The Jones Street Boys

The Jones Street Boys


Four-part harmonies over rich soundscapes combining rock and roll, bluegrass, and blues


The Jones Street Boys make American music that is both contemporary and classic in its character. Veterans of New York City's roots music community, they released their debut album Overcome in October 2007 and are currently recording a new album which will be released in early 2009.

Midwest transplants Danny Erker (St. Louis) and Jonathan Hull (Chicago) met in New York City in 2002. Shortly after, they helped form The Cobble Hillbillies, a Brooklyn bluegrass collective, with whom they played the 2006 Merlefest Midnight Jam alongside Nickel Creek, Peter Rowan, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

With the aim of writing songs that drew from the best of American roots music, Jon and Danny started working on new tunes. Together they wrote much of the material that would appear on Overcome. Though they had a range of instruments at their disposal (banjo, dobro, harmonica, mandolin, guitar and accordion), they knew their sound was incomplete. In the Fall of 2006, the missing elements came together when Jon and Danny asked three friends to write with them.

Princeton native Jonathan Benedict added keys, production skills, and a deft ear for melody and chorus hooks. Bassist and guitarist Walt Wells, who met Jon when they studied at Indiana University, brought the eclectic input and knowledge of his college studies in theory and Ethnomusicology. Walt (Springfield, OH) has played in a range of musical contexts and is comfortable performing in styles as diverse as Mariachi, Japanese Gagaku, Gospel, and R&B. With Walt, Sam Rockwell, a drummer from Minneapolis, gave the band a solid but nuanced rhythmic foundation. Sam, who studied music at New York University, is an extremely well-balanced drummer, commanding both powerful rock skills and the articulate brushwork of a jazz player.

These members have grown to share a focus on songwriting, storytelling, harmony-singing, and musicianship�and, increasingly, an exploration of combining genres to create a dynamic signature sound. Compositions are a collaborative effort. All five members write, and the finished products are a rare synthesis of styles, enriched and polished as the group works through the pieces together to find each song's final incarnation. These communal practices are the band's foundation�technically and philosophically; this collaboration is tangible in their live performances.

In the nine months since Overcome's release, momentum has built rapidly for The Jones Street Boys. After the success of a fall residency at New York's storied club, The Living Room, and a winter tour, the band was invited to play parties at the 2008 Sundance Festival: the Synchronized Green Initiative Concert Series and the New York Film Commission's private finale party.

Most recently, The Jones Street Boys were commissioned to score nine songs for The Woodshed Collective's production of Caridad Svitch's Twelve Ophelias, as well as perform them live during the twenty-two date run this summer in Brooklyn's historic McCarren Park Pool. And June 26th saw the launch of "Live from Down Home," a new Americana music series, which the band helped develop and now curate and host at the Housing Works Used Book Caf�, a Manhattan-based non-profit.


Full-length debut album released by Smith Street Records on October 2, 2007. Features guest vocals by Jon Langford of the Mekons / Waco Bros.

Set List

We usually play a 45-60 minute set, (12-14 songs) - we write our own tunes, but on occasion, we'll sneak in a John Hartford or Bill Monroe cover