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JONT / THANK YOU FOR THE MEDICINE
We live in a world that has been brought to its knees. A time when a collective anxiety and fear permeates our lives to a degree almost none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Capitalism and consumerism have bankrupted us. Social media have isolated us. Politics divided us. Every so-called advance seems to nudge us closer to the end. We are wounded. Damaged. Suffering.
But all is not lost. There is a way out of the darkness. A road back to solid ground. A path to simplicity and honesty, love and unity. And we can begin that healing, cleansing journey right here and right now, with the life-affirming, soul-lifting sound of Jont's trailblazing 10th release Thank You For The Medicine.
"This is the sort of record the world needs right now," says the British singer-songwriter who now calls Halifax, Nova Scotia home. "Never before has the global conversation been as aware and tuned in to these issues of healing, trauma and the power of the human heart. These songs speak to us evocatively and precisely about the journey from being mired in pain to being suffused with relief.
"This album is for people who aren't looking for music to be a distraction from the truth, from the world, from their journey. This is for helping them go deeper and come out better, happier and closer to a place of peace than when they came in. When people listen to this music, I want them to feel amazing. I want them to feel joy. I want them to feel there is hope."
They will also feel they are experiencing music unlike any other. Because Thank You For The Medicine is a revolutionary, evolutionary album unlike anything Jont — or anyone else — has created before. Its passionate heart beats with the deeply personal and vulnerable troubadourism that has always been his sonic signature. But on this ambitious work, he expands that familiar world with a rich tapestry of collaborative elements: Edgy electronic textures. Percolating techno grooves. A phalanx of strings. Soaring vocal choirs. Striking production. Stirring arrangements. On paper, it seems like overkill. But in Jont's skilled and gifted hands, these disparate elements seamlessly, effortlessly, flawlessly join into a multi-coloured musical carnival. And they infuse the tender melodies and universal epiphanies of songs like Thank You For My Happiness, The End Is An Illusion, You Are the Dance and Before You with untold depth, breadth, height and spiritual energy. Jont calls this new sound Medicine Pop. "It is the sound of freedom from shame," he says. "The sound of pure exhilaration. The sound of joy."
It's a sound as unique as the artist behind it. Born Jonathan Whittington in London, Jont was always destined for a life less ordinary. He began writing verse at 14 and while still a teen, travelled the U.S. to interview giants of American poetry, even dining with Allen Ginsberg in his New York apartment. While head boy of the prestigious Eton College, he broke bread with another icon: Princess Diana, who flirtatiously asked him about the relative merits of boxers and briefs. After a stint as a professional cricketer, he embraced music, releasing his first album in 1998. Jont's career quickly took him from London to New York and Los Angeles. He released six albums and EPs that earned four-star reviews. He worked with Bill Laswell, Tom Rothrock and Tom Petty's manager. He contributed songs to Grey's Anatomy, Without A Trace and Wedding Crashers. He even played Keira Knightley's brother in the film Love, Actually. Jont was on his way.
But his trajectory changed during a trip to Sicily to sing his hit Supernatural at a wedding. Deciding life was too short to spend it in the starmaker machinery, Jont became a real-life troubadour, letting his songs lead him around the world, guitar in hand. His idealism and bravery led to two life-changing gifts: The inner peace found through meditation, and the discovery of an eight-year-old daughter in Halifax. Settling in Nova Scotia to be a father, finally grounded and free from distraction, Jont was reborn personally, spiritually and artistically. He recorded three more albums, finding a new, quieter singing style heard on the Gentle Warrior disc. His Unlit house-concert tours and online series gave way to Sacred Song Ceremony performances, fusing music and meditation into a profoundly intimate, intensely spiritual experience. They became the cornerstone of his craft — until another life-changing event altered his course yet again.
"My dad died, and suddenly another brighter, bigger, bolder album started coming through," he says, crediting his father for Thank You For The Medicine's grand approach. "I know this sounds mystical, but as I was making the album, I could hear my dad saying 'This is great! This is amazing!' in a really surprised, exultant voice. Finally, after years of being supportive but often concerned by the paucity of income made by my music career, I felt that, from the other side, he now got it! However crazy it sounds, it felt to me that his spirit wanted me to know he saw how amazing this new album was. 'Add more stuff,' he said. 'Put more stuff on!' ”
Following his father's wishes and his own creative instincts, Jont enlisted artists and friends around the world on the most collaborative work of his career. Julian Brody created the electronic backing tracks in Mexico City. Bassist George Hoyle and string player Oli Langford added their parts in London. Pianist and percussionist Bob Sherwood lent a hand from Massachusetts. Closer to home, Halifax's Tamsin Michael Robson supplied string and choir arrangements. The final piece of the vast puzzle was placed in Montreal by Grammy-winning engineer Mark Lawson, who mixed the disc in Arcade Fire's studio.
With the album complete and his interactive video concept for I Think It Could Be Possible spreading unity and hope around the world, Jont is "bursting with excitement to share this music with the world, to jump around and play these songs live, to let music lovers hear the sonic glory of these arrangements and mixes that have been the air I have breathed for this last year. Deep down, I am also quite terrified to share it — I love it so much that I’m not sure how I will understand if others don’t love it too. But I have no choice. It wasn’t made for me. It was made for you. And making it was the sweetest medicine. May it now be yours."
Vinyl record. Included a 2-page flyer with all the credits.
Uplifting. Vulnerable. Inspiring. Honest.
These words describe the music and performances of British-born troubadour, Jont. An open-hearted and natural born poet with a guitar, Jont has spent his life connecting with the hearts of those around him through his songs and developing his trademark transparent performance and songwriting style, one rooted in the experience of love and the healing of trauma. Along with 11 albums and songs in movies and television, he is also the force behind live gatherings such as Unlit (impromptu performances held in people’s homes worldwide that reached millions on YouTube), and the healing, soulful evenings of intentional music known as Gentle Warrior Song Ceremonies. This last eight years Jont has been living in Halifax, Nova Scotia learning the art of surrender and fatherhood. He is currently developing his new "Medicine Pop" sound collaborating with friends from around the world, mixing electronic beats with choir and string arrangements. The result is the extraordinary album “Thank You For The Medicine” (release June 26, 2020). These songs have the capacity to truly transport and uplift the listener, reconnecting us with the pure joy and pure love that is our essence.
YOU TUBE https://www.youtube.com/user/jontnet
APPLE / ITUNES https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/jont/91855325