Josiah & The Bonnevilles

Collective Concerts Presents

Josiah & The Bonnevilles

Jenn Fiorentino, Ivan Rivers

Mon, June 5, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm

Smiling Buddha

Toronto, ON

$12.50

This event is all ages

Advance tickets also available at Rotate This & Soundscapes

Josiah & The Bonnevilles
Josiah & The Bonnevilles
"I'm nostalgic to the core," says Josiah Leming. "I think back on things a lot. I get hung
up on certain moments, and that's when I feel like I've got to get a guitar into my
hands."
Nostalgia might be a surprising motivation to hear from Leming, the young, erudite,
emotional powerhouse behind Josiah & The Bonnevilles, especially considering his
band's entire bright future is unfolding right before his eyes. But one listen to Leming's
songs and you'll understand: his nostalgia isn't a longing for the past, but rather a
quest for understanding of the present. Boyish though he may look, Leming writes with
the weathered wisdom and unflinching self-realization of an old soul. Inquisitive,
witty, and fearless, his lyrics are high beam headlights piercing through dark nights of
the soul, illuminating the pain and joy of growing up, falling in love, falling apart, and
moving on.
"These songs came from a really difficult place, and I don't think there's any way
around that," Leming says of the 'Cold Blood' EP, a preview of his arresting debut
album for Vagrant Records. "I felt like I was in a hole that I was never going to dig out
of, so I started writing. Some of the songs were to remember better times, and some
were to get me out of the shitty times I was living in."
In the summer of 2013, Leming had just completed a grueling tour of the United States
plagued by setbacks and disappointments. Burned out seemingly beyond repair, he
relocated to Las Vegas and questioned his next steps until fate intervened. First, a
friend introduced him to the music of Townes Van Zandt. Then his brother sent him a
copy of Leonard Cohen's 'New Skin For The Old Ceremony.' Josiah felt something
important brewing, so he began teaching himself to fingerpick on a small Martin guitar
he'd received as a gift from a fan. Clumsily at first, but with increasing finesse every
day, he obsessively explored the instrument and his tumultuous emotional
surroundings. Slowly but surely, the tumblers began to align and the locks started to
turn. What at first appeared to be impenetrable walls ultimately revealed themselves
as hidden doors, and suddenly previously unknown musical worlds opened up before
him.
"When I was young, the folk and country stuff never connected with me," confesses
Leming. "I was more dramatic than that. The flair of the British stuff like Morrissey and
Echo and the Bunnymen was what really hit me."
The new material Leming found himself writing in Las Vegas combined the two, fusing
the plainspoken poetry of American roots music with the emotional drama of Brit-pop
into something of a new-Americana. He set up a microphone in his living room and
recorded the meat of what would become the new album by himself, layering guitar
and piano and vocals a track-at-a-time. The songs mined his childhood in Tennessee
and the longing he felt to escape. They traced his journeys around the country, never
settling down in any one place for too long. They mapped his fears and anxieties,
spoke candidly to ex-girlfriends, and pulled no punches.
"For me, the music follows the words," says Leming. "I think the lyric creates the hook,
and the words are what build connections in people's minds. If you get the words right,
and if you sing them with conviction, no matter the melody, people will relate and
they'll want to sing along."
And that's exactly what happened when Josiah began performing the new songs live
with guitarist Stephen Johnson and bassist/percussionist Josh Nyback. Under the name
Josiah & The Bonnevilles, they landed a residency in LA that quickly garnered a
devoted fanbase and showed Leming just how far those simple, stripped-down tunes
he'd recorded in Las Vegas could go. The power of the live shows and the audience
reactions inspired Leming to bring his new bandmates into the studio in LA with coproducer/mixer
Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Paul McCartney) to flesh out several tracks
and finally complete work on the album.
The resulting record showcases the full spectrum of Leming's talents, from the
bittersweet farewell of "Back To Tennessee" and gut-wrenching confessional "Lie With
Me" to the Dylan-esque "Please" and infectious "Swing." The arrangements are
understated, drawing emotional power not from bombast or grandeur but rather
through intimacy and intensity. Leming and the band create wide-open vistas with
their music, leaving room for the lyrics to live and breathe and cut you to the quick.
"Cold Blood" displays Josiah's mastery of intricate fingerpicking techniques, while "Long
Gone" makes beautiful use of his delicate falsetto, and "London" transports you into an
entire world built of nothing more than an acoustic guitar and his quavering,
passionate voice.
In the end, that's what Josiah & The Bonnevilles do best: transport you. Each song is a
journey in its own right: of memory, of regret, of hope, of self-discovery. Josiah may
be nostalgic to the core, but out of the darkness of his past, he's crafted a brilliant
beacon of an album that's shining a bright, blazing light onto all the promise of his
future.
Jenn Fiorentino
Venue Information:
Smiling Buddha
961 College St
Toronto, ON, M6H 1A6
http://www.thesmilingbuddha.ca/