Sound Track web extra: Jonathan Ammons

Jonathan Ammons just finished his latest EP, Swinging For the Fences, and is set to release the album next week in two shows (Wednesday and Thursday, April 25 and 26) at The Magnetic Field.

The album is polished and constant from start to finish; from the looks of Ammons’ Soundcloud page, these are songs he’s been working on for the past year, though it’s been longer than that since he last performed.

Opening track “Rag Apple Blossoms” sets the scene with an ambling alt-country feel. Steel guitar flows into snare played with brushes, and Ammons’ tenor is slightly hoarse, slightly rough. Paired with a soft soprano (both Beth Bombara and Reva Williams sings backup), the vocal infuses the song with a palpable wistfulness. 

“Little Birds” is based on those same country beats and bittersweet guitar tones. Ammons’ palate is one of longing, space, memory cast in a rosy glow, coffee growing cold and shadows growing long. But he pairs these poignancies with sharp beats that prance against the emotional fragility of the songwriting.

The beat slows for “It Kills Me Every Time.” Kick drum thumps into the sonic landscape, and the love-gone-wrong feel is stronger. There’s a litheness to the songwriting, a limber dance around cliche. Ammons manages to put to words those all-too-common human experiences (“It kills me every time you kiss his mouth,” he sings. “I pretend that I don’t know, but who am I fooling? Cause I know what you do when you leave town.”) in a way that doesn’t come across as stale.

The EP wraps with “I Want You,” which sways, all honky tonk and smoke. The steel guitar sings through its tears and this songs ambles and two-steps its way to its chorus. It’s constructed with radio-ready savvy and, even though it signifies too soon of an end for this album, it also shows just what Ammons is capable of.

Listen to “I Want You” here:

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.