For those familiar with Jawbone, the question has become a cliche, but why hasn't this band made it yet? Named after a small town in northern Canada, a Biblical reference, or an inside joke depending on who you ask, the Grand Rapids-based quintet formed in 1992. Since then they have turned out two CDs, MR. JONES in 1994 and SHOUTING LIMERICKS in 1996, both of which are featured on playlists of several alternative radio stations, including East Lansing's own Impact 88.9. The band has played throughout Michigan and the surrounding area, opening for acts such as Hootie and the Blowfish and The Verve Pipe.
Jawbone's music is "pop-oriented," with catchy melodies and enticing vocal harmonies, but escapes convention through diverse instrumentation and strong songwriting. The current lineup includes Dave Marean on lead vocals, guitar, and trumpet, Aaron Brown on bass, Jim Dow on lead guitar and mandolin, Dan Ellis on violin and guitar, and Dan Faulkner on drums.
Both CDs showcase the extensive musical talents of the band, with the more recent release featuring a slightly harder guitar sound on tracks such as "National Rhyme and "Money Talks". The band also used a broader range of instruments on SHOUTING LIMERICKS, including vintage Hammond organ on "Could You Be Yourself?" and "This is Not the End".
If you happen to catch Jawbone's live show, two things are immediately apparent. One is that they sound at least as good live as they do on CD, and the other is that they are having a lot of fun. The audience feeds off the energy of the band, and, according to Dave, the exchange is mutual. "The best part [of playing live], for me at least, is the energy of the live show, the people that are there to see you. It's very rewarding to see people singing along with you and when you can actually hear them. We really have a good time."
The band is currently working on some new songs and hopes to tour in Pennsylvania and New York in the next few months as well as continuing to play regularly throughout the Midwest. You can catch them in East Lansing at Rick's American Cafe or the Small Planet and visit their website at http://www.wgrd.com/jawbone/jawbone.htm.
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