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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Jon Troast - Living Room

Jon Troast - Living Room
2010, Jon Troast Music

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin singer/songwriter Jon Troast writes engaging music while challenging the conventions of the music industry. For the first six months of 2010, Troast is touring the United States for free, relying only on sales of CDs and downloads for support. It's about the music for Troast, but he's also trying to make the point that buying music supports artists. In 2009, Troast engaged in a 100 concerts in 100 days tour, playing 100 house concerts in as many days. Inspirations from that tour resulted in Troast's fourth album, Living Room, released in January of 2010.

Great songwriting, a great voice and charisma are all qualities that Jon Troast displays amply on Living Room, but there's a fourth quality here that's often overlooked. Troast has put together an album that flows like these songs were always meant to be played together. This style of cohesive writing is quickly disappearing in the age of digital singles. Living Room opens with One Little Corner, a wonderfully catchy tune about finding a happy place. Troast has a John Mayer pre-Interview sound and appeal and the song is built around a melody and flow that are unstoppable. If you've ever wondered what house concert tours are like from the artist's perspective then you'll want to listen to Living Room Tour. Virulently catchy, Living Room Tour blends Folk, Rock, Americana and even hints of Zydeco in a wonderful listening experience. Troast's personality comes through here in waves, as he shows an ability to sell a song that's on a par with Sinatra.

Troast rings up more magic on the Orchestra Folk/Pop number When Beauty Speaks. We've all had moments in our lives where a person, place or moment strikes us with such force we lose our ability to speak. Whether it's attraction, awe or importance, the ability for emotion to short-circuit thought is one of the most maddening, and identifiable aspects of being human. Troast captures it perfectly in song. Just Enough hits on the essential components of love and how they can sustain a couple through rough times. Both the songwriting and performance are top notch. Troast offers up a Bluesy ode to the center of family life on They Call Her Mama. It's an un-romanticized tribute to Mom's who give their all every day for their family; a great song to dedicate to Mom for Mother's Day or on any day. Another Mile is a love song written from the road; rock with a blues undertow. It's a bit amazing the quality of the songs Troast boasts on Living Room; and his ability to comport them in nonpareil.

Perhaps the best of the best is Favorites; a song about the simple joy of being with the one you love, no matter where that is. A gorgeous melody wrapped in a simple, sweet arrangement and heartfelt, poetic limits creates a true Wow moment for the listener. What Will You Hold Onto is heartfelt and poignant with striking instrumentation. Stark and challenging but in a gentle fashion, What Will You Hold Onto will tug at your subconscious for days after you've heard it. Troast closes with Somewhere Down The Road, a parting song for anyone who lives on or makes their living on the road. Somewhere Down The Road is archetypal in them, and you could hear it being selected as either an opening or closing track for a motion picture. The lyrics might also inspire its selection for a farewell song at funerals.

Jon Troast comes across as easy-going in his music, but that presentation has an electric quality to it that lights up the stage; even the listeners in his presence. Living Room is brilliant, an absolute gem of an album that you will still be gaining enjoyment from years down the road. It's the sort of album that turns an unknown singer/songwriter into a household name with the right breaks. Whether those breaks come or not, you do yourself a disservice to not be acquainted with the music of Jon Troast. Living Room is a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Jon Troast at or
You can purchase physical copies of Living Room from Jon Troast's webstore. Digital copies are available from

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