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J.S. Ondara – Tales Of America

July 17, 2019

I became aware of J. S. Ondara because of the Kenyan’s Minnesota connection. He came to Minnesota to find the muse of Bob Dylan. He was twenty and not even a serious musician. He dove in headfirst and six years later he has a major label LP release. I won’t even try to recap the story – it is better told other places. But if it was fiction, it would be preposterous.

The album is gorgeous, Ondara has a high ethereal voice. The instrumentation is subtle: Ondara on acoustic guitar and some songs have additional acoustic instruments and harmony vocals. These additions are provided by some heavy hitters: Andrew Bird, some of the guys from Dawes and producer Mike Viola (Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, Mandy Moore, etc.). Viola’s light touch production is perfect.

The songs are pop-folk with great hooks, think of a contemporary Simon and Garfunkel. This is an amazing debut, it is confident and mature. It completely contradicts the narrative of Ondara’s biography.


From → Music Reviews

  1. You have caught my attention and your track record with make me give this a go.

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