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Review: Bonfire John, 'Making the Most'

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Bonfire John and the Majestic Springs Band
Making the Most
3 stars

Making the Most gives hints that a solo project started in 2010 by singer-songwriter Owen Yonce has the potential to become a successful full-band project in a twangy indie-rock tradition.

Many of the songs on the 13-track album are short, with only three clocking in at more than three minutes. “You Never Learn Babe” is excellent, head-bouncing, Wilco-style rock; “Older and Gray” is nuevo Beatles, with a hint of Todd Snider as the guitar dances in for a fun solo; “Silly People” sounds like a Ringo number, circa Rubber Soul. "Fit for Desire," featured as a free download, is a sly Dylan and Petty rock-and-roll rip with a Woody Guthrie whistle. Like much of the record, it's filled with phrases melded together to create atmosphere rather than a linear story.

Hear: Making the Most (via Bandcamp):

Near the end, “Ride with Me” thrashes with some garage rock hopes and is bubble gum, in a good way. And the album's best song is its closer, “Fade to Blue,” which resonates like an Avett Brothers number with its story about two people moving in opposite directions: “When I leave, will you remember me? Will I just say “I love you’”?

Don't dismiss Bonfire John because of his tongue-twisting name and lo-tech recording standards. With cohorts Brian McGowan on guitar, Jack Sullivan on bass, and Jeffrey Lauer on drums, Yonce/John has put together a four piece that begs for opportunities to mash into the music even more. Are they a lo-fi unit happy to mine that thinner territory? Or do they have more to give? Stay together, boys, and give us another.

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