Premiere: Stream Jonas Martin's Chokecherry Jam In Full and Check Out His Debut Music Video.
Things are pretty solid in Goodnight Ned's world these days.
Back in July, the five-piece roots rock outfit put out its sophomore album to positive reviews. That same month, the band celebrated that self-titled LP's release with one of the more fully realized concept bashes of the year — the band's so-called Unsound Circus, which offered up a genre-shattering lineup of performers and all sorts of carnival-centric accoutrements. Then, just this month, the band capped off its best year to date by taking home the Best Group honors at the 2014 Dallas Observer Music Awards.
So why, of all times, is Goodnight Ned's Jonas Martin releasing Chokecherry Jam, his debut solo album, right now, just as his main band's starting to gain the traction it's been waiting on?
To hear him tell it, it's because he kind of had to. The material he'd penned for his own voice — tracks he's quite proud of, and rightfully so — rather merited it. And, to a degree, he was just sick of sitting on the pile.
“Goodnight Ned is an ultra, ultra collaborative effort,” Martin says, explaining his own solo desires when reached by phone this afternoon. “No one song in Goodnight Ned is written by any one individual. When you're collaborating, a lot of decisions are made through debate. And that's fine — there's no good or bad way to do it, and I like both ways. But these songs are all mine.”
They sound it, too. With a new backing band behind him — Jason Burt, Nick Jay, Jon Knudson and Somebody's Darling's Wade Cofer and Nate Wedan — Martin's solo material comes off somewhat swampier than his contributions to Ned, while retaining the same sort of hyper-literate lyricism that elevates Ned's material from the also-rans that mine the same territory. Produced by Burt and recorded over the course of four days, Martin describes the songs are rawer than much of Ned's material — and understandably so.
“It's very much a jam album,” he says. “Each of these songs was done in just a few takes.”
And when they're performed live for the first time at the January 10, Prophet Bar-hosted party held in the honor of their release, Martin says they'll retain that feel. On a bill also featuring Oil Boom and Wesley Geiger, Martin will be backed on that night by the band that joined him in the studio. (Well, for the most part: Knudson can't make it; his parts will be played by Daniel Creamer of the Texas Gentlemen.)
It should make for a raw and rowdy time, for sure. But as for what it means for Martin's future? He's not yet sure. He acknowledges that things are good with Goodnight Ned at the moment and that the band's planning on touring more in 2015.
“I'll just keep writing songs,” he says.
Here's hoping: Chokecherry Jam is a lively and impressive debut, and one that hints at a bright future for the songwriting.
That's something you can hear for yourself below, as Martin's been kind enough to all us to premiere the album stream in full, along with the premiere of his Will Von Bolton-directed music video for Chokecherry Jam's lead single, “Wake Up,” which you can watch in the embed above.
Cover photo by Will Von Bolton. Jonas Martin celebrates the release of Chokecherry Jam on Saturday, January 10, at the Prophet Bar. Head here for more information.