Jonathan Tyler with special guest Jeremy Pinnell
“Rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and country are the same thing, just wearing different clothes.”
To define Jonathan Tyler’s music would be doing it a disservice. To call it blues would be betraying the uplifting joy of tunes like “Underground Forever” or “California Sunshine.” To call it rock ‘n’ roll wouldn’t do justice to the burning meditation of songs like “Late Night Special” or “Hey Mama, My Time Ain’t Long.” To call it country would be neglecting the sound and fury of “Mister Resistor” or the time-traveling catharsis of “Everything Was Cool in 2002.” Jonathan Tyler’s music defies expectation or sonic categorization – his music is the purest expression of everything you feel but don’t know how to express. It’s as friendly as a neighborhood saloon, as pensive as a highway to Paris, Texas, as peaceful as the waters flowing through the Pecos river to the sea, and as grand and evocative as the endless blue skies of the American west.
If there’s a single label that might be able to wrangle Tyler’s universal soul, it’s Gram Parson’s iconic classification of his own style: “Cosmic American Music.”
A Texan since childhood, Jonathan Tyler has grown up enamored with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll – and its ancestors. In 2007 he formed Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, who released their debut full-length album Hot Trottin’ to widespread acclaim. At the 2009 Dallas Observer Music Awards, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights walked away with “Best Group,” “Best Blues Act,” and “Best Male Vocalist.” Tyler would go on to win the latter award again the following year. The band was promptly signed to F-Stop/Atlantic Records and released Pardon Me in 2010, leading to television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Gordon Keith Show, as well as tours supporting ZZ Top, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Black Crowes, and appearances at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and Austin City Limits. In 2015, he released his debut solo album Holy Smokes – a genre-bending opus celebrating perseverance in the face of life’s twists and turns.
Along the way, he’s mastered the art of the sounds between the sounds – honing his role behind the boards as a producer for Nikki Lane, Desure, Jeff Crosby and others. At the moment he’s working on a follow-up to Holy Smokes, featuring hit singles like “Old Friend,” “Underground Forever,” and “Hustlin.”