Release Date: November 11, 2014
Studio: Produced by Jimmy Harry (Madonna, Pink, Santana)
For Fans of: Snoop Dogg, Leonard Cohen, Mos Def, Woody Guthrie, Wu Tang Clan, Howling Wolf, Jimi Hendrix
It is not often you witness an amalgamation of sounds and genres so decidedly harmonious that it seems like it has been around forever. Some of the world’s most beloved artists will have difficulty reinventing themselves on occasion. Many music aficionados are looking out for new songwriters to present their fresh and independently cultivated style on a global stage, and from the whereabouts of Venice, California comes one such artist.
Despite the variety of directions his music points the listener in, appearing to have been grown solely in the West coast, Joe Con is not a California native. Con’s cultural and aural depth saw their beginnings in Kentucky, where the daring multi-instrumentalist started to craft his take on the music he now shares with the masses. His upcoming national release, I Choose You, is a road-tested, personal and detailed journey into Joe Con’s desire to etch his experiences and emotions into the timeless wall of music.
On I Choose You, Joe Con welcomes the listener into his far-reaching yet familiar sonic world with “Nothing Without You.” Considering how many instrumental elements Con and producer Jimmy Harry (Madonna, Pink, Santana) work into this track alone, the EP quickly vouches for itself. Smooth, effortless execution, combining rap lines with tuneful melodies and an envious ability to walk the line between intricacy and simplicity instantly set Joe Con apart from his competition.
Second track “Dream” hears the artist fashioning his own spin on Jamaican-style vocal lines to a casual, acoustic-based track. Con shares his thoughts about the ease of dreaming and how inclined he is to do so as one with creative bents.
Con’s mash-up of contemporary beats, folkish melodies, organic accents and transparent lyrics continues on “Said and Done,” the singer’s recollection of past relationships. The brightness and positivity of tone on this track is unusual for how glumly Con sings his lines, but this could be the artist simply getting the matter off his chest.
On “Breaking My Heart,” Joe Con dives even deeper into the blues-centric, introspective and mournful side of his musical spirit, only further adding credibility to the level of musicianship he has reached. The singer-songwriter gives a voice to feelings that thousands of people have gone through during intimate encounters: pangs of regret, sorrowful contemplation and thoughts about one’s own significance.
With the title track on I Choose You, Con brings back his signature surf-meets-pop-meets-groove zest. The musician is an evident fan of slower tempos, but this largely aids his ability to pocket his songs’ themes and make them highly memorable. “I Choose You” lyrically speaks for itself; Con writes about playing music on the road, growing homesick and seeking out companionship that can keep him from getting lonely.
One of Con’s most defining characteristics is his ingenious marriage of hip-hop-influenced vocal execution with readily singable melodies. “I Choose You” is without a doubt a highlight in the extensive catalog that Joe Con already boasts.
EP closer “Matter of Time” could be heard on a comfortably warm, lazy evening at the end of summer, being played by friends who have gathered to ride out the final moments of freedom before school starts again. Con’s lyrical approach takes a different turn on this song, however. The singer wraps up this EP with a depressive, plodding melody as he shares his reflections on the strange, perplexing navigations of love and relationships.
Tracks “Nothing Without You” and the title track are standouts on I Choose You, the latest offering of seasoned musician Joe Con. This EP is sure to find its way into many hands of those who appreciate authentic art and individuals who have a background comparative to Con’s.
This unabashed curator of sound has opened for Snoop Dogg, put out eight releases and completed multiple tours. Joe Con’s sonic flavor is self-dubbed “New Americana,” and such roots spread out as wide as the man himself has traveled. Con is now adding an impressive and genial EP to his already distinguished musical vibe. Be on the lookout for I Choose You to drop on November 11, 2014. Below you can visit Joe Con’s website, Facebook, Bandcamp and more.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.
Review by Brad Johnson