“Music is about reaching people, bringing them together and telling them something,” says Jon Reynolds, a longtime singer/songwriter whose solo debut, an EP entitled Generation, Love, shines a light on social issues that still haunt the American South. Influenced by the moods and melodies of 1950s pop-pock, Reynolds’ songs deliver bright hooks and weighty messages, tackling issues like racism and sexism along the way. Generation, Love nods to a wide range of influences, too, from the songwriting of The Zombies and Ray Charles to the barrier-breaking art of comedians like Richard Pryor.
Choosing to join the ranks of activist art developed from Reynolds’ recent relocation to the South. “My wife has repeatedly changed jobs because of sexist treatment and sexual harassment, and people have openly expressed their distaste for my black brother-in-law and black friends,” says Reynolds about his first year living in Tennessee. Instead of responding in kind, he chose to transform the words of hate and prejudice into songs of introspective growth and social relevance, delivering a long-awaited revival of lyrical density. Generation, Love leaves no listener uncertain about its theme, with Reynolds calmly expressing that prejudice exists in all of us and must be corrected - starting with himself.
A multi-instrumentalist, Reynolds cut his teeth with Oklahoma-based band The Waymires, whose blues-rock sound landed them headlining performances at festivals like Red Gorilla Fest. He's still in that band, but Generation, Love is a different project, inspired by his realization that inequalities still exist in the Bible Belt. On songs like “Situational Demise,” he ditches the blues and leans heavily on the pop music of his parents’ generation, using it as a vehicle to deliver a wake-up call to anyone who’s become complacent with the status quo.
“It was important to find the right people to help interpret such a substantial topic,” says Reynolds about the project’s colorful musicianship, which included time-tested instrumentalists such as Hubert Payne, John Thomasson, and Evan Weatherford, along with vocal trio, The Horsettes, from country band A Thousand Horses. Reynolds also struck gold working with Josh Reynolds as his project engineer and producer. Josh’s live production experience with Little Big Town lent itself beautifully to Generation, Love by grounding the recordings in live performances, giving the project a genuine, human touch. On title track Generation, Love, all parties combine their unique artistic colors to create a masterful blending of past and present musical expression, headed by Reynolds’ lyrical lament of a generation failing to live up to its potential.
Reynolds’ EP will be released August 5, 2016. (The first single from the EP, the title track, will be
released early on July 8, 2016.)