Jon Kanis – All-American Mongrel Boy (2014)

Is there anything Jon Kanis can’t do? Probably not. This singer-songwriter, maestro of many instruments, producer, disc jockey and music journalist, the San Diego, California-based Energizer bunny is also an award-winning, Grammy-nominated artist. A summary of Jon’s best work to date, All-American Mongrel Boy 1989-2014 (Road Ahead/MJK Records) fires off a stream of durable sights and sounds steered by depth, insight, and million-watt melodies.

Skipping rhythms, accompanied by cheery vocals and plucky radio-ready pop curves pad the new wave fashioned “Welcome Home,” and “It Is & It Isn’t” pumps furiously to a repetitiously catchy beat before concluding to a shower of bold and bright harmonies. Ablaze with stirring piano passages, crackling structures, and potent theatrics, “Dweller On The Threshold” recalls “Tumbleweed Connection” and “Madman Across The Water” era Elton John with its folky homespun complexion, while “Follow Up” slides and glides to a smooth and glossy pop finish.

A cheekily obnoxious punk attitude, tinged with a touch of ska dons the not surprisingly Clash influenced “Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him?,” a brooding blues temper visits “Walk Without Me,” and both “Holiday Motel” and “Arlington” are clangy, twangy hillbilly numbers. Lightly battered hip-hop moves, superimposed with sleepy psychedelic drifts materialize on “The Sun,” “Real Gone” rocks to a paralyzing pace, an instrumental, “A.C. In Michigan” prospers to a swell of intense acid guitar flashes, “Make It” flickers with soul-stained jazz patterns, and the crunchy chime of the nasal-throated “The Past Is Not Made To Last (Who Loves Ya, Baby?)” parodies Neil Young with a grin and wink.

Schooled in several styles, Jon is certainly a tremendously talented man. Be it pop rock, freak rock, country rock, folk rock, or ballads, he consistently has his fingers and pipes on the pulse. All-American Mongrel Boy 1989-2014 is a great introduction to a musician who not only knows how to pen credible songs, but he further knows how to arrange, play, and present such statements in an obtainable format. A rave review all the way!

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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