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Jon Macey | Intention

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Folk: Urban Folk Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Intention

by Jon Macey

Veteran Boston songwriter/producer's new solo album featuring philosophical folk rock minus the rock
Genre: Folk: Urban Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Trapped (By My Own Creation)
3:10 $0.99
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2. Right in Front of Your Eyes
3:35 $0.99
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3. Pine Island, 1956
4:50 $0.99
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4. Paris Street
5:37 $0.99
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5. Look Both Ways
3:46 $0.99
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6. Rosebud Creek 6/25
4:40 $0.99
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7. Criminal At Heart
4:59 $0.99
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8. As the Twig Is Bent
3:39 $0.99
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9. Before You Go
5:27 $0.99
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10. Pretending
4:17 $0.99
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11. Jefferson County, Early November
7:30 $0.99
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12. Fourth Time's the Charm
4:08 $0.99
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13. All These Ghosts
4:33 $0.99
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14. A Lot to Learn
4:34 $0.99
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15. This Is Just a Song
7:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
INTENTION is the latest solo album by Jon Macey, a veteran Boston-based singer songwriter and producer.

With co-producer Lynn Shipley, Macey has created a live-in-the-studio, mostly acoustic ensemble sound for a diverse collection of songs exploring the inner and outer realms of human dynamics.

Macey and Shipley deliberately employed compositional and arrangement techniques designed to circumvent conventional genre labels. A key element of this sound is the exclusion of a traditional rhythm section (“folk rock minus the rock”.)

Macey invited a group of his favorite musicians (none of whom had played together before) into the studio, recording the ensemble over the course of several weekend sessions. Macey and Shipley then crafted sonic elements and embellishments to the arrangements, always mindful of preserving the live-in-the-studio vibe.

Careful attention was paid to the lead vocals, recorded mostly live with the musical basic tracks. Macey and Shipley pointedly avoided the noxious modern infatuation with auto-tuning and quantizing, preferring to capture real music played by real musicians rather than digitally-achieved perfection. The intent was to illuminate the emotional integrity of the songs and performances.

Shipley recruited percussionist Bruce Demaree to create depth and texture using neo-classical and ambient percussion; he also plays traps on certain songs. Demaree’s skill and imagination at sculpting “visual” soundscapes is a critical feature in several songs. Although an accomplished bass player, Macey uses that instrument on only two songs, opting instead to record the low frequencies of his Gibson Hummingbird to fill in that space. The unique rhythms created by these two components provide the foundation for the songs.

Though Macey is known for his harmony-laden power pop compositions, he and Shipley used only female voices to accompany his lead vocals. Macey explored this approach to backing vocals on his first solo release (2003’s Actuality in Process) but it becomes a major feature on Intention. The female voices weave dreamily in and out of the mixes, sometimes answering the leads, at other times serving as a Greek chorus or a sustained tone amongst the musical instruments. The haunting strains of Clara Kebabian’s violin drift throughout several songs, reinforcing their emotional sway.

The two accompanying guitarists, Rich Lamphear and Mike Pyle, alternate on a variety of acoustic and electric guitars, supporting the bedrock of Macey’s Hummingbird. Lamphear and Pyle had not met prior to the sessions -- another Macey/Shipley “intention” neutralizing the tendency to play in pre-conceived patterns and encouraging exploration toward a sonic symmetry. When one is playing a 12-string acoustic, the other plays a clean, echoing Stratocaster; if one is playing a driving Epiphone Casino, the other is playing a Nashville-tuned Telecaster.

The result is a sophisticated suite of songs that communicate timeless emotions and perspectives. Macey has finally placed his voice front and center, inviting the listener into his world of Intention.




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Reviews


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Craig The Airplane Man

Sinister and Spellbinding as Jon Macey (Fox Pass) goes it alone!
Jon Macey “Intention”

Since the end of the 1970’s I haven’t changed my declaration and lack of excitability when it comes to musical artists from any genre unfastening their labor. There has been only a smattering of vinyl and CD releases that my ears and stomach can sanction. Jon Macey possesses the uncommonness to have satisfied an old rocker’s musical palate as part of a band and in a solitary setting.

Jon Macey is co-founder of one of the finest New England groups Fox Pass during the 1970’s. Their eclectic mix combined brilliant elements of the Beatles, underground, and Power Pop (before the term reached its embryonic stage). Fox Pass performs to this day and their last release in 2010 “Intemporel” illuminates well in any collection.

Jon’s “Intention” must have been to take the most formidable path before the CD reached fruition. Instead of seeking the comfort zone of previous successes he eyeballed another plateau on the rock and roll mountain. The fifteen tracks are outside the margins of the up-tempo 60’s and 70’s style tunes he has conceptualized during the decades of yesteryear. From the opening note to closing credits the sounds are defined by acoustic Jon or unplugged Macey.

An artist doesn’t gain endorsements for style points. A change in the compass’s direction normally spells implosion in neon. Paul Simon’s Graceland superseded greatness not because of the risk of leaving the dazzling folk-rock/singer songwriter kingdom he commanded but for the whole effect of the results.

John Macey (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, and production) with a little help from his friends, Bruce Demaree (percussion and all but the kitchen sink), Clara Kebabian (violin), Rich Lamphear (acoustic guitar), Mike Pyle (electric guitar), Tamaki Sakakibara (vocals), and Lynn Shipley (vocals and production) lead us to a comprehensive look at a mirror darkened, moldy, and cracked with memories of days hard to recapture, the agony others have caused, our own shortcomings, and reasons to persevere nevertheless.

Using influences from The Band, Bob Dylan, Joe Jackson, John Mellencamp, Willie Nile, and Graham Parker we are brought to the harshness of reality during the opening number “Trapped.” As Jon conveys the message many of us thirty and over relate to “I’m outdated”, the CD takes us on an excursion that will never be mistaken for the land of elegance.

“Pine Island” broadcasts with impeccable clarity “It's too late for a mid-life crisis, it's too soon to just close our eyes'.”

“Look Both Ways” is in the realm of the Rolling Stones “Waiting On A Friend” in structure only. Jon’s message isn’t about the impending arrival but fate, reality, and sculpturing your own story.

“Criminal At Heart” may conjure sounds of Ritchie Valens performing “La Bamba” but Jon’s proclamation is “You’re a criminal at heart, playing with emotions.”

“Jefferson County, Early November” is eerie and harrowing, still with one eye open and the other exempt from the elements we go down to the bone yard. Is it the cemetery ravaged through the years or a slang term for finding old ships that have lost the will to sail?

After the initial listening you are left gulping, wanting to comprehend all facets of the journey. Is it an episode from the “Twilight Zone” or man’s continuing appalling treatment of all things living?

The production that encompasses “Intention” is stellar. You can feel the guitar pick hitting the E string.

Few albums the past thirty-two years have made such an impact warranting endless return listens.

All the best,

Craig Fenton
Author-
Jefferson Airplane “Take Me To a Circus Tent”
Jefferson Starship “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”
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