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Billy Jonas

       LIFE SO FAR (Bang a Bucket) • Billy Jonas

Cleanse your palette, and throw out all the rules, it's time for Billy Jonas. The funniest, funkiest, most enlightened one man band on earth.

The first time I heard him was at Kerrville Folk Festival 2001, high on top of a sun scorched hillside. He surrounded himself with plastic garbage cans and empty water cooler bottles, and both his feet were encircled by bells. Most all of his groovemakers were found objects, which is in tune with his eco-persona. Sometimes he puts them all down, stands up and plays the beejesus out of the guitar, too.

Billy Jonas is a very sought after performer, and often does shows that focus on children and/or young people. Those are usually two different specialties already, and he's equally at home entertaining his peers, or everybody at the same time. And that's only one of many qualities that make him so unique. He also talks about the environment, politics, sex, humanism, war, God and religion in ways that are usually groove based humor, but that drive deep and poignant ideas home.

The CD Life So Far has a lot of super talented people on it, and Jonas's depth as an artist is much more fully revealed. The brilliant opener, "One" has an ingenious vocal collage that involves over 50 singers. In the liner notes, Bill Melanson is credited with composing outer space harmonies, and there is certainly widespread evidence throughout. Asheville, NC is a music town, and many of its high profile and talented inhabitants appear: Chris and Lynn Rosser, David Wilcox, David Lamotte, Chuck Brodsky, Annie Lalley, and more. But many artists from all over contribute, recording also took place in Atlanta, Chicago, and MA.

Frankly, with an artist this deep and this talented, you can only scratch at the surface in a review. See Billy Jonas if he comes to your town, you'll be amazed. Sample some clips of his world on our Listen page, and pick up Life So Far at his website. We also highly recommend purchasing the video Bangin' and Sangin' for the younger members of the household, it's a live show with lots of kids of various ages very actively participating in the audience.

I saw the Buddha on the road. He was banging on garbage cans and dancing with bells on his feet, singing a funny song with a bunch of laughing children, and smiling at a pretty long-haired girl who was walking by.  • FG

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