A One-Man Rock ‘Sonic Novella’

The decade of production work on this CD, JJS3, says to me that Jonas J. Smith III is very committed and passionate about his work.

I know, too, that this CD is a one-man production. The artist himself provided the instrumentation, vocals and even the graphics and logo design for this project.

When making a CD, I believe there are several elements the artist(s) must consider in order to make a piece of work that is enduring, if not marketable: entertainment value, musicianship and getting one’s message across are key factors.

That said, I am wondering if this self-titled CD, JJS3, is a little too inward and personal to be fully appreciated by anyone other than the artist himself (or those close to him).

JJS3 is definitely unique – a near-17-minute “sonic novella” with an early ’70s heavy rock style. The seven tracks have a recurring, interwoven theme, yet each one has a distinct title.

One of the dangers in doing a project like this is a tendency to sound repetitive. Admittedly, the musical theme within JJS3 is strong, but, as I listened, I found myself wanting more variety.

As one track flowed into the next, I became disinterested in the same vocal key, the same voice (although a really good voice) and virtually the same rhythm for most of the CD.

I listened to the CD a few times in order to “get it”, but I found the heavy guitar overpowered the vocals to the point where I really didn’t understand what was being sung. I wanted to hear the words. I wanted to hear the heart of this artist.

Is this a “fun” CD? I think not. Is it pensive and mood-provoking? Yes.

It is a trance-invoking heavy-rock sermon. It is not the type of music one would play for guests at a dinner party, but I think it is the type of CD that will appeal to an ever–growing audience of young adults asking the unanswerable question, “What’s it all about?”

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