And now for something a bit different from new wave vet Jon Macey who earned his local stripes with Tom Dickie & the Desires and FoxPass. This beautifully packaged and sounding release was recorded mostly live at Woolly Mammoth by David Minehan and contains 15 songs of “philosophical folk rock minus the rock.” Strong vocals with two lush female backing voices showcase songs full of memorable lyrics and hooks. In this sense, if the Beatles were a new wave acoustic band this might be similar to what their CDs would sound like. And there’s a bit of Dylan in here too. Jon plays the harp and songs like “”As The Twig Is Bent,” “Fourth Time’s A Charm,” and “This Is Just A Song” could be in Bob’s setlist. And like Dylan, when Jon sings it sounds like he’s singing just for you with the message directed to you alone. This is where his experience and talent make the difference. In general, Jon’s current guitar style is strumming chords and adding a lead riff to the strumming. Think of the Stone’s “Wild Horses” and you can see what I mean. “Look Both Ways” is a perfect example of his method of guitar-playing. Sometimes his songwriting is so good it sounds familiar without it being boring and redundant. This is a master-craftsman at work. For example, “Criminal At Heart” could be a Boyce/Hart hit from the ’60s for the Zombies or the Animals. Good new stuff from a local songwriting master. Check it out.
Jon Macey / Intention by Paul Lovell
In quality and quantity Jon Macey has already left his competition way behind. Intention continues that trend. Jon puts the straight rock beside and accents more subtle sounds. This is more of a chamber music sort of affair. It feels very acoustic although there are electric guitars used for color.
The very first words are I'm outdated/ Seems like I'm fated. This signals the lyrics that follow which are mature and deal with adult issues. We (those who started with punk in 1976) are faced with these issues as we now see things through older eyes. It's appropriate that we get material like this.
To me Paris Street is the center of the CD. Seeing a girl walk downParis Street in the morning represents destiny and choice. Jon uses tubular bells to ring a symbolic tolling of time (a lifetime) going by. The girl is gone at sunset and the singer remains having missed or rejected his possible destiny. It's very effective. The rest of the material deals with similar themes. This is the perfect CD for a moody day or night. It has a seamless tone from beginning to end.
Words like intimate, calm, warm, detailed and contemplating mark both the sound and the recording and , what a surprise, this was recorded at Woolly Mammoth. I hear Woolly Mammoth, I'm expecting loud and visceral. It seems like David Minehan can use a scalpel as well as a sledge hammer.
This is the perfect CD for a moody day or night. It has a seamless tone from beginning to end.
Indie pop artist Jon Macey – whose vocals remind me of Russ Tolman and Ryan Adams – has released another gem of an album that has fifteen original songs. Macey is the master of mid-tempo pop tunes, as well as slower, more acoustic ballads. “Trapped (By My Own Creation)” gets this album kick-started in classic power pop fashion!
Jon Macey INTENTION
Review from March 2012 Metronome Magazine
By Doug Sloan
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Jon Macey is best known for his long running Boston band FoxPass as well as being a former member of Tom Dickie & The Desires. On his new CD Intention, Macey boldly steps out on his own with a gang of talented folks that include guitarists Mike Pyle and Rich Lamphear, percussionist Bruce Demaree, singers Lynn Shipley and Tamaki Sakakibara and violinist Clara Kebabian.
Reflecting influences as varied as The Byrds, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, John Lennon and Steve Earle, Macey crafts a meticulous assemblage of songs that soar with pop-rock sensibility and a deeply personal emotional factor. Macey wears his heart unpretentiously on his sleeve and it shows up clearly in his songs. His voice is emotive and true while his guitar work is clear and precise as he spins his tales of life and love unedited.
Tracks that will move you, heart and soul, include the wonderfully candid “Criminal at Heart,” the Byrds infused jangle of “Trapped (By My Own Creation”), the Steve Earle influenced “Look Both Ways,” the Lennon-esque “Rosebud Creek 6/25” featuring Clara Kebabian’s haunting violin work, the upbeat “Fourth Time’s The Charm,” and the epic album closer “This Is Just A Song.”
Jon Macey “Intention”
Jefferson Airplane “Take Me To a Circus Tent”
Jefferson Starship “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”
Since the end of the 1970’s I haven’t changed my declaration and lack of excitability when it comes to musical artists from any genre unfastening their labor.There has been only a smattering of vinyl and CD releases that my ears and stomach can sanction.Jon Macey possesses the uncommonness to have satisfied an old rocker’s musical palate as part of a band and in a solitary setting.
Jon Macey is co-founder of one of the finest New England groups Fox Pass during the 1970’s.Their eclectic mix combined brilliant elements of the Beatles, underground, and Power Pop (before the term reached its embryonic stage).Fox Pass performs to this day and their last release in 2010 “Intemporel” illuminates well in any collection.
Jon’s “Intention” must have been to take the most formidable path before the CD reached fruition.Instead of seeking the comfort zone of previous successes he eyeballed another plateau on the rock and roll mountain.The fifteen tracks are outside the margins of the up-tempo 60’s and 70’s style tunes he has conceptualized during the decades of yesteryear.From the opening note to closing credits the sounds are defined by acoustic Jon or unplugged Macey.
An artist doesn’t gain endorsements for style points.A change in the compass’s direction normally spells implosion in neon.Paul Simon’s Graceland superseded greatness not because of the risk of leaving the dazzling folk-rock/singer songwriter kingdom he commanded but for the whole effect of the results.
John Macey (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, and production) with a little help from his friends, Bruce Demaree (percussion and all but the kitchen sink), Clara Kebabian (violin), Rich Lamphear (acoustic guitar), Mike Pyle (electric guitar), Tamaki Sakakibara (vocals), and Lynn Shipley (vocals and production) lead us to a comprehensive look at a mirror darkened, moldy, and cracked with memories of days hard to recapture, the agony others have caused, our own shortcomings, and reasons to persevere nevertheless.
Using influences from The Band, Bob Dylan, Joe Jackson, John Mellencamp, Willie Nile, and Graham Parker we are brought to the harshness of reality during the opening number “Trapped.”As Jon conveys the message many of us thirty and over relate to “I’m outdated”, the CD takes us on an excursion that will never be mistaken for the land of elegance.
“Pine Island” broadcasts with impeccable clarity “It's too late for a mid-life crisis, it's too soon to just close our eyes'.”
“Look Both Ways” is in the realm of the Rolling Stones “Waiting On A Friend” in structure only.Jon’s message isn’t about the impending arrival but fate, reality, and sculpturing your own story.
“Criminal At Heart” may conjure sounds of Ritchie Valens performing “La Bamba” but Jon’s proclamation is “You’re a criminal at heart, playing with emotions.”
“Jefferson County, Early November” is eerie and harrowing, still with one eye open and the other exempt from the elements we go down to the bone yard.Is it the cemetery ravaged through the years or a slang term for finding old ships that have lost the will to sail?
After the initial listening you are left gulping, wanting to comprehend all facets of the journey.Is it an episode from the “Twilight Zone” or man’s continuing appalling treatment of all things living?
The production that encompasses “Intention” is stellar.You can feel the guitar pick hitting the E string.
Few albums the past thirty-two years have made such an impact warranting endless return listens.
This is a collection of low-key tunes, the best of which are memory songs in the mode of Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Mr. Macey has happily chosen a mode of presentation which best suits his vocal gifts. Notable tracks include the lovely, poignant “Pine Island, 1956”; the quietly introspective “Paris Street,” full of autobiographical resonances which evoke Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”; the magisterial “Look Both Ways,” and the evincing “Rosebud Creek 6/25.”