5 Favorite Musical Artists of Songwriter Jonah Knight

Jonah Knight plays Paranormal Modern Folk. His songs about ghosts & monsters, steampunk & super heroes have helped him gain a following among mid-Atlantic convention goers.  He is scheduled to be the Musical Guest of Honor at the inaugural Pine Hill Steampunk Festival as well
as Madicon 2013.  He was recently contracted by Mercury Retrograde Press
mercuryretrogradepress.com/ to write many songs based on their novels beginning in 2013 and running through the end of 2014.  He is currently working on his sixth album, Another Creepy Christmas, a collection of creepy holiday songs to be released in October 2012. Find out more about Jonah and listen to his music at www.jonahofthesea.com

I’m not sure how honest it is for me to say that I have five favorite musical artists. There are so
many bands that have shaped every direction I’ve turned. My decisions. My moves across the
country. My family and friends. So these are not my favorites. These are five bands that have
shaped my growth as a musician, songwriter, and performer. The more I write, the more
conventions I play, the more I see the legacy of these five.

1. Public Enemy

As a suburban, middle school, white kid, Public Enemy was the end and the beginning. Yeah, I
bought an Africa medallion from a friend and wore it with no irony. Chuck D’s pure vocal power
was built upon social awareness and an all-consuming desire to grab you by the neck and shake
some common sense into you. It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and Fear Of A
Black Planet should make the current crop of whack rhyme writers embarrassed to show their
faces at open mics. And no other band in the world is credited with forcibly establishing a holiday
like they did by getting Arizona to recognize Martin Luther King day. Remember when they
threatened to assassinate the Arizona state legislature in By The Time I Get To Arizona?

2. Counting Crows

I had been living grunge for a year or so when the album August And Everything After sent me
back to my dorm room. To bed. I spent, I think, about a week going back to my room and
stretching out on my bunk in the middle of the day, listening to this album over and over.
Generally, I don’t connect to poetry. I’d rather my songs be stories and not simply nicely rhymed
couplets. But this album is the definitive example of lyrics as poetry. I still use it as my measuring
stick for emotional honesty and vivid detail. Anna Begins is a classic.

3. The Kahoots

Never heard of these guys, have you? After graduating from the University of South Dakota, I
spent two years bumming around around Martha’s Vineyard. The Kahoots are the king band of
Cape Cod and the islands. They’ve got a tinge of that Boston-alt-indie sound inside quirky, quick
songs, but what really stayed with me was not all the fun. They taught me to constantly be
putting out new music. Ten years ago they were cranking out albums with 15-20 songs every
year. By the close of 2012 I will have released my sixth album in three years in part because
being around people that prolific is inspiring. Thanks, Kahoots. Have a Lazywinter Bash.

4. Great Big Sea

Out of the Canadian alt. Celtic scene came the insanely energetic Great Big Sea. I discovered
them while downloading music for free on one of those bad sites maybe six years ago. I was
looking for some songs about the ocean and boats and stuff and these guys blew me away. I
deleted all of their bootlegs and bought, to date, five of their albums. I am a huge fan of
non-traditional instruments in “rockin” music and these guys pull out new world sounds on each
album. Following the way they experiment has given me the confidence to pull in new sounds for
each of my albums. Try Run Runaway.

5. Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter might be my songwriting hero. Here’s a solo folkish guy from the midwest that started
off writing good songs about big empty spaces and evolved into a great writer of songs about,
heck, everything. When I was wondering if anyone cared about my songs about ghosts, he was
releasing songs like The Temptation Of Adam, a story of love in a World War III bomb shelter.

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