Jon's been asking me to write on this blog--to write about the music, my experience of it, my review of the new recording, etc. So you may see more here from me in the future. Being a part of JRL, in the past and in what's to come, is something I appreciate a great deal. Not all artists are as generous with their hearts, their time, their ears and their stage space as Jonathan Reuel. Thinking about Jon's music quickly took me back the road to when I first knew Jon--and his early recordings, which I wore out playing over and over--on cassette. One of my favorites was a mix tape of original music Jon made up with hand-drawn cover art. That's one thing Jon has always been good at, making the music personal, bringing it home to each of us.
I started singing with Jon somewhere along the way; eventually we got in our heads that it was a good idea for a bunch of folks to move down to Charlottesville, to work on music, art and being more like Jesus. For me, the year in JRL was something I would have dreamed of as a kid, but in reality a larger dose of hard work is mixed in with the fun and laughter. Caught in the Paydirt is the fruit of our mining for ore... figuring how to put time and money into music when those resources aren't so easily found. Jon's music provided the core of what we were out there working up, supporting and sharing. The songs provided the opportunity.
JRL Now gives us a solid view of those core bones; the center of what JRL gives to each listener. I love how in concert and various recordings the songs take on different shapes: rooted in bass grooves, peppered with horns, rolling with organs, swelling accordion style, swampy snare drums and the like; but it all comes back to Jon and his guitar and that is what Now has hand-delivered this time. With more to come soon.
Amber Butler is a former member of JRL (2005-2006) as vocalist and bass guitarist. She jumps in on vocals whenever she finds herself at a JRL show and hums harmonies at any given moment. She currently resides in Goshen, IN.