Friday, October 4, 2013

Review: Jonus Preston - "Tears in Vain" Single

The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, shook the nation. Parents around the country held their own children a little tighter in the days to come as the news unfolded, images of teachers and students scarred for life juxtaposed against the painful views of the innocent victims. Along with those horrors came the explosive discussion regarding violence in the media and, even more pointed, the role of gun control in our nation. And the argument continues to this day.

Another result of that tragic day was the renewed awakening of jazz artist, Jonus Preston, who learned of the tragedy while on vacation. A longtime student of music who was first inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller record at the age of thirteen, Preston then followed those dreams and inspirations, studying jazz in college and forming the popular acoustic jazz troupe, the String Bustin’ Cats. He then took his musicianship full time and has managed to perform around the world, scoring high profile gigs such as SXSW, the Montreal JazzFest, and the Strawberry Folk Festival.
Yet, the Sandy Hook shootings hit Preston just right and caused something to ignite within him.

“I’ve studied so much music theory, but I always wanted to write music that speaks to more people, this was a catalyst, it gave me purpose,” he says.
Thus, the artist took to writing and “Tears in Vain” was born. Produced by Misha Piatigorsky and tracked by vaunted engineer Mark Hermann (The Eagles), the song conveys a sense of restless energy in its production, almost a live feeling to the recording, which captures Preston’s anger and emotion, while the arrangement itself clearly speaks to his jazz background, smooth chord changes and subtle touches giving the song a lift. Preston’s vocals are husky and engaged, reminiscent at points of superstar John Mayer, while the jangly guitars and rich keyboard fills, buoyed by a children's choir backing, undergird the painful and in your face lyrics as the artist sings with passion and poetry, “Make believe we get a second chance/Would you see the choice is in our hands/If you could look into their faces one more time/And you knew that you could save them you'd change your mind.”

And lest you think that Jonus Preston is just riding the bandwagon of current events to further his career, the artist is generously donating proceeds from the sale of “Tears In Vain” to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
But no matter which side of the gun control argument you fall on, there’s no arguing the talent that Jonus Preston showcases here on “Tears in Vain.” Packed with plenty of soul and riding a wave of conviction, the New York-based artist delivers a strong, emotional track that paves the way for much more music to come.

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