Jonathon Linaberry has a raw authenticity that’s hard to find these days. Writing and performing under the moniker, “The Bones of J.R. Jones,” Linaberry’s sound is full of ache, a blend of blues, folk and Americana that pays homage to roots music and soul as well. He found success in his 2016 album, Spirit’s Furnace with breakout hits “The Heat” and “Bless Your Soul,” but his newest single is far more delicate and emotional. “Sinner Song” is a grungy folk ballad focused on redemption and the second chances that follow complete loss of oneself. The song itself is emotional, but the video is an upheaval of deep seated sorrow–a definite must watch for anyone with some feels they need to confront.
Directed by Joshua Zimmerman, the video for “Sinner Song” plays in reverse. It begins with Linaberry underwater, and continues with slow motion shots of anonymous people standing in the river with him, looking on with a melancholy acceptance. The lyrics, “All my convictions crumble to afflictions,” illustrate a man at the end of his rope, looking above for some sign of redemption. The video is tastefully simple while still delivering a powerfully poignant message: “I’m lost but I am ready to be found.”
Exposed vocals reminiscent of Hozier and The Lumineers accompany shots of Linaberry in the river, seemingly getting either baptized or drowned by an older man with a knowing gaze. The confusion here is intentional, as Linaberry explains, “The idea of playing off death and what could potentially seen as ‘rebirth’ from a certain religion is what interests me. I like the idea of the viewer wondering if they are witnessing a murder or some ceremony. I wanted there be to an ambiguity.”
The Bones of J.R. Jones is a solo project, and Linaberry carries the weight of playing multiple instruments, singing and songwriting all himself. He has upcoming tour dates in San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston and Salt Lake City, and is playing The Telluride Blues and Brews Festival in Colorado this September. If you’re not able to make it to a live show, his new album is out today as well, and features 11 stomp-worthy tracks.