The Bones of JR Jones at Mercury Bar

Sometime between our 3PM interview ( and the moment he took the stage Jon Linaberry transformed into The Bones of JR Jones.  Ostensibly he looked like the same sleight, thoughtful guy who spoke with us about life, music, marriage and the house he is renovating in the Catskills, but the unbridled howling bluesman on stage at the Mercury Lounge bore little resemblance to the quiet, courteous person we met hours earlier.

The facts are these – The Bones of JR Jones is a one man band playing delta blues inspired originals using a beat up guitar and a kick drum and high hat.  Playing guitar, singing and drumming simultaneously mandates both significant concentration and that the performer be seated.  So as The Bones of JR Jones, Jon Linaberry is seated and mostly closed eyed while performing and it accentuates the notion that he is channeling his powerful voice from elsewhere.

He opened his set with I See You followed by Good Friend of Mine from 2014’s Dark Was the Yearling, a track that showcases the rave up quality of his more upbeat material with slide guitar, rasping vocal and plenty of high hat it’s the sort of trompe l’oeil that would make you think there was a three piece band rocking the joint.

The sequencing of the playlist allowed TBOJRJ to play with the crowds emotions shifting between slow burners and full on paint peelers like The Heat from last year’s Spirit’s Furnace, about which one friend commented, “that’s the kind of song that makes you want to smash your beer bottle against the wall and yell at the top of your lungs.”  Short of smashing his beer bottle, The Bones of JR Jones did just that.

Demian Kendall