I feel there’s a certain kind of freewheeling spirit that dissipated from the ether of rock and roll in the 90s and 2000s. Like it was almost embarrassing to write a song that even hinted at blues-based rock and roll. Bar chords, Hammond B-3s, and Leslie Speakers? Forget it. Unless it was supposed to be ironic or delivered with a cheeky wink.
Sure, there were bands like Wilco, Drive-By Truckers, The Hold Steady; and of course Petty(R.I.P.), Springsteen, The Black Crowes and Dylan whipping up the classic flavors we all know and love. But for the most part bluesy and boozy rock and roll was just not being represented in the “bands under 30” crowd.
But that’s changing, man.
I feel un-ironic rock and roll is making a comeback. Buzzing amps, soaring vocals, and bombastic drums are finding a home with younger musicians. I think cats like Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, and Sharon Van Etten all make earnest rock music that feels real and not compromised. Fort Wayne-area singer/songwriter Jonah Leatherman can be added to that list.
Leatherman plays drums in the Fort Wayne band Bonsai, but beating drums isn’t the only thing he does. He’s been recording his debut solo release on the side, and it’s turning out pretty damn good. He released his debut single “Couldn’t Find Any Reason” back in January of this year. And today he’s dropping single number two called “Mourning Glory”.
“Mourning Glory” is turned to 10 and never lets up. I hear classic Petty, Southern Harmony-era Crowes, and touches of Keith Richards all thrown into a song that sounds like vintage rock and roll with a modern vibe. It’s the kind of song that when it starts blaring thru the car speakers you crank it and put the pedal to the floor. Just unabashed rock and roll.
Jonah Leatherman sounds like a singer/songwriter who knows who he is. There’s no reservations or hesitations in those lines he belts out over those buzzing, jangly guitar lines. This guy is fully formed and ready to knock your socks off. Hit play below and find out for yourself.