Joe Athon | Portrait of the Man

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Portrait of the Man

by Joe Athon

If you like Costello or jamiroquai you will dig this KC cat. Smooth well trained vocals backed up with tight harmonies makes for a great treat for the ears. Outstanding talent with a catchy melody. Mixed perfectly for headphones. ENJOY.
Genre: Pop: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Portrait of the Man
3:44 $0.99
2. Right Here
2:17 $0.99
3. Doing Our Own Thing
3:34 $0.99
4. Rainy Midnight Walk
3:43 $0.99
5. The Lighthouse Song
3:45 $0.99
6. If Not For You
3:58 $0.99
7. Forget About What Could Have Been
3:45 $0.99
8. Here's to You
3:58 $0.99
9. Roseta
3:23 $0.99
10. Do I Really Want To Be?
3:43 $0.99
11. It's Alright
4:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
It seems that every gigging musician eventually faces the same choice: to simply look for the next paycheck or leap headfirst into the wild unknown of creating something fresh and original. It’s a subject that Kansas City singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Athon tackles with a funky sense of enthusiasm on his new solo release *Portrait Of The Man*.

Athon’s approach on *Portrait Of The Man* reveals a tip of the hat to his influences, from his Elvis Costello-styled vocals to his 70s-drenched horn arrangements. Yet while these echoes find their way into each cut, especially within the disc’s shuffling title track “Portrait of the Man” and the funky bump of “Rosetta,” Athon’s intent is firmly placed on finding his own groove.

There is an old adage that goes “tell me the company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.” Capably back by a small army of Kansas City notables, including bassist Bill McKemy, guitarist Jake Blanton, vocalist Valerie Price and local trumpeter extraordinaire Stan Kessler among others, Athon is obviously a musician with more than just a casual connection to the scene. The effort of this handpicked who’s who of Kansas City musicians really hits its stride with the richly textured drive of “Do I Really Want To Be” and the lush tones of “Rainy Midnight Walk.”

*Portrait Of The Man* is a coming out party of sorts for Athon. Though a member of the scene since the late 1980s as a precocious teenager and aspiring musician, it’s apparent that he has his sites set on much more than just the next gig. “Well I guess it don’t matter much, you know it doesn’t mean a thing,” Athon joyously belts on *Portrait*’s third cut, “I’ll keep on doing what we like; we got to keep on doing our own thing.”



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Review: 'Portrait of The Man"

Athon blends classic jazz fusion, hornlines, and a taste of alternative pop to c
Reprinted from and included here:

I have always been a fan of jazz, rock, and pop music that strongly defy category. When I listened to Joe Athon's "Portrait of the Man," I was deliciously happy to find another artist to add to my list of musical geniuses.

I must confess before I review that I know Joe personally. We worked together as classmates in the music program at what is now the University of Central Missouri, over twenty years ago. At that time, Joe was a fellow (and precociously advanced) student with me under Dr. David Aaberg in the jazz program. Outside of school, Joe headed an amazing funk band called "Purple Skunk Funk." Several of my classmates and I would often go see PSF perform live in the Warrensburg, MO clubs whenever we could.

At the time, while still a teenager, Joe was a fantastic alto saxophonist, who later played with Dr. Aaberg at my wedding, together with my father, vocalist Tim Ballard. Between Athon, Aaberg, and Ballard, the people at that wedding likely had no idea what level of talent was truly in the house!

At least fifteen years have passed since I have seen Joe, as I moved to Denver and he remained in Kansas City. This year, we were reunited in cyberspace by Twitter and Facebook, and through that connection, it has been a wonderful surprise to learn that he released an album in October 2011. So on with the formalities of the review!

"Portrait of the Man" is an appropriate moniker for the album, as it is an excellent testament to Athon's growth from teen prodigy to formidable composer, arranger, pianist, and vocalist. It is a shining example of a young man coming into his own musically. And as a lifelong fan of generally "unclassifiable" songwriters and artists such as Joe Jackson, Walter Becker, and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Athon's original songwriting, classy hornlines, complex chordal structures, and smooth vocals put me under their spell immediately.

Fans of Elvis Costello will immediately be drawn to Athon's deep storytelling and natural vocal journey on cuts such as "Right Here". Fans of Steely Dan and/or Donald Fagen will appreciate and gravitate toward the complex jazz polychords and warm, reassuring, sax, trombone, and trumpet lines on gems such as "Rainy Midnight Walk." Treasures such as the title track, "Portrait of the Man”, power ahead, guided by progressions similar to Fagen's work on late-career albums such as "Everything Must Go" and "Morph the Cat." Athon is also sure to attract brand new fans that just love a good story, as the album's lyrics are profound, exploring the ups and downs of daily joy and heartbreak. Yet, with all these influences, Athon's sound is truly his own.

JOE ATHON: “Portrait of the Man” is available on CDBABY at I regret that this review was over a year from release, but with the fantastic music I heard on the album today, it was well worth the wait.

Best wishes,
Kathryn Ballard Shut /shoot/
President, Independent Reviewer
TIMKAT Entertainment LLC
Denver, CO, USA

Twitter: @timkatent
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kenny marshall

review for portrait of a man
the musicianship is great.the production is great.the recording is great.the songs i love the best are 'rosetta and doing our own thing best of luck.keep promoting don't give up.