The Bones of J.R. Jones: On Songwriting

I've had hard luck in finding a pattern to how I write music.

Things come in waves, whether it be melodies or guitar licks isn't up to me.

I can say though, that I rarely if ever write lyrics first.

If I had to analyze my process, I guess I'd say that melody is my strongest mark when it comes to writing. It always becomes the root or crutch for my songs. If I can hum a melody that haunts me I will stick with it, regardless of how simple the instrumentation or how long it takes for me to finish the song.

Sometimes I spend months on songs…I will just keep humming the same melody over and over again until it feels right. Until I feel I've captured the mood. The scariest thing about all of that is that sometimes I feel like it can change on me over night. I can lose the feeling for a song in a day and then I'm back to square one.

I've taken to recording melodies everywhere I go. My iPod is full of 30 second bits of me humming.

I'm sure I scared many a people in NYC, humming loudly to myself in the corner of the subway car. I'm sure they have seen stranger things and will get over it. So it goes.

Lyrics are always the last to come, and the most difficult.

In part because I don't rely on them too much. Perhaps to a fault.

I forget them. Rewrite them. Lose them or forget them again. Don't tell anyone that last bit. I get lost in melody and forget where I stand. I like to think it happens to the best of us.

In the end, I will tinker with songs until I record them. After that... it's done. On to the next one.

Check out the video for The Bones of J.R. Jones "Death Letter" here:

The Bones of J.R. Jones is the brainchild of Jonathan Linaberry. Linaberry performs and completely inhabits the persona of the early-twentieth-century blues musician, The Bones of J.R. Jones. “For me it’s an outlet more than anything else.” His new EP Dark Was the Yearling, is out now. More at ttps://

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