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In the ocean of indy bands, Jonah keeps on keeping on

There are countless reasons why a band gets together. Some love just to get away from the monotony of life a couple hours a week and enjoy playing with friends. Some have pipe dreams of making it “big,” and if it doesn’t happen they become bitter and jaded. Jonah, on the other hand, throws itself into their work wholeheartedly not expecting anything but a grand adventure that they can tell their grandchildren about someday. Sure, I’m sure they get excited when there’s good news.

Like for example, in mid Oct Jonah flew out to Nashville to attend the Nashville New Music Conference, which is basically like the late NXNW (RIP) but Nashville style. Jonah’s was well received by the audience and record label types alike. Rumors of major label interests are flying but I don’t believe we will see Jonah fall apart if it’s not in their cards.

Jonah (formerly Dizzy Fish) has endured through the good and bad times with a bulletproof vest on.

The band was formed in 1991 in lil’ ol’ Bend Ore. In 1998 the band made the educated decision to move to Portland. “It was definitely time to make a change,” lead vocalist Henry Curl said. Jonah didn’t hit the “scene” hard and burn out quickly like hundreds of Portland bands before them. There was no huge buzz initially. No big flashy features in The Rocket (RIP), The Mercury or CMJ. Jonah has a way of collecting fans in a more long-term fashion. The fans are in it for the long haul. If you attend a Jonah show you will find a crowded venue or bar filled with girls and guys, but mostly girls, singing along to every song. I found that to be very interesting.

Calling Jonah a Christian band is a bit of a stretch but the majority of the members find their faith very important. You can find hints of their spiritual side in their latest release, Save the Swimmer. Producer Steve Sundholm put together the full-length. Working with Sundholm gave drastic change in the band’s sound. Previous albums, under the name (Dizzy Fish) were danceable background music, good but forgettable. Jonah’s shifted gears into a much more mature and artistic band. A band that, regardless of if you’re a fan of the genre, demands respect. The vocalist/ guitarist Matt or Henry Curl has an almost perfect voice that lets you relax and enjoy the music. It’s truly rare to find such a talented voice in indie pop. Sure, you can go into a studio and make it sound fine, but live, that’s the true test. Jonah comes off like pros live.

Jonah is not trying to change music. You won’t see this band at any experimental music fests or anything like that, but Jonah takes influences like Radiohead and U2 and runs with it in a younger more personal, spiritual direction.

Reviews of their latest album have been good and the album has been selling well across the nation. Time will tell if Jonah is going to be up to par success wise with their mentors. But I see the band traveling on either way. That’s what has impressed me about this band. If they get knocked down they get up stronger and when they record its better that the previous recording. It’s a sign of true music lovers and solid human beings.

If you feel like watching a band that has a buzz for about a week or so go ahead and do so. You can rock out with all the other hipsters and make fun of the band a week later. Or if you’re the long-term type go see Jonah live, sometimes it’s a good thing to have a long-term memory!