top-ten songs I’ve heard so far this year…this is an absolute vision in music brought flawlessly to life. The guitar sounds are unbelievable; massive crashing waves of distorted sounds play alongside the huge drums and drift into incomparable melodies. Martin’s vocals are at an absolute high-point here on “No Wonder,” with an unforgettably emotional performance and completely catchy flow. Hands down, it’s one of the best songs on what is already an unforgettable album…I could listen to this song for the rest of the year. It’s audibly hypnotic with its vocal rhythms; melancholy, self-reflective…it’s just superb.

It’s true entertainment…that’s exactly what Chokecherry Jam really is. From beginning to end, this album provides highlight moment after highlight moment, and the final cut “Where Did It Go” simply confirms the cohesion in Martin’s work once again as it subtly shifts, twists and morphs into absolute rock-chaos by the end of its five-minute run. It’s kind of like when you go to a restaurant and you love the menu but can’t decide what to eat so you get that awesome sampler thingy that has a bit of everything you love on it…that’s what “Where Did It Go” is. And…AND…he brought back the FAKE ENDING! Oh man! It’s been YEARS! But who doesn’t love one of music’s best twists on the album itself when you hear more sound come out after you thought it was all said & done? That’s right – we ALL love it…and with one epic final burst of music and modern-day-meets-old-school-innovation, Jonas Martin ends Chokecherry Jam in true style.

I’d go as far as to say this album would be pretty much impossible to resist. The depth of skill from Martin himself in addition to the incredible supporting cast of talent playing on the songs and assisting in its production is such an immaculate assembly it makes you want to stand up and cheer. There’s a truly gifted musician and song-writer in Jonas Martin…but more importantly an artist that truly knows exactly how to bring his songs screaming vibrantly to bright & beautiful rock-infused reality. - Sleeping Bag Studios


Jonas Martin is a singer/songwriter and performer hailing from Dallas. Growing up the son of a radio disc jockey, he received a thorough education in rock n’ roll and honed his musical and songwriting skills in a Beatles tribute band. He went on to record indie rock band Goodnight Ned and has gone on to share the stage with artists like Holly Golightly, Polyphonic Spree, Cake and The Toadies amongst many others.

His music is an intoxicating blend of modern alternative rock/blues like The White Stripes and The Black Keys, with hallmarks of the classic songwriting of Ray Davies, Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. Crucially, Jonas possesses the perfect voice for this kind of music, able to rip it up like Jack White and blessed with a large vocal range.

Starting with a rather surreal intro of someone flicking through radio stations (aptly enough), it launches into the swampy blues-rock of opening track You’re So Blues which hits the listener straight away with an authentic, rootsy sound. The lyrics are suitably quirky (“Baby, he’s so sick he’ll give a corpse the flu…“) and the production is nigh on flawless, with Hammond organ and a delicious lead guitar tone captured perfectly.

Second track Autumn Love shows his Ray Davies influence with shades of The Kinks’ Picture Book detectable on this jaunty, mid-paced song that acts as a nice contrast to the first. Lyrically, it’s again offbeat, celebrating autumn rather than the more common odes to summer and how he marches to a different drum to other people (“Look at them go, hiding from the rain. What’s the matter with the rain?”).

Wake Up is another song with an unusual subject matter, describing the state between
dreaming and waking. The music depicts this brilliantly, creating a psychedelic haze with woozy, divebombing guitars and ghostly backing vocals, leading to a superb bluesy chorus. The amount of instrumental detail on every track shows this album is a real labour of love.

Tracks five and six, Gabby Gasoline and Jodie Lever, are both excellent also, the former being seemingly a paean to his car and freedom it brings, while Jodie Lever, about an 82 year old woman is the sort of character study of enigmatic people that Ray Davies loved to write. Fishy Man is a fun piece of psychedelic blues that the Hendrix of Electric Ladyland would have approved of, lyrically imagining himself as a merman in the sea, which may or may not be a metaphor for something! (“Swim like you want but take it from me, things are better in the big deep…”).

Apple Peelings is another exquisitely crafted piece of work, full of rich Hammond organ. It starts out as a blues-waltz in 3/4 going into a huge Harry Nilsson style epic chorus, and you can really hear the influence here. Nilsson once famously had a ‘duel’ on the mic with John Lennon to see who could ‘rip it up’ the most; you feel Jonas could easily hold his own in that company, as his singing on this one, in particular, is stunning.

No Wonder is perhaps the heaviest song here in both terms of sound and the philosophical nature of the lyrics (“Will I turn to dust or will I be saved?“). Ominous sounding tom-toms roll underneath a powerful wall of organ, piano, and distorted low guitar before it lurches into a cathartic and intense final section, the first of two five-minute epics.

Last track Where Did It Go? is even longer but relatively lighter and more upbeat in tone, with a snappy guitar riff that grooves the song along. Despite women generally being the staple subject matter of blues and rock, this is the first time he resorts to type, but does it in a typically unclichéd fashion (“It’s already over. There’s a fighter down. I got nothing to show. Where did it go?“). The last two minutes are a glorious musical blow- out that feels well earned after so much intricate structure and detail throughout the preceding forty minutes.

Overall, this is a hugely enjoyable album that I found gripping from start to finish. While fellow blues-rock artists like Jack White and The Black Keys are useful as reference points, Jonas Martin has melded his numerous influences in an alchemical way to forge his own sonic style. With inventive songwriting and arrangements, coupled with excellent modern-style production, it revitalizes a genre which some would dismiss as done to death. Anyone who thinks that should give Chokecherry Jam a listen and be prepared to change their mind. - The Faulkner Review


It had been a little while since I had last seen Jonas Martin, the only time coming right at the start of the year when he did his CD release for his debut solo record. I had wanted to see another gig since, though had just never managed it. This night at the Cambridge Room of House of Blues allowed for a perfect opportunity though, as he and his band kicked off the night that was centered around Delta Maze and his CD release show.

The musician best known as being one of the many working parts of Goodnight Ned was last to take the stage after his four band mates had filed on, taking a spot behind his keyboard. At 10:04 they tore right into “You’re So Blues”, the somewhat ominous intro of the song calling everyone’s attention to the stage. He may have been stuck behind the keys for the moment, though Martin was still quite mobile, from swaying a little bit to grabbing the mic while shouting some of the more aggressive parts of his folksy, rock songs.

They had a solid 36-minutes to work with, typically just allotting for some applause between songs before launching into the next one. Such was the case with “Gabby Gasoline”, Martin unraveling the mic cord from its stand. With another keyboard set up on stage right, Daniel Creamer jamming on it, Martin’s keyboard, bassist Christian Rios and drummer Matt Trimble set up at the back and then Jason Burt boxed in on stage left, there was little free space. Still, Martin found room to saunter about during that track. Most of his band mates even showed off their pipes, providing the backing vocals/harmonies.

The next couple songs followed the track listing of Chokecherry Jam, “Jodie Lever” displaying the bluesy side of Martins music a little more prominently than the first few numbers had. That then brought them to what seems to be a favorite among fans as well as Martin, “Fishy Man” being one song that best highlights his unique way of penning songs. They stand out from the traditional, which is exactly what helps in making them so good, because they stick with you. There’s a pretty wicked guitar solo worked in on that one, Burt wailing on his axe with a devastating force.

“Thank you!” Martin exclaimed, noting that song had brought about some technical difficulties. Burt was already at work fixing the issues. “Dude, your pedals are smoking!” the singer jokingly remarked. Once everything was back in order, he asked if everyone was alright with a blues song. He quipped that he didn’t even know why he asked, it’s not like anyone was going to yell “No!” or say that they hated the blues.

The blues song he referred to wasn’t one of theirs, but a cover of Cream’s “Sleepy Time Time”, which highlighted the band just as much as it did the singer, who was now back to being a frontman. Another guitar solo eventually gave way to a piano solo, Creamer wildly striking the keys on the intense number.

They had time for a few more, the rest being all originals. After asking all the early arrivals give it up for Delta Maze, who would be taking the stage later, they created a little more carefree atmosphere with the peaceful “Autumn Love”. Fitting, since the season will be here before long.

The group bridged it seamlessly into the subsequent track from the record, “Wake Up” finding Martin singing about insomnia, a subject I don’t believe is covered much in music. It may not sound like the most riveting thing, though it actually is quite engrossing. It sounded alright to me, though afterwards (and after introducing each of his band mates), Martin confessed he had “fucked up”. “I think they caught on,” he said of his band mates, though they looked a bit surprised, saying they didn’t hear anything off.
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After opening with the first full track from Chokecherry Jam, they finished this 36-minute long set with the final one, and one where Martin sings about another subject that has possibly never been discussed in song form before: erectile dysfunction. “Where Did It Go?”is another definite favorite among fans, the sheer seriousness Martin uses to deliver it making you, the listener, unsure if you should chuckle a bit or feel sorry for him as he opens himself up in a very personal manner. Despite what you may think, it really is an excellent song and made for a fine way to end this show.

I enjoyed Martin even more this time around. I knew his songs when seeing him early on in the year, though was much more familiar with them this time around. His partially new cast of experienced musicians (a couple members of Somebody’s Darling helped him out at the CD release show) fit well too, all of them playing a part in making the show the best it could possibly be.

The show this night reminded me just how entertaining Martin is. Everyone knew he was a talented musician from his other project, though it’s nice seeing him at the center of things for a change. Having an environment where his rich, forceful voice is the main focal point with these cleverly crafted songs being a very close second.

If you’re a fan of blues or folk, you need to check him out. Martin doesn’t have any shows on tap at the moment, though you can purchase his record on either iTUNES or BANDCAMP. - The Music Enthusiast


Hailing from Dallas, Jonas Martin is a musician who pulls no punches. On new album ‘Chokecherry Jam’ he fuses different influences to provide his own resolute interpretation of modern rock and roll.

Jonas Martin is a visionary, eclectic and forward thinking songwriter / performer on a quest to twist, break and reconstruct musical influences into his unique blend of rock.

His songs echo influences as diverse as garage, beat, blues, punk, indie and motown – remarkably managing to remain simple and direct in spite of the diverse musical languages channeled within Jonas Martin’s innovative album ‘Chokecherry Jam’.

The Dallas-based artist injects his music with fun, sarcasm, groove and grit, echoing influential acts such as The Stooges, while blinking an eye to modern heroes such as The Black Keys.

As I often like to put it, this guy did not invent the wheel, but he certainly knows how to make it spin. By that, I mean that being innovative isn’t about coming up with that crazy chord combination nobody has heard or with that otherworldly synth sound that you spend 10 hours programming: it’s all about being able to catalyze familiar experiences and sounds (rock and roll, blues…) and turn them into something fresh and new simply by approaching those ideas with a charismatic personality.
From the sleazy proto-blues of “You’re so Blues” to the “Psychedelic church” textures of “No Wonder“, Chokecherry jam is an album that stretches, moves and explores different directions while maintaining a solid set of core aesthetics. The fuzzy vocal sound and the dark, vintage-y reverb tones are some of the trademarks of this well-produced and well-performed release.

Among my favourite tracks on the album, “Fishy Man” definitely deserves a mention. The song is arguably one of the most kaleidoscopic jams on the album, and its “Wild-ride” freeform vibes remind me of artists such as Tom Waits.

Throughout the span of 10 tracks, Jonas managed to cover diverse moods and scenarios that will greatly appeal to fans of lo-fi aesthetics and saturated-sounding rock albums where every little imperfection is actually just perfect.

If you are the kind of person who enjoys any of the above, Jonas Martin might just have made your favourite album of the year! - Music Blogged


Hailing from the musical hotbed of Dallas, Jonas Martin is a veteran of the local scene. By and large a product of his environment, Martin grew up with a discjockey father whose extensive collection inspired a young Jonas to make music a lifetime exploration. Dabbling with and finally settling on piano/keyboards and vocals as his primary areas of focus, Jonas Martin found himself active in numerous projects over the years. He released Chokecherry Jam, a collaborative/solo effort with fellow regional musicians, at the beginning of the year. The first record under his own name, Chokecherry Jam is a representation of purely alternative tastes meshing into a soulful blues-rock base with a wry and clever approach to lyrical themes.

The first half of the album goes by way too fast, which isn't a surprise when the two short but undeniably sweet openers "You're So Blues" and "Autumn Love" snap up your attention. The former is a large guitar-driven affair, with Jonas riffing over smooth backing vocals and tight guitar lines. This is the sort of track that whets the appetite, and "Autumn Love" branches out enough to take the listener off guard. In combination with the bombastic groove of "Wake Up", the introduction of a fine songwriter and superb supporting cast is complete...and completely engrossing. For me, the middle of the album slows down some, with "Gabby Gasoline", "Jodie Lever" and "Fishy Man" having their moments but ultimately not hitting the same sweet spots the opening salvo hit. The mellow blues and bright piano melodies of "Apple Peelings" pick things back up. Perhaps the most well written track in the set. "No Wonder" has a darker vibe relative to the rest of Chokecherry Jam, which contrasts well with Martin's delivery and makes for another intriguing twist. The disc closes much as it started, only more fleshed out as "Where Did It Go?" spans a greater distance but retains the energenic alternative blues rock that make up the core sound of Jonas Martin.

Dipping into a back catalog is not possible, but with a variety of local projects, Jonas Martin may at least have some alternative offerings floating around. As it stands, however, it's easier to see all his previous work as a building up to Chokecherry Jam only because of how polished (mastered by multiple Grammy-winner Brian Lucey) and expertly crafted (excellent contributions from everyone involved) most of it is. It's easy, while listening to the album's better moments, to mistake Jonas Martin for someone who's been in a much bigger spotlight for quite some time. Hopefully, the merits of Chokecherry Jam bring him that much closer. - Music Emissions


In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be taking a deep look at indie rock artist Jonas Martin and his new full length record, ‘Chokecherry Jam.’ The album is an eclectic mix of wry storytelling, tight production, and excellent performances. The cigarette-toting Dallas-based songwriter pulls influence from the sarcastic elements of music the likes of Randy Newman or Harry Nilsson. The output, though, is more akin to something more like modern indie rock.

The first impression you may get from ‘Chokecherry Jam’ is that it is certainly laid back. The superb ‘Autumn Love’ dabbles with ‘la, dee, da’s,’ and soulful deliveries. In fact, all of the power of the album can be traced back to Martin’s vocal performances. They’re absolutely infectious and tight band he surrounds himself with accents him marvelously.

Despite the lighthearted atmosphere of songs like ‘Autumn Love,’ there is certainly something darker and grittier at play as well. ‘Wake Up’ is the first real instance of this. It's a deep, foreboding garage rocker tinged with gospel influence. The lead guitar tears through your speakers and descends into sonic madness. Martin compares himself to the Black Keys - I get that comparison and lean into agreeance on it.

The production of this record has a lot going on. Stellar lead vocals, tight percussion, and snarling electric guitar aren’t the only stand-outs. There’s some wonderful back up vocals scattered throughout each track, a searing organ, and at some point, I even heard a string section and a saxophone. Often, independent musicians get a bit bogged down in semantics when their productions get this complex. Not Jonas Martin, though, no sir. The entire mix is professional and solid as could be. (Though, upon looking at the liner notes, that is entirely to be expected when your producer has produced for the likes of Beck and the Arctic Monkeys.)

Another area that ‘Chokecherry Jam’ succeeds is in the curated nature of the track listing. At ten tracks, it’s the perfect length. More importantly, though, the tracks are different enough that the record flows from one track to the next with ease. That’s an important part of a record that many critics don’t take into consideration: the whole in comparison to its fragmented parts. ‘Chokecherry Jam’ is much better a full movement than individual singles or tracks. The acoustic nature of ‘Jodie Lever’ is beautifully contrasted with the garage-blues nature of ‘Fishy Man,’ the following track.

‘Apple Peeling’ may be one of the ultimate highlights of the record. What a magnificently well done track. Martin honed some of his songwriting abilities when he was in a Beatles tribute band. That Lennon/McCartney influence is actually apparent here. The moody, atmospheric ‘No Wonder’ follows in an elegant fashion. The cataclysmic production style of this track in particular is intriguing to me: it feels dramatic, dire, and epic in every way. I absolutely love it.

The album closes out with ‘Where Did It Go?’ It’s a raunchy blues track with some neat contemporary influence. Again, it feels a whole lot like something the Black Keys would put out. There’s a wall of sound of sorts emanating from this record; no track is simple and each time you listen you get a slightly different impression of the song than from the previous listen.

‘Chokecherry Jam’ is one of the coolest independent records of 2015 thus far. It’s masterfully performed, produced, mixed, and written. It’s a treat to listen to and is a very satisfying full experience. If you’re in the Dallas area, I would highly recommend checking Jonas Martin’s live performance schedule. If you’re not, get on over to his website, which is listed below. Get this record. You can even get it on vinyl. (Do that; I bet this record is sweet on an analog system.) - Independent Spotlight


The savory conventions of classic rock music meet the edgy sounds of present-day and the voices of tomorrow on the latest album release from Dallas-based musician Jonas Martin. ‘Chokecherry Jam’ is enticingly sweet, colorful, and deliciously raw, the perfect culmination of fervent artistry at work. The album administers a jagged-edge with several slices of nostalgia, cut precisely for the modern music appetite. Delivering a genuine performance, Jonas Martin executes clean songwriting, compelling instrumentals, and flawless vocals.

‘Chokecherry Jam’ digs instinctively deep with a sequence of riveting lyrical content wrapped inside of intense music composition. Jonas Martin quickly captures attention with interesting metaphors and candid wordplay. Opening up with “Preamble”, a prelude of what is to come, Jonas appeals to a contemporary audience with a taste for the futuristic. He then guides listeners through the unrefined elements of classic rock and roll with “You’re So Blues”, a diverse number that emerges with an instant edgy feel, punctuated by reflective moments, amusing doo-wop energy. Electrifying guitar riffs, and tantalizing vocals summon listeners with reckless abandon. Lyrics like “he’s so sick, give a corpse the flu” are just too good to miss.

Demonstrating his way with words, Jonas showcases dreamy songwriting on the number “Autumn Love”, a brilliant apogee of past meets present. “Wake Up” follows suit, bringing forth beautiful songwriting contrasted with dark electric ambiance. Distorted elements, reverberating percussion, and chilling harmonies deliver an eclectic experience. Martin, an astute performer, continues to flex his prowess not only as an instrumentalist but as a strong vocalist.

“Gabby Gasoline” comes to life with bursting metaphors as Jonas seduces the track with suave notes. A hybrid of ambient, funk, and intense rhythms perspire all over this smoking hot number. Following the intense pickups heard on “Gabby Gasoline”, Jonas’ adventure continues with a spirit track titled “Jodie Lever”. Telling a vivid tale accentuated by frenzied keys and dynamic instrumentals, “Jodie Lever” is an intriguing listen.

Known for his satirical songwriting, Jonas beckons listeners with “Fishy Man”, an uptempo number with entertaining lyrics and irresistible presence. Lingering guitar riffs, echoing vocals, and fascinating special effects are roughed-up with grungy distortions while revealing a rather polished performance. ‘Chokecherry Jam’ demonstrates a myriad of influences as heard on “Apple Peelings”, a bluesy feeling number with hints of gospel and “No Wonder”, a gorgeous production with lush melodies and artful instrumentals. While at times Jonas keeps it smooth, he never goes soft as indicated by the free-spirited “Where Did it Go”, a wild ride through epic instrumentals, nasty guitar shreds, and wild rhythms. Dripping with a distinct Southern feel, “Where Did it Go” takes listeners on a surprising yet, delightful twist.

Stretching across the soundscape, ‘Chokecherry Jam’ is a brilliant contrast of sweet and sour, drawing on a multitude of influences while appealing to a wide audience. Jonas Martin serves up a charming performance that is righteously clean but quick to get down and dirty. Fusing together elements of rock, Jonas captures the ever-evolving waves of sound that continue inspire future generations. - Glitter & Stilettos


Jonas Martin does not take himself too seriously. While most people turn to earnest yet predictable adjectives to describe themselves, Martin’s “sarcastic, bigheaded and goofy” self-interpretation of his own personality produces an honest yet colorful view of his true self. In fact, the latest video teasers for his debut album Chokecherry Jam features parodies of cult classic horror movies such as Carrie and The Blair Witch project.

If you are looking for that cliché musical artist that travels to foreign countries for inspiration, then he is not your guy. Jonas definitely breaks the foundation of the traditional musician. Possessing an unruffled yet confident style, his musical spirit screams rebel in every since of the word.

Born in San Antonio but raised in Dallas, he’s a remix of the quintessential southern dude. When it comes to music, Martin’s eclectic taste solidifies his personality and melodic swag. Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, Old blue eyes himself Frank Sinatra and Amy Lou Harris are constants on his iTunes playlist.

Most musicians attribute their talent to good family genes and life experiences. Martin is no exception. His life encompasses the same ingredients typical to that of a legendary performer.

As a child he grew up playing the piano, was a member of his school bands and witnessed firsthand the impact of his father’s career as a popular 98.7 KLUV DJ. Throw in ample encouragement from both parental units to chase his dreams and you have got the makings of a star. However you would also be surprised to know two truths: it was not until his 20’s that Jonas was lured to follow his passion and he remains one of a few members within his family to actually pursue a career in music.

“My mother is an author and painter and my dad plays bass guitar, says Martin. "Surprisingly not many people in my family are musicians. My brother plays guitar and I didn't find out actually until I was already well into my music career and he is really good too.”

Upon hearing the first note of his new compilation, you quickly understand why his biggest influences are Kirk Cobain, Randy Newman and Ray Davies. You would also be surprised to learn that the country, folk, gospel and hip-hop genres have heavily influenced his rhythmic skill. Groups such as Outcast have played a massive part in cultivating his musical evolution.

If Martin's name sounds familiar, you may recognize him as the keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist of Dallas-based band Goodnight Ned. Only two words can simply summarize Martin’s decision to strike out on his own - individual creativity.

“There is definitely an element of just wanting to do something and have complete control, just to see what would happen honestly”, he said.

For those Goodnight Ned fans who assume that the birth of Martin’s solo career means the death of the group, rest assured he still remains an integral part of the popular local band.

The album release for his highly anticipated solo album Chokecherry Jam, will take place on January 10th at the Prophet Bar, but the meaning behind the title itself is a conundrum. Chokecherries are naturally bitter berries that when combined with sugar and lemon juice create quite a tasty treat. So naturally one would assume that such an uncommon fruit spread would provoke an even deeper meaning. However, listeners shouldn't think too much into the meaning behind the album’s name.

“The album overall has no specific conceptual meaning,” explains Martin.

As difficult as it is to believe, despite the complexity of each lyric included on the LP, there is no one method to determine his musical madness. In fact, the title came to life while Jonas was on tour, traveling down a lonely country road in the middle of nowhere.

Quite the ingenious lyricist, Jonas has no qualm about excluding exaggerated meaning during his valuable time in the studio.

“The album as a body of work was not produced with the intent to create a concept album, yet the theme of every song that is embedded into the record’s sequence, meshed well with one another.", he said. "I guess it is just the next step of my career as a songwriter.”

No Wonder, a single that explores his journey to find the meaning behind the many questions of life will definitely spark curiosity behind what to expect from the remaining musical masterpiece. In the midst of dark undertones outwardly displayed by this single, a true interpretation of the tune’s deeper meaning lies exposed.

“Its just me saying that maybe I don’t need to spend so much time worried about death and why we are here and all that nonsense when I have such a small amount of time to live my life.”

There is no elaborate story behind how Martin chose special guests Oil Boom and Wesley Geiger for his impending album release. He didn't bump into them at an epic trendy day party. Nope. His decision came solely from their parallel sounds and comparable flair that ensures a harmonious consistency during his January 10th show.

Martin’s positive optimism about the impact of the album is refreshing; nevertheless, the focus remains centered on his fans overall contemplation of his latest project.

In the meantime, Jonas still maintains his mission to restore enthusiasm about quality music, by encouraging both fans and music skeptics to rock out in life, one note at a time. - Blitz Weekly


Jonas Martin may be best known as one-fifth of the Dallas-based roots rock/indie rock outfit known as Goodnight Ned, and while that won’t be changing, he’s also pursuing a new outlet to better showcase his own original music. Naturally, that would mean starting up a solo project on the side; and his solo debut is among one of the first local releases of 2015.

It’s an intriguing album, mainly because Martin doesn’t fit the typical songwriters mold. These aren’t your average, straightforward songs about having your heart broken or any other more stereotypical subject matter, and even when they are, they are approached in a manner that’s different from most.

After the somewhat ominous and even subliminal-esque “Preamble” (how often do you hear that word unless it’s in talking about the U.S. Constitution?) the first full track roars into action. “You’re So Blues” is a moody number with an almost blues like feel at times, especially on the gripping guitar solo. Granted, it’s more of a rock infused blues vibe, but still. On it, Jonas tells a story of developing an attraction to someone from merely observing them, because a simple “Hello” is a bit intimidating; and his wit at crafting lyrics that stand apart from the rest is constantly on display, with my favorite being on the final verse, “He’s the one you’re with?! Well, baby, he’s so sick he’ll give a corpse the flu…” It’s an excellent introduction to the record.

It quickly takes a turn with the more relaxing, but equally fiery, “Autumn Love”, which paints some vivid imagery that can easily evoke some picturesque moments in your head (“Raging summer finally settling down; the sleeping leaves laying all over the ground…”). The grand purpose of music is to have it take you to some other place, and this track does; and it can even double as being more than just a song about one’s affinity for the season.

“Gabby Gasoline” caters to Martin perfectly, both in the sense that his offbeat style of storytelling is at what is arguably its peak, as well as his main weapon of choice, the keyboard, is often the primary instrument. The violin that’s sparsely woven in adds some beauty to it, while the multi-part harmonies of “Gabby Gasoline” creates a nice texture. In some regards, it’s like an old-timey, semi-somber song you may have heard in a saloon, though there are some heavy injections of rock, particularly at the explosive end with some blaring, smoky guitar licks. “…Anything that you want is fine, just don’t leave me broke and sitting here,” Martin sings in a more solemn manner during one of the latter lines of describing this volatile relationship and trying to keep someone happy.

Typically, the closing song on most albums is reserved for something more tranquil, perhaps sad as a band shows off a side they don’t often embrace. Martin doesn’t take that approach with Chokecherry Jam. “Where Did It Go?” is every bit as engrossing as the other offerings, and the subject matter could possibly be a first for a musician. Sex is surely the most explored topic when it comes to songwriting, from famous rock stars singing about their extravagant encounters to more tender songs that tackle the sensual side of love, but how many songs have you heard about not being able to “step up to the plate”? “I said, ‘This never happens, but I’m just a man and you’re the woman of my dreams, so give me a chance!’” pleads Martin, despite it being all too late. There are a couple ways to look at that song. It is more satirical in some ways, and maybe you can chuckle at it some, though it’s not meant to be funny, at least not in a laugh out loud sense. My viewpoint, it’s actually an ingenious song that’s real and surely relatable to many; and really, for an album like this from a musician such as Martin, how could you not end with such an aberrant track?

After a few listens all the way through, those are my favorite songs, though “Fishy Man”, “Apple Peelings” and the three other cuts should not be overlooked.

There’s nothing wrong with being traditional, especially if that’s who you are; and the same can be said for being a little odd and not fitting with the rest of the pack. The most important thing is your being you and true to yourself, and Jonas Martin is certainly doing that with Chokecherry Jam.

He lets his colors fly, showing off all of them proudly and in spectacular fashion.

It’s not even remotely similar to what he has done with Goodnight Ned, and that’s good, because it shows there’s far more dimensions to him than I think most would have guessed there was. Personally, I’m not one to draw comparisons to sounds, but as said in his bio, the music is “reminiscent of Jack White or The Black Keys”. It covers a wide spectrum, yet at the same time, it’s all similar in one subtle way or another. From song one, you start thinking, “This guy’s actually a really underrated songwriter,” and with each subsequent track he starts cementing himself as being one of the most gifted songwriters in the Dallas/Fort Worth music scene. - The Music Enthusiast


I was surprised when I walked into The Prophet Bar around nine and how many people were already there. The crowd was more the size you would expect to be out to see some national act that was touring through, but then, this wasn’t just your average local lineup, either.

Wesley Geiger (backed by The Texas Gentlemen) kicked off the night, and Oil Boom was set to headline, though the band of the hour was the one sandwiched between the two: Jonas Martin.

The keyboardist/singer for Goodnight Ned was releasing his debut solo album this night; and by the time the ten-o’clock hour rolled around, The Prophet Bar was packed. Fans and friends crammed into the semi-narrow venue from front to back. Just goes to show what a great support system Jonas has.

He had assembled quite a band to back him, consisting of Nate Wedan and Wade Cofer (both of Somebody’s Darling), Nick Jay from Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, Daniel Creamer of Dovetail (and many other bands) as well as Jason Burt, who produced Jonas’ album.

Those musicians walked on stage as the lights dimmed, and Nate got things going as he started in on the drums. The first full song from the album, “You’re So Blues”, was instantly recognizable, with Jason and Nick adding some harmonies that sounded spot on to the record, Chokecherry Jam. Soon, Jonas walked on stage, and the fanfare made you think he was some iconic rock star.

He was just a frontman this night, grabbing the mic stand and swaying this way and that with it. He was quite animated too, using his hands to make little gestures towards the end, particularly at the line, “…Baby, he’s so low. Baby, he’s so vain. Baby, he’s not me. He’s no good for you.” After having listened to the officially four-day-old album a few times over, I must say, this was already exceeding the expectations I had set. They moved right on to the subsequent track, one Jonas mentioned was about a season he enjoys. “Autumn Love” made for a totally different vibe, and one that was relaxing and enjoyable to hear.

They switched things up after that. Wade had been playing a guitar for those first two numbers, but as Nick seated himself behind a secondary keyboard (Daniel was on key duty as well), Wade took over on the bass. It had sounded like they might tackle the album front to back, but now, they jumped ahead towards the end with “Apple Peelings”. It was more along the lines of that previous track, and Jonas even leaned against one of the keyboards at one point, looking a little nonchalant, more like he was just enjoying the moment, while some of his band mates chimed in to create some amazing harmonies at times.

After a little break where some drinks were handed out to them, Nate began hammering away on his kit with a nice mix of what sounded like a tom and cymbal. Actually, I found those drum tones to be the best thing about “Gabby Gasoline”, which is saying something, because it’s one of the highlights on Chokecherry Jam, again making excellent use of the harmonies and just being an electrifying song in general.

“Are y'all properly prepared for a downer?” Jonas asked afterwards, promising it would be the only one of the night. “No Wonder” wasn’t all that depressing (at least not too bad), and they picked things back up with the next one. “Alright, here comes my three-chord pop song,” he told everyone before “Jodie Lever”, while Daniel left the keys alone to pick up a twelve-string guitar. “She says, son…” he belted on one of the latter verses, kicking his right leg as he hit “son”; and it was soon after that things got really interesting. The pinnacle moment came during the stupendous instrumental finish, when suddenly, Daniel was seen wielding a saxophone, wailing on it no less; and the key solo Nick played was extraordinary. After that, it gave the impression they were still just getting warmed up.

With only nine songs to work off of from the album, they had added some others to their repertoire; and now, Jonas mentioned it was time for a cover, adding that recently, a great music icon had been lost. He was speaking of Jack Bruce from Cream, adding the Cream song they were going to do dealt with two things he’s passionate about: “sleeping and not working”. Can’t we all relate to that? They were able to pull off the bluesy, jazz rock sounding “Sleepy Time, Time” with ease; and there was an interesting moment at the lengthy instrumental break where Jonas got off stage. He sat on some of the stuff at the very front of the stage, becoming a member of the audience for a few minutes, marveling at the talent that he was sharing the stage with this night.

Nick had gone back to the bass on that previous one; and now they did what Jonas said was a major shakeup, all to keep it like how they had recorded it. It was Wade who had tracked drums on this next song, so he took over for Nate, leaving the drummer to come up to the forefront of the stage and grab a shaker and a triangle of all things. He even did a solo on that triangle during “Fishy Man”, and Jason dished out some stunning notes on his axe on what was without question the best song of the set. The execution was flawless, and it was just the one that everyone—band and spectators alike—seemed to enjoy the most.

“My dad told me when he heard that, ‘I don’t get it. Do you just like fish or something?’” Jonas chuckled. “I’m, like, ‘Dad, you don’t get it, I am a fish’,” he laughed, before noting the next one was about insomnia, asking if anyone there suffered from it. Quite a few hands shot into the air. “You’re all full of shit! You don’t know what insomnia is!” he shouted, joking with them, of course, before seating himself behind the vacant keyboard for just the first few seconds of “Wake Up”. By this point, it had been quite evident how tight these guys were and the chemistry they had created just in rehearsing. It was pushed to a completely new level now, though, with Jonas launching a couple quick punches to some of the drumbeats in the latter part of the song, doing it all in perfect time. Kind of remarkable, considering they had never even done a live show (with an audience) before this night.

He thanked Wesley Geiger for opening the show, saying, “That motherfucker is a hard man to follow,” and he expressed his gratitude to everyone, urging they pick up an album on their way out. “That’s the most support you could possibly show me,” he stressed, adding, “And that’s the last I’ll say about that.” That brought them to the final song of the night, which was also the final cut from the album, “Where Did It Go?”. On an album that is chocked full of satirical songs, that one about erectile dysfunction may be the best example, and while it’s entertaining, it’s never silly or off-the-wall, and there’s a legitimate story to go along with it.

Jonas bowed to everyone before leaving, while the band concluded the song, though people weren’t ready for it to be over just yet. Chants of “One more!” and “Encore!” began while the final notes were still ringing out, and luckily, they had prepared for such an occasion.

Jonas returned after a moment, stating that this final song was from one of his all-time favorite songwriters, which wound up being Randy Newman. Nick was back on the keys now, and Daniel was ready with the saxophone. For most acts, “Short People” would be an interesting song choice to cover (and “interesting” is probably putting it mildly) but for Jonas and his type of satire, it worked, exceptionally well at that, giving a humorous end to their 52-minute long set.

“Alright, now I can get drunk!” he exclaimed before they started getting their gear off stage.

What a phenomenal set!

It wouldn’t be right to say that Jonas is underrated, because he is an instrumental figure in Goodnight Ned, but still, seeing this show allowed you to appreciate him in a new way.

It was weird seeing him as a frontman, just because it was so unorthodox, but he filled the part with ease, seeming to know just what to do and constantly kept the audience entertained. It sure didn’t hurt that he was surrounded by a ton of amazing talent, either; and as I said earlier, the entire band was far more cohesive than I would have expected, which greatly speaks to each of their abilities as musicians.

Most importantly, they kept it fun, and there was never a dull moment. Everyone was enthralled by what was going on, like with “Fishy Man”, when there was this collective feeling afterwards as some people glanced at one another, sharing the same exact thought, “That was utterly amazing!”

I was wondering during the show how all this will go. On one hand, Jonas has his primary band (as do the cast that backed him this night), and I don’t see that changing. On the other hand, these songs are too good to just be shelved until he may release another solo album in a few years. So, let’s hope he’s able to pull some double duty, even if it’s just periodically.

You can (and certainly should) preview and purchase Chokecherry Jam in iTUNES. - The Music Enthusiast


Almost five months ago, Jonas Martin was seated amongst his fellow band mates of local roots rock outfit, Goodnight Ned, in an Oak Lawn Avenue coffee shop on a warm July morning, anxiously awaiting the album release party of their sophomore album. It is January now, and Martin is seated alone. And the temperature is far more frigid.

This Saturday's album release show at The Prophet Bar is looming, and Martin is feeling, well, a little apprehensive.

"Yeah, it's kind of...scary. In fact the band hasn't even rehearsed yet," admits Martin, rather collectedly.

Martin's debut solo release, Chokecherry Jam, eliminates the collaborative input that exists in Goodnight Ned, and strips the sound down to a rather gritty and raw foundation. Songs like "Apple Peelings" tickle the sweet senses of the musical palette, whereas "Wake Up" is not unlike biting into a raw banana, peel and all. The muddy guitar rhythms, the gospel-vibes of tambourine tapping and a choir accompaniment, and the haunting sounds of an old organ are the key ingredients to a song portraying the agonizing nature of sleeplessness.

The video, which was directed by photographer/videographer Will Von Bolton, depicts scenes of a weary Martin, pacing anxiously and deliriously throughout his home, where the video was shot.

"The song is about insomnia, and my girlfriend's mother has really bad insomnia and she said she couldn't watch the video because she related too much to it. She was like, 'It made me feel like the feelings I have when I can't sleep,' and I was like, 'That's awesome!'" Martin says with a laugh. "That's exactly what I wanted."

Martin released this first foray into his solo endeavors, having just capped off a rather successful year in Goodnight Ned, who received Best Group Act honors at the 2014 Dallas Observer Music Awards just last month. So although it may seem like an odd time to dip his toes in the solo waters, his reasoning is pretty straightforward.

"You know, I'm a songwriter, I write a lot of songs, and I love making albums, so it's just like, why not? Goodnight Ned is extremely collaborative, so you know, we make a record a year with 10 songs on it, that's three songs per writer," Martin explains. "I'm writing many more songs than that per year. So it's either some of them disappear forever, or I lay them down."

Martin also has an unabashed love for the art of recording.

"I like playing live, but recording is like the coolest thing in the world. That's my favorite place to be, in the studio, for sure. That's the most exciting and creative atmosphere for me," he says. "I'm very excited to get this on the stage and play for people, but really what I want is for people to listen to the album. Because that's what I do, I sit at home and listen to records, you know?"

He also admits that some of the material he pens would be too personal for the collective, synergistic nature of Goodnight Ned, and these songs necessitate the sole ownership of a solo endeavor.

"I have ideas that, some of them are just personal. And I just can't imagine doing them with Goodnight Ned," says Martin. "For instance, my father passed away a few months back. I had an idea to make a record that is a tribute to him, I couldn't do that with Goodnight Ned, that would be a little weird."

In what began as an inexpensive and thoughtful Christmas gift for his family over a year ago, a little five-song demo, in essence, would become the groundwork for his first solo release. And Martin's devotion to the studio is perhaps what breathed life into his undertaking a solo project.

"Playing live is a rehearsed production. I mean, now of course, there is improvisation that goes on, but mostly we're playing what we rehearsed," says Martin. "With an album, with a record, the possibilities are endless...with enough time and money."

His approach to recording Chokecherry Jam was very organic. In comparison to Goodnight Ned, which relies heavily on group contributions, tracking each song was inherently jam-based due to the nature of its components -- namely, the musicians he brought along to record with.

Enlisting the help of producer Jason Burt, Nate Wedan and Wade Cofer of Somebody's Darling, the initial backing musicians were in place. Then Nick Jay, who co-owns the Nest Recording Studio and was going to be hanging around during tracking, soon joined along with friend Jon Knudson, who just so happened to show up one day. Knudson hammered out the organ pieces on "Wake Up," and was never seen again, at least by Martin.

"Basically the way we recorded it was we'd all sit in the control room and listen to the demo that me and Jason had put together and we'd rehearse it maybe four times, maybe 10 times, but we usually got a take down within an hour or two hours on every song, in four days. It was quick. It was kinda crazy," Martin says. "I didn't expect it to sound so good. So that's the raw energy like I said, we're just jamming in the studio, over and over again, until it came out right."

It's apparent that any artist who works on a solo project will inevitably have their sound compared to their associated band, particularly when one is still active in said band. But Martin's stylized brand of songwriting and overall sound leans no one way or the other.

"It doesn't bother me. I mean you know, somebody asked me that: 'Is this a follow up to Goodnight Ned? And I was like no. If it sounds anything like Goodnight Ned, it's because I'm in Goodnight Ned. If it doesn't sound like Goodnight Ned, that's because the other guys from Goodnight Ned aren't on this record. I mean that's the best that I could put it." - Dallas Observer


Ladies and gentlemen Jonas Martin has arrived. The Goodnight Ned member played his first ever solo show to a packed house at the Prophet Bar in Dallas to celebrate the release of his debut album “Chokecherry Jam”.

To kick off the night Wesley Geiger and The Texas Gentlemen laid down a live set worthy of the headlining spot. No question, this gave the Prophet Bar crowd ample reason to expect nothing but great things to come from Mr. Martin and Oil Boom who wrapped up the night.

The young, charismatic and supremely talented Martin simply dazzled the entire crowd from beginning to end. Donning shades and a mischevious smile, Jonas along with his all star band (Producers, Jason Burt, and Nick Jay, Nate Wedan and Wade Cofer of Sombody’s Darling, and Daniel Creamer of The Mistieries, Dovetail, and The Texas Gentlemen) effortlessly blazed through his set. His smooth yet strong vocals and bluesy rock jams had everyone in the venue dancing and swaying from side to side.

My favorites of the night, was the punchy “You’re So Blues”, which greeted with loud cheers as Martin and his band captivated the audience immediately. The catchy-groovy “Gabby Gasoline”, the moving and emotional “No Wonder” and the firery stomp jam – “Wake Up”.

He did such a great job of blending the best, curling together textured sounds, great lyrics and deep rooted vocals. However, given his influence pool (Randy Newman, Ray Davies and Harry Nilsson) he’s sure had solid training and was able to carry his vast range on his debut album over to the stage.

Speaking of Randy Newman, after being called back on stage for an encore, Martin and his band performed Newman’s classic “Short People” which had everyone in the room singing word for word. It was the perfect song to finish with from this young and talented developing artist poised to break even bigger.

Oil Boom in all their WIZARDVIZION rock excellence closed the night on a tribute note to the original Mattress Man – Dean Trumbell (fictional character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the 2002 Adam Sandler flick – Punch Drunk Love) via O.B.’s Facebook page. However a more serious dedication came from the band during their live set in tribute to ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott and in part to the late actor John Candy. - GoodBAMMSho


It is too often in the music word that an artist takes himself way too seriously. A big part of the music experience is to have fun with it. Some of the best songs ever written are about topics that are meant to leave a chuckle in the listener who actually understands the lyrics. Our recent find Jonas Martin fully understands this.

The Dallas, Texas based Songwriter and performer grew up in a very musical friendly setting. His father was a radio disc jockey for most of his Jonas’ childhood introducing him to a wide variety of musical icons. He grew up playing a variety of instruments but his affections grew most for the piano and keyboard instruments. The Jonas Martin sound is an interesting blend of the modern and the past to create something that is quite unique. He is unafraid to share his social commentary and personal observations with the world through his music.

Earlier this year Jonas Martin released his debut solo record called Chokeberry Jam. The 10 track album shows off his songwriting chops and welcomes listeners into his personal world. Right from the first song “You’re So Blues” you know you will be drawn into Jonas’ style. The groove just kind of breaks down any barriers immediately. His love for keyboard and organ sounds comes to the forefront on “Wake Up”. There is an old soul feel here that makes for some interesting listening. The faster paced “Fishy Man” has a groove that will speed up the heartbeat and get your head bopping. By the time you get to the closer “Where Did It Go?” and its dirty blues style you will be in a mindset where you feel like an underground super spy that can do anything you want. Definitely a fun record. - Indie Band Guru


My good friend, Jonas Martin, asked me months ago to shoot his band at the historic Kessler Theater in Kessler Park located in the Oak Cliff region of Dallas, Texas. I, of course, was super stoked to cover the show, because the line up was killer! The evening started off with the vintage rock meets rebel punk energy of The Van Sanchez. TVS lead singer, Alexis Sanchez and his boys, having been anxious to play their first show since their EP release back in April, literally blew the top off the joint. Birthday boy, Jonas and his 8-member strong band quickly hopped on stage next and rocked house down! The eclectic array of styles heard in his music had the theater dancing, clapping and singing along all set long. The evening wrapped up with an amazing homecoming set by the Nashville-transplanted Dallas band, Somebody's Darling. It may have been a while since Dallas has been treated to a live show from these Darlings, but, lead singer, Amber Farris and her boys made damn sure to show D-town the love they have for their hometown. In my opinion, the evening seemed to be one of the best reasons why I love this town. Everyone pushes each other to pursue their passions, stay inspired and grow together. Every single person that touched the stage that night aren't just talented musicians, but they are amazing humans that have built a community of individuals who support each other in their relentless endeavors. Much respect to all. Below are some of my favorite stills from the evening. Enjoy and go support your local artists, y'all! - Rico DeLeon


Jonas Martin pulled ahead and went on to win this round of The Freshmen. “Let Them Drown” will be added into full rotation next week. Congrats, Jonas Martin, and a huge thanks to all the artists and fans that voted.

We’ll be back on Monday with five new videos to choose from. Till then. - mtvU


LET THEM DROWN

'Moodily interbred with coarse electronic noise, 'Let Them Drown' is fatalistic much as one would expect - but also catchy as hell, and sure to ascend high in the reckoning of the genre.' - The Akademia


Discography

Chokecherry Jam (2015)
The Color Scheme (2016)

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Bio

Since splitting from the band Goodnight Ned, Jonas Martin has had to dig deep to take control of his own destiny. Gone was the safety net of his friends, bandmates and collaborators. He had to approach songs with a new purpose which allowed him to pursue his dreams without compromise, the great dictator of his own art. His pop-fueled sonic vibes now stand alone as his true statement of intent.

Martin’s writing is his quest for answers and his opportunity to spread the message of love while encouraging everyone to live their lives to the fullest. Sitting at his mother's old piano in his home studio, Martin allows his songs to present themselves in their own time. Some are eager to jump onto the page, while others take patience and reflection. However, when they choose to arrive he is ready to welcome them.  

In many ways Martin is a simple man, keeping the more complex parts of his psyche for his music. He likes nothing more than shooting beer cans off a wall with his Red Ryder BB gun whenever there’s some time to kill on the road. Alternatively, he’s just as happy to play a game of dominoes or kick back with his favorite companions Hemingway and Orwell.

It’s all there to be heard on his second solo album The Color Scheme.  The experimental nature of “Another Rerun” and “Dream I Had Last Night” can be seen as a continuation of the school boy who loved to dabble with the xylophone. The mixtape-style of “Dumbstruck AF” reveals the influence of hip hop on Martin’s writing and the social commentary of “Let Them Drown” has echoes of his beloved Randy Newman’s own work on Good Old Boys .

Most of all, the album is a tribute to his late father who passed suddenly in 2014. In Martin’s words, “he was the smartest person I ever met. He was a weirdo and proud of it.” As an encouraging parent, radio DJ, curious science-fiction nerd and raconteur, his father left an indelible mark on his son’s life and love of music. All of this and more can be heard on the album’s heart-breaking cornerstone Just Like My Dad, a raw tribute akin to Lennon’s own emotional exorcism with the Plastic Ono Band.

Jonas Martin makes music that means something, put your headphones on and let it mean something to you too.

Band Members