Jon Hainstock
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Jon Hainstock

Burlington, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Burlington, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Tell The Truth Review"

Bryan Unruh

Jon Hainstock – Tell the Truth EP

With Tell the Truth, Jon Hainstock is making his case for the mainstream, and doing a pretty solid job. Flick on your radio, chances are whatever comes on won’t be too much better than him.

He’s got the whole radio-friendly rock gig down to a science, from the crunchy guitars to the simple harmonies and palatable lyrics. And while he may not be the most original artist in Muncie, he is certainly among the most capable.

It’s hard to say what separates local music from, well, non-local music. Part of it, of course, is whether the artist plays primarily local dates or tours extensively. Other than that, the line is pretty fine, and it’s only getting finer in the internet age: These days, an artist can gain national recognition without playing a single show.

Jon Hainstock has found that metaphorical line. Defined generally, he’s a local artist, but he has an undeniably mainstream sound. He recorded Tell the Truth in a basement, but it hardly shows. The disc, as a whole, is extremely polished and well-rounded.

A drummer and a bass player accompanied him on the EP, but Hainstock provides the most impressive instrumentation. The guitar work is stellar throughout, especially on the opener, which recalls pretty much every mid-tempo radio-rock tune.

He plays keyboard on the second, and arguably strongest, track. It’s surprising that he didn’t use the instrument more on the EP, as he works the keys like a real pro.

The vocals on Tell the Truth are noteworthy as well. As with his musicianship, Hainstock’s vocals are up to par with the majority of mainstream artists. And because the record was recorded with such a low budget, it’s unlikely that he employed any studio tools, which makes them even more impressive.

The only weak point here is the lyrics. Hainstock sticks to the standard pop fare, and that’s OK because it fits his music. But he doesn’t make an effort to separate himself from his pop brethren, at least not lyrically.

Too often, the rhymes and meters are so simplistic that you can guess lines before you’ve even heard them. On the third track, for instance, he sings, “I almost heard your reply/But now I’m questioning why/Your reasons aren’t as clear when you’re here.” And that only begins a string of predictable couplets.

This problem, however, is largely overshadowed by the EP’s positive qualities. Hainstock would likely have no problem shopping it to labels of all kinds. After all, lyrics just don’t matter in mainstream music. “My Humps” won a Grammy. - Ball State University | 72Hours

"A Pale Blue Dot"

Wisconsin-native Jon Hainstock’s second full-length album, A Pale Blue Dot, does everything it can to come off looking like a major label release. The album’s cover is a brooding Hainstock staring into a black backdrop, giving him a more polished pop-star look than on his past album and EP. The music is more slickly produced, creating something of a hybrid between the Hainstock of old and a more new-sounding blend of pop-punk backdrops with his mellow vocals layered atop solid full-band performances.

But Hainstock produced the album himself, recording bass and drums during one set of studio sessions, spending the bulk of a year playing around with the arrangements of piano and vocals, his specialty. With a little help from Caleb Crockett on mixing, Hainstock has crafted what sounds like a major-label debut while maintaining his independent streak musically. That certainly bodes well for his musical future.

On the other hand, that production gloss, even done on his own terms, makes many of these songs blend into each other during repeated listens. Still, there’s a lot of what made his debut album Jon Hainstock and its follow-up EP, Tell The Truth, such attractive listens. “Never Alone” may be the finest ballad Hainstock has written to date, building on a heartfelt piano and vocal melody, layering the bass and drums to create a heartfelt ode to those thinking of taking their lives.

“This is for the ones I forget sometimes,” he sings. “When there’s never hope in sight, It’s time, time to let you know you never have to walk alone.” The song has serious potential with the right marketing touch. Hainstock would be hard-pressed to find a contemporary Christian station unwilling to give this song serious rotation, because it has a message and he stays on point lyrically. It’s also as catchy as any other songs they’d be featuring right now, which works in his favor.

The album’s opener, “I’d Do Anything,” is an excellent rock song, taking a crunchy melody most pop-punk bands would be fighting over if given the chance, and Hainstock’s careful measured vocals give the song balance, preventing it from sounding like most of his contemporaries. And “Empty Glass” builds on a stuttering percussion wave, adding a tight bassline and heartfelt vocals to create one of the album’s most solid hooks. “It’s alright,” he sings in repetition on the chorus, holding each syllable for all its worth, and the song winds up sounding (at least vocally) like Kenna’s New Sacred Cow meets Radiohead’s In Rainbows. With the haunting backing vocals paving the way, this one could be a serious musical time thief if you catch yourself putting it on repeat.

While many of the album’s remaining tracks tend to merge with each other on repeated listens, that’s hardly a terrible thing. Hainstock set out to craft an album of pop-rock songs which could cater to the musically adventurous among us, and he’s managed to build an album that plays well as a whole without becoming pretentious or over-produced. It builds nicely upon the groundwork laid by Jon Hainstock and Tell The Truth, and if Hainstock is serious about continuing to write and produce his own music free of studio interference, he couldn’t have done a much better job on a sophomore effort.

A Pale Blue Dot is certainly worth the time it takes to give a few listens. And unlike many major label albums, it actually grows on you. I can’t think of much more of a compliment to give an up-and-coming artist. - Stereo Subversion


Full length self-titled CD released in Fall of 2006 featuring "Now or Never" in regular rotation on WBSD Burlington

Tell the Truth EP released in March 2007
"Tell The Truth" in regular rotation on WBSD Burlington

A Pale Blue Dot released in April of 2009



The plan was to get away. To start over. "When I was picking colleges, I just wanted to get away from my past and start fresh. Ball State was 6 hours away. Based on distance alone, I figured it would be the best place to relocate.”

Indiana became home to Hainstock as he became involved in music at his church and with Campus Crusade for Christ. He attributes these experiences to his passion and desire to communicate through music.

The Living Room, a venue in Muncie, was where Hainstock was introduced to a number of singer/songwriters who inspired him to pursue a career in music.

During his years at Ball State, Hainstock had the privilege of sharing the stage and receiving guidance from some of the artists who had inspired him such as Jon McLaughlin, Micah Dalton, Rob Blackledge, Cliff Ritchey, Josh Garrels, Dave Barnes, and Matt Wertz.

Hainstock released his first full length album as a sophomore in 2006. He produced the self-titled album with Jeff Abei at Gaither's studios nearby Alexandria. "Grace's Song" became an instant fan favorite and the single "Now or Never" played in regular rotation at 89.1 WBSD in Wisconsin. Jon McLaughlin contributed on the album by adding piano, rhodes, and organ parts to "I'll Get Over Myself" and "I'm Convinced You Know."

In 2007, Hainstock released Tell The Truth, a five song EP. He worked with McLaughlin on "Horror Story" and produced the album with his close friend Caleb Crockett. "The entire project was recorded with a limited budget in a basement where we had to fight off spiders and wait for the water pump to turn off before we could proceed." Without question, Hainstock understands the meaning of paying his dues.

After graduating, Hainstock returned to Wisconsin and found chemistry with local musicians Jon Thorngate, Dominic Rome, and Josh Harper. This relationship helped shape the sound of Hainstock's latest release "A Pale Blue Dot."

A Pale Blue Dot was recorded at home by Hainstock and shows a variety of his musical tastes and influences. "I'd Do Anything" starts the album off strong with an upbeat, driving rhythm, backed by a dominate lead guitar part, Ben Fold's inspired piano playing, and a melodious spirit that inspires fans to sing-along.

"Tear Me Apart" gives off a Switchfoot feel with counter melodies and background vocals in the vein of Dashboard Confessional. Hainstock sings "Tear me apart, cause' this is the start of a new beginning," referring to his struggle with fear and pride.

"Never Alone" extends a hand to those who are depressed and hurting. Hainstock wrote the song for a friend of his who committed suicide while he was in college. The song is driven by the piano and is majestic in feel and motion. He sings "This is for the ones who I didn't reach in time," in respect to the friend he lost.

"I Don't Understand" is the first single off the record. The song builds slowly from beginning to end and is crafted around a flowing melody. With hints of Coldplay and The Killers, the song is furnished with tasteful background vocals, organ, synth, and strings parts. Hainstock recorded a music video to this song in his hometown with his friend Dru Korab, and released it prior to "A Pale Blue Dot." He says, "Doing the music video was an amazing experience. It was a lot of work and it was completely worth it." Based on the reception online, fans have agreed.

"Looking For Redemption" is as close as Hainstock gets to folk/country. The slow bluegrass backbeat and rich blend of acoustic guitar parts and harmonies make this song a pleasure to listen to. Hainstock's wife Grace sings on this song and adds an Allison Krauss feel.

"Never Made To Fit" is an upbeat pop rock song that delivers a spacious feel accompanied by a smooth piano line and a candy chorus. Hainstock sings, "Are we fooling ourselves, did we ever really have a chance?"

"Show Me How" is powerful rock song with an unforgettable chorus. Hainstock sings, "Show me how I'm going to make it through when there's no where to go, and show me how to find you in the dark." The richness of Hainstock’s words are never spoken more truly.

"Empty Glass" shows Hainstock's ability to switch things up. With ambient elements similar to early Radiohead and Coldplay recordings this song gives listeners a glance at where Hainstock's music might go in the future.

"Record Machine" is a tongue in cheek take on materialism and how it has shaped our culture. Hainstock compares old, outdated technology to a record machine. The song's meaning was derived from walking on campus with a portable CD player while the rest of the world was busy listening to their iPods and other forms of modern technology. "Yeah, for the longest time I was that guy with a Discman and the large plastic headphones. CDs sound better anyway," Hainstock says.

"Holding Love" almost has a western feel. The eerie, whining slide guitar sets the stage for a showdown of some sort.

"Move So Fast" sends you back to th