Conscious party: Billy Jonas Band’s benefit concert for Kids4Peace

VOCAL INSPIRATION: Although previous creative pursuits were also sacred activities for local musician Billy Jonas, his band’s latest Jewish-inspired album called for a different creative process, involving ample time to verify Hebrew pronunciations and liturgical interpretations with far-flung religious experts. “Also, the nature of the songs helped me discover a raw, primal depth in my voice,” Jonas says, additionally noting “a slightly operatic baritone who'd been hidden in me somewhere.” Photo courtesy of the band

WHAT: Billy Jonas Band’s release party for new album habayta

WHERE: Altamont Theatre

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m.

WHY: “After two decades of performing, writing and recording secular music with spiritual content, I’m proud to be celebrating the release of my first Jewish-focused CD,” says frontman Billy Jonas, introducing his band’s new album habayta (homeward) – New Jewish Songs of Joy and Spirit. “I love facilitating ritual and providing a sonic foundation for soul spelunking.”

The self-described whimsical re-percussionist says this new direction and his quartet’s continued pursuit of family-friendly folk performances “all seem to be part of a whole.” In fact, he credits his bandmates Juan Holladay, Sherman Hoover and Ashley Jo Farmer — as well as musical collaborators River Guerguerian, Chris Rosser, Seth Kellam and Sarah Kim Wilde — with bringing the compositions to life on the new recording.

The Billy Jonas Band will again call upon these local colleagues as guest performers at the album’s release show, which includes food by Gypsy Queen Cuisine, Avenue M, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack and Universal Joint in the ticket price. Proceeds from the evening support national nonprofit Kids4Peace, which runs a local chapter in Hendersonville.

Last summer, Jonas worked as a music leader for the organization, which holds interfaith peace camps for youths in addition to other programming to foster dialogue and community regardless of background.

“I firmly believe in interfaith and intercultural initiatives like Kids4Peace as the key to moving toward peaceful coexistence in the Middle East,” he says, reflecting on his inspirational time aside the kids.

“I now understand that peace in the Middle East will not be the absence of conflict, but the successful management of it,” he explains. “Humans are complex — conflict is inevitable! I believe solutions begin with empathic listening and respectful acknowledgement, regardless of differences of opinion or historical narrative. This, along with having fun, is exactly what Kids4Peace pursues with teens.”

Visit billyjonas.com for more information on the artists or altamonttheatre.com for details on the release show. At $36 per person, tickets include food.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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