Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Jonah Leatherman makes music that sounds timeless. Jangly indie rock that’s rooted in the tradition of big, classic rock and roll. Think 80s Springsteen, Petty, and The Hooters with more current bands like The War On Drugs and Kurt Vile thrown in for good measure. Those are the ingredients, anyways. Jonah puts them all together for something decidedly his own.
After a couple single releases over 2021 Jonah Leatherman has released his 9-song self-titled debut. Leatherman makes good on the promise of those initial singles by giving us a hard-driving, hook laden record where every track gets stuck in your head and doesn’t let up till you sing along. The kind of music meant to be spun on the turntable. Music delivered to your ears straight from vinyl grooves.
“Westward the Wagons” opens the album with the heft of the Heartbreakers and the jangle of The Jayhawks. Leatherman makes Midwestern rock, which takes the best of east coast grit and west coast sunshine for something grounded in the everyday. “Couldn’t Find Any Reason” is a soaring rock and roll anthem, complete with big harmonies and a tasteful guitar breakdown. “Looking Glass” is dusty blues rock of the highest order, complete with 70s guitar breakdowns, big harmonies and Hammond B-3 thrown in for good measure. A touch of Head East and a pinch of Drivin’ N Cryin’.
The album itself has an organic feel to it. Every instrument, every vocal is distinct while coming together naturally to give the album an aged, vintage sound. It’s music with no time stamp or dated qualities. It moves freely in sound and feel over the last five decades. Timeless rock and roll, just drop the needle and see where it takes you.
Elsewhere “Castle Stones” locks into 80s college rock vibes, ala REM and the Smithereens while “Between The Lines” has a low key driving rhythm and some great vocal harmonies that breaks down into a great Heartbreakers-like jangle. Album closer “Moody Judy” brings to mind the great Modern Lovers with some Midwestern grit thrown in for good measure.
Jonah Leatherman steps out from behind the drum kit in Bonsai to make a singer/songwriter record of the highest order. A jangly Midwestern barn burner with heart, soul, and attitude. All killer, no filler.
Album available on all streaming platforms and physical copies available at NNN Records and Sweetwater Sound.