interview by: Sarah Goodrich
Songwriter Jonathon Robert (J.R.) Linaberry, of New York, is the one-man-band blues rocker behind The Bones of J.R. Jones, and he is sure to bring some soulful, foot stomping to the bill tonight. I caught up with him about the show and his latest album Ones to Keep Close, released in May.
Sarah: First of all, I love the new record, Ones to Keep Close. Congratulations! What’s the feedback been like? How are YOU feeling about it personally?
JR: Thanks for your kind words. Always good to hear when my music resonates with someone. As for the feedback… that’s always tough to get a bead on. I try to not obsess over it too much because if I do, I will inevitably feel like it’s not getting enough weight. I’ve learned that from mistakes I’ve made in the past. As a result, once the record is mastered I don’t think about it too much.
I feel pretty good about it as a whole right now. I definitely have some regrets, but I also think I’ve made some strides in the right direction.
Sarah: Sounds a bit like my life. Speaking of, please don’t make any assumptions about me based on my favorite tracks (haha!), but I’m particularly drawn to Enemy, Take Me Away, Die Young, and, of course, Burden. We’ve got massive love for Nicole Atkins around here (we recently caught her 4 times in one week!). What’s your history with her and what was it like working with her for this track?
JR: Nicole is great! We played a show or two together in the past and exchanged pleasantries and just kind of kept in-touch. I shot her a message while I was writing Burden and asked if she would be down to sing a bit and she said, ‘of course’ and that was that. I’m hoping we can sing together a bit more in the future.
Sarah: We’ll be all over that. We caught you BOTH at Wildwood Revival in Athens, GA last year, which was a perfect venue for you. A gospel like vibe with amazing people, producers, and scenery. That festival is like no other; was it as much of an idyllic dream sequence for you as it was for us?
JR: It’s an amazing setting for sure. I am actually headed back this year, playing the opening party Thursday before the festival, and then hanging out for the weekend just to catch some music. Can’t wait! Looking forward to finally seeing Lera Lynn.
Sarah: A few of our PVDlive compadres will be down there with you! As perfect as Athens is, there are a lot of folks psyched you’re making the stop in PVD this week. What’s your experience up here been like?
JR: I played a funny little festival at Brown a few years back… and that was my first experience being in Providence. Looking forward to being back.
Sarah: We’re proud to see the music scene in Providence continue to evolve and we hope you get to check out some local flare while you’re here. We’re also pumped that you’re playing with the talented Will Dailey, who also just dropped a great new album Golden Walker. Have you guys played together before?
JR: We’ve never played together. I’m excited about this run of shows with him. It’s always fun to play with the same group of people for a few nights. We run in similar circles and I’ve heard nothing but good things.
Sarah: And, later this year, you’re heading to Europe; what’s the read on fans overseas?!
JR: I love playing Europe. It’s just a different culture of music. All the people who come out are always so engaged. It’s something special.
Sarah: Which city are you most looking forward to?
JR: I’m looking forward to being back in Berlin; it’s a one-of-a-kind city. There’s so much good creative energy over there. It reminds me of NYC in the early 2000’s. Also, I’ve never played London or Paris… so I’m happy to have those on my list.
Sarah: Awesome! Meanwhile, what are your summer plans?
JR: Disappearing! Ha! I’m hoping to finally find a few weeks to unplug and work on my home upstate. I’m way behind on my to-do list, and winter always comes way too soon in the Catskills. How about you?
Sarah: Thanks for asking… summer is the best around here! It’s all about the beach and outdoor events… including Newport Folk Festival. Take a break from working on the house and come hang for that!
It’s always great to get a little more insight on a performer we dig, and we’re stoked J.R. took the time to chat. Be sure to pick up his latest album, and catch him tonight with Will Dailey and You and Everything at Fete!
Check out the official video for Sinner Song, off Ones to Keep Close.
When: Friday, June 15 @ 8:00 pm
Where: Fête Music Hall
Tickets: $10 / $12
Ages: All Ages