This is why I still love hip hop. People still make music like this that makes me smile.
I must admit, I fell across JS Ondara by a mistake. Well the internet said I should give him a go. It’s worth looking into the story how JS Ondara got to where he is today. In short he’s a guy from Kenya that fell in love with American music and decided to move to America to make what he loved from the country that the music continues to use as a muse. He moved to Minneapolis because that’s where Bob Dylan came from. A bit unexpected but it seems to have done the trick.
This name of this album is very apt. Not because he lives in America and he’s telling stories (though that is exactly what it is), but because in my opinion he’s a perfect example of a singer songwriter from North America that depicts the continent and what it offers. One that has taken so many influences from across the genres and cultures, boiled them in a pot, added some of himself and (ping) he’s done….. JS Ondara presents his Tales of America.
This album started off as a Sunday afternoon album I played whilst making lunch and moved to a go to for me the more I listen to it. I encourage you to take some time to dig into the lyrics. He covers allot. Love, life, and even social media. Peoples day to day struggles and victories. I get the Dylan influence. He’s a story teller. I like how there are hints of his accent; though the only track it really stands out on is his letter to his current home on ‘God Bless America’.
I’ll tell you why I like him and this album. It’s wholesome. It gives me what early Neil Young and Ryan Adams albums have. He’s got soul, his lyrics are solid and the boy can sing.
I had the pleasure of seeing him in Manchester in the spring. I highly encourage you to see him if you get a chance. He’s the real deal. I see him as a guy that will build a following through his live show.
America is (mostly) a country of immigrants. A country of a million stories. A million songs. Everything needs fresh eyes, and in this case a folksinger from Kenya that has taken a screen shot of the America he lives in. Is this album a classic? Perhaps not now. It may be one day. I’d say it’s a first chapter in what could be an interesting story.
I hear this over the weekend. Loving it!
I have had this track on repeat non stop over the last week. Amazing, especially with headphones.
It may be my summer trip to Ibiza inspiring me but I seem to have found a stack of new tracks that warranted a mix, so here you go:
Whitesquare – Stina
Dennis Cruz & Ian Ludvig – Blackbird
Kölsch & Tiga – Hal
Kevin Di Serna – Amapola
Bruce Loko – Sunset Over Water (Fka Mash Glitch Dub)
Pablo Fierro – Tel Aviv to Casablanca
&ME – Fairchild
Gullen – Lydia’s Cove
Glowal – Cries
Xinobi – Far Away Place (Rampa Remix)
Chloe – What Will Be
Hidden Empire – Valhalla
Claptone & Super Flu – Birdsong (Superflu remix)
Don’t you love when you stumble across a little gem…