The Bones of J.R. Jones: On What It's Like to Be a One-Man Band

The question, "Why do you play as a one man band?" gets asked to me a lot.

The funny thing is, it was never a conscious choice to go this route. It was born out of necessity.

This music really started to take shape when I was living in Rosendale, NY. I was new to the town and didn't know any other musicians. I wanted to create something bigger than a singer songwriter project, something that was full of passion, something that would punch people in the chest with meaning, but also something I could take out to the dive bars in town and catch people's ear.

Nobody wants to hear sad bastard songs at a bar after a long day at work. Brings me down just thinking about it.

So over the years I've been trimming and reshaping what I set out to do.

It's taken me countless shows to shape this thing to what it now resembles.

I think it's safe to say that bands find their identity onstage. It's the live shows that matter. Rehearsal spaces provide too much comfort sometimes, and it's not until you are in the moment that you figure it all out, or at least that's how it's been for me. It's the place where the true colors shine through the most.

Yes, sometimes it's easier having it be just me up there. It makes things simpler, which I like. I can't blame anyone but myself for the fuck ups or the shortcomings. I also can't fire myself.

Touring can be tough though. Long car rides, followed by a crowd of strangers, followed by a night alone somewhere and then another long car ride. It's mentally exhausting more than anything else, when you are out there by yourself.

For all the hard times, the good times are strong, too. I take pride in trying to do this myself. And when I have a good show, or meet some great people… it makes the whole thing that much more special.

I like playing as much as I can. Every show I think I get a little close to where I want to be. The good shows happen more and more now. But what really makes this worthwhile is the support of my friends and family.

After playing a long line of shows, it's comforting know I can come home to the people I really care about.

Check out this performance of "Death Letter"

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

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