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Thursday, January 12, 2006

CD Review: Jon Yeager - "Truth & Volume"

CD Review: Jon Yeager - Truth & Volume

Truth & Volume marks the debut of Jon Yeager, former member of the now defunct Daybirds. I have to admit that I’m a pretty tough customer when it comes to buying into new music. I have dozens of promo CDs from fledgling bands that have been reincarnated as coasters. I decided to listen to Truth & Volume a few times then put it away to see if it claimed any mental real estate. Within a day I found myself humming songs from the EP and replaying it repeatedly to find the deeper meaning of each song.

The first track, “Summer Under A Strange Sky” opens with a stark, driving, rhythm section and grows into an artful layers and tastefully, lilting guitar arpeggios throughout. The second track, “Thief in the Night” seamlessly wraps up tempo rhythm and guitar glister around a subtly downcast lyrical theme. Yeager’s vocals complete recipe offering cool, melodic resolve to the mix. Yeager sings, “This is the point where I let things go…My life it doesn’t matter. That’s what it said there on his note…the man hanging from the rafter. I guess he found ever after.” This is easily one of the strongest tracks on the Truth & Volume. The Beatle-esque, “Great Movies”, effectively showcases Pop-smart arrangements and pristine vocals. The guitar and vocal intro hooked me and the remainder of the song delivered the goods. “Great Movies” is a perfect example of the importance and power of melody. Yeager shows consistent, skillful tunesmithing and vocal styling on the remaining tracks. Upon first listen, the retro, mid-tempo “Black Boy” seemed like a sticky, sweet, ballad, in the genre of songs by 50s and 60s acts like The Skyliners or The Fleetwoods. After listening more closely to the lyrics, came the reveal. “Black Boy” is actually a venerating ode to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referencing his march on Washington D.C. Yeager manages to neatly pack this socio-cultural commentary into a solid, stylish song without sounding preachy or maudlin. “Without You” is an atmospheric acoustic piece that initially evokes feeling of a perfect lazy Sunday and gradually builds into a driving, cavalcade of layered vocals and haunting guitar riffs. Even though this track breaches what I call “Pop Song Critical Mass” at 7 minutes 12 seconds (1 second longer than The Beatle’s “Hey Jude”), it does so with passion.

Overall, Yeager effortlessly manages to channel Pop luminaries such as Big Star, Beatles, and U2 while ably sharing the Alt-Pop genre with contemporaries like Elliott Smith, Pete Yorn, Earlimart, and Iron & Wine. All of the performances are solid and show keen musicianship. While most 20-something singer/songwriters and rock bands in this musical space are whining about self-loathing and singing about crawling through their girlfriends’ bedroom windows after a bender, Yeager produces meaningful songs that should stand the test of time above the rest of the clutter.

Truth & Volume is a well-crafted, sonic kickshaw of Alt-Pop, Alt-Folk, and Acoustic Rock that proves that there is still great music to be created.


For more info visit: or check him out on the ever popular social networking community, MySpace

Matt "Hot Licks" Largo



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