Jonathan Fleig
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Jonathan Fleig

Emporia, Kansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Emporia, Kansas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Americana Acoustic




"Move that Air"

When I was young, long ago and far away, there were folks we called musicians.

They strummed guitars and played horns and pianos and banged drums and sang. They'd use most anything that could make a rythm, harmony or melody. It didn't much matter as long as it vibrated and moved that air. The music must come forth. The vibration inside must be released. Freed through the instrument to move that air. It just had to -- everyday. Food, water, shelter and music, not necessarily in that order. Serve the song.

But that was long ago and times have changed. The musician in the wild is a rare thing these days. The environment and climate have been altered to the point that survival of the musician is difficult at best. Most are confined to various types of cages or have simply vanished. People don't seem too concerned about it. I guess you can't miss what you never knew. Computers are cheap and don't need room and board.

So, it's a special thing for me when I stumble acrosss one who still runs free. Sustaining himself on music. Foresaking known paths of much greater ease. Making the sacrifice. Knowing the game's plum crooked but playing anyway. Serving the song.

Jonathan Fleig is one such musician. For the past decade, he has traveled in service of the song. From Kansas to California, Oregon to Arizona, he has moved that air. People are starting to notice.

His last release, "The Great Awakening" with the band Soup, recieved widespread college radio airplay. It was nominated by the 21st Los Angeles Music Awards in two categories -- Americana Artist of the Year and Best Americana single for the song "Enemy." Check it out if you haven't already. Real music from a real musician.

In the spring of 2012, Jonathan will release his latest album "Strange Caravan" on the Herbal Records and the hard traveling will begin again. Do yourself and him a favor. Go see a show. Pick up a CD. Feel that air move.

Paul Carter
President Herbal Records - Herbal Records Newsletter

"Soup CD Review by Frank Kocher"

The Great Awakening

Written by Frank Kocher

Soup hails from Oceanside, a trio of roots-rockers whose
sound is a sort of throwback to earlier decades when the San
Francisco psychedelic sound and jam bands ruled. On their
debut disc, The Great Awakening, singer Jonathan Fleig
writes most of the music. Eli Slover and Colin Wicker also
sing on the songs, which blend acoustic and electric guitars,
harmonies, and nice touches that create a ‘60s feel. There is
a definite debt to earlier bands in the genre like the Grateful
Dead and Phish, and the disc has a vibe that makes the
listener want to burn incense while playing it.
"5th of May" follows an instrumental opener; the goofy lyrics,
country-rock melody, and Jerry Garcia-inspired guitar fills
make for a fitting introduction to the feel-good hippie vibe that
permeates the music here. The lead vocalist (uncredited
throughout, as are the guitars) has a bluesy howl that goes well with the protest song "Enemy," which
has a counterculture message, "You've got me down on my knees/But I'm not your enemy." The title
cut has an acid-rock chord progression, acid-rock lyrics, and morphs into a long, frenzied coda that
throws in snippets of Chambers Brothers, the riff from "Going Down," lots of fuzz guitar, and choruses
like "Love/love/love/ God is Love." Feedback ushers in "Cope," and the mood is sustained as more
screeching, overdriven lead guitar wails; this one evokes a flashing amoeba light show, like the old
Country Joe and the Fish albums. Nobody take the brown acid, man.
Not all of the tunes here hit the mark, as some of the mid-tempo shuffles ("Postcard," "You Will Bear")
fade quickly. There is a Doors feel to "Disguise," which wraps two guitar licks around snare drum
shots for a hook that resolve as lyrics professing love take over, until an echo-freakout ending.
The disc was produced by Fleig and the band in Wichita, Kansas, with Wayne Van Zee handling the
drums. The mix is muddy in spots, burying the vocals here, blasting them too loud there. The overall
feel works, since it sounds a lot like late ‘60s vinyl.
The disc saves its best for the end. Slover's "Dandylion Feathers" is a highlight, a soft country folk
tune with the kind of smooth harmonies and compelling melody to lift it above the other material here.
"The End (Celebration)" relates how love is going to ultimately triumph over hate and war, to an
instrumental rave-up. The end (of this disc) comes with an extended jam featuring duel lead guitars.
Soup has established its sound with The Great Awakening, and it is familiar - love, peace, happiness,
and guitars. The disc is enjoyable, and there is a long tradition of bands to suggest that they may
succeed with an approach like this.
- The San Diego Troubador

"The Great Awakening: A CD Review"

The CD kicks things off with “Flurries” a peaceful intro piece that serves up acoustic rock groove that leads you into track 2 “5th of May” an upbeat Americana rock groove with driving rock rhythm meshed with an infectious bluesy-rock melody that flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. I especially like how this piece builds towards a grand slam finale. Track 3 “”O Brother” dishes out yet another solid track with it’s passionate, heartfelt vocal delivery by Fleig, solid bluesy rock groove & impressive lyrical content. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 rock solid songs in a row. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Counting Crows, Grateful Dead, Everclear, Blind Mellon, & even Blues Traveler & Pearl Jam. Right from the start you will notice Fleig & company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice bluesy-rock, raw indie feel to it. The bands playing is rock solid across the board as they dish out impressive bluesy guitar licks, rock solid rhythm guitar playing & a few acoustic chops that will make your head spin. Equally as impressive is Fleig’s vocal presence as he takes several vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong & confident vocal ability. Fleig’s voice goes down smooth & is full of passion, & recklessness abandon. Fleig’s got the voice & plays guitar well. If he just so happened to write all these songs – well that pretty much makes him a musical triple threat. The musicianship from all the other members in the band is above the bar & has everything you would expect from a standard 3 piece delivery. Fleig clearly makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with his singing. The songs themselves are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair, & signature groove in classic Jam Band fashion. From upbeat “ No Worries” to passionate “Enemy”, “Cope” & You will Beat” to dynamic “Great Awakening” to heartfelt “Mourning” this CD has something for just about everyone. I especially like the jam band pieces “Postcard”, “Great Awakening” & “Disguise.” The CD ends with “The End” the perfect finale statement.

This CD is not without a few notable weaknesses. Despite the truly great performances, it’s fair to say there is something odd going on with this production. Zeroing in on the recording, mixing & mastering – I suspect it’s the mixing. It’s pretty all over the place & lacks the ability to grab the listener. From vocals sound disproportionate to the music, to odd sounding harmonies, extreme right & left pans to awkward low end punch & amazing solo guitar that sounds buried – this mix has all the trademarks of a botched & amateurish mix job. Because of this substandard mix - the attention span of the listener is extremely challenged. It clearly doesn’t compare to other mixes within this genera & sounds extremely amateurish & lacks fine luster. If the mix was industry standard this CD would clearly be a 10 on a 10 scale. Mixing will always be the biggest make or break for any production. When done right will leave a lasting impression, when not done right will stick out like a sore thumb. Each phase of the production process (recording, mixing, mastering) should be handled by an experienced professional – especially the mix. It’s safe to say if the any stage is not done properly, the whole production effort will be for not. If this review sounds lopsided it merely reflects the extremes presented on The Great Awakening. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.

The Great Awakening by Soup is a solid debut statement. Song for song, note for note its has a feel good groove to it. It’s strong suit – the song for song rock solid consistency & amazing vocal presence of lead singer Jonathan Fleig. Like the aforementioned he is a musical triple threat & should be considered a premier talent within this band. Let’s just hope his head doesn’t ever catch up with his talent is any time soon. I would go so far as to say he’s the next Shannon Hoon or Jack White. If The Great Awakening has a slam dunk live presentation then that would make a pretty lethal combination. No doubt they are a lot of fun to check out live. So if you like college alternative rock that dishes out bluesy type ditties reminiscent of Blind Mellon, Counting Crows & Grateful Dead then you should jump into this CD head first.
- The Muse's Muse


"Strange Caravan" (2012)

*Featuring the hit single "Oliver"

*Available iTunes, CD Baby and everywhere digital music is sold

*Available on Jango Internet Radio

Downhill March EP (2011) Featuring the band Soup

*Available iTunes, CD Baby and everywhere digital music is sold

*Available on Jango Internet Radio

"The Great Awakening" (2010) Featuring the band Soup

*Nominated for two Los Angeles Music Awards for Americana Artist and Americana Single of the Year for the song Enemy

*In rotation on 130+ college radio stations nationwide

*Available iTunes, CD Baby and everywhere digital music is sold

*Available on Jango Internet Radio

"The Rebellion in Mid-America" (2007)

*Available iTunes, CD Baby and everywhere digital music is sold

*Available on Jango Internet Radio



Jonathan Fleig is an award-nominated Americana singer/songwriter from Emporia, Kansas. Harkening the bittersweet essence of American folk raconteurs, his styling lures listeners from all walks of life, from blues and soul to rock and country. Produer Brian D. Hardin (Quincy Jones, India Arie, Ziggy Marley) couldn't agree more: "Jonathan is a passionate, emotional storyteller with a warm, genuine voice and the guitar virtuosity of the greats."

Jonathan brings organic and heartfelt storytelling front and center in his new album and documentary film, Road To Nowhere (to be released on March 15, 2014). The entire project was captured live, on location, in symbolic pastoral settings across the state of Kansas. Playing through wind, rain, damaged equipment and plenty of insects, Fleig battled the elements while also inviting them into his elemental opus. And producer Brian D. Hardin does a masterful job of turning that invitation into a textured, even ethereal homecoming.

Jonathan has played hundreds of gigs across 16 states, including renowned San Diego hotspots, Belly Up Tavern and House of Blues. He was invited to play the National Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, Missouri in Febraury 2014. Most recently, he received an invite as a featured artist at the forthcoming Block Street Block Party Music and Arts Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas in May 2014 and Washunga Days Music Festival in Council Grove, Kansas in June 2014.

Jonathan is at once a Dreamer, a Muse, a Doer, a Mourner and a Witness. The Dreamer set out in 2006 to record his first album, The Rebellion in Mid-America. It offered the first glimpse of a man who realized the value system within which he'd been raised was fractured. The Muse drove him cross-country to California on a pilgrimage of introspection. It was there, in 2010, he formed the band, Soup. Their album, The Great Awakening, proved to be the compelling musical stew of a searching soul: The 21st L.A. Music Awards nominated Jonathan for "Best Americana Artist" (Soup) and "Americana Song Of The Year" (Enemy).

Inspired by a taste of success, The Doer spent 56 days alone in a tent, purging his newfound self-awareness into a dramatic catalogue of songs that would become, Strange Caravan. His first full-length solo album since 2006 would dispense with pretention and showcase a man at peace with himself and his place in the strange caravan of life. "I believe that true and lasting revolution begins with the self," says Jonathan. "Less and less I feel the need to convince or persuade anybody to see the world as I see it. I share. You take what you want from that sharing."

When Jonathan returned home, Kansas welcomed that sharing with open arms. Strange Carvan quickly gained statewide acclaim and turned a few heads - most notably that of producer Brian D. Hardin. When Jonathan's father died of brain cancer in 2013, The Mourner and The Witness collaborated on the powerful songwriting that drives the new album and documentary film, Road To Nowhere. The Mourner laments the loss and regret that comes with losing a loved one. The Witness shines a light of hope, of forgivness - an awakening that being fulfilled by what you have supercedes the emptiness of wanting more. "Every day is an opportunity to start over," Jonathan adds. "Redemption is a daily undertaking."

Road To Nowhere finds Jonathan Fleig in his element, painting a sensory emotional experience on a canvass of music and film. The characters that inform who his is are the same ones that fictionalize all of us. They are the players of life. And they are not content with accepting that the road leads to nowhere. Rather, they marvel in the reality that the journey leads to the moment - to the fellowship of the Now Here.

Road To Nowhere invites the listener into a wildfire of mutual understanding. And Jonathan Fleig wholly captures the spark in the lyrics from his new song, Traveling :


You can barely see your feet on the road you are traveling

Wasting all your time looking for a sign that never comes

Asking how and why to every passerby you encounter

Only to find that no one's any lighter than you are

 But you are living...

Band Members