Review : Jon McLaughlin - Indiana
AntimusicAnother member of the latest crop of pop rocking piano players is Anderson, Indiana's Jon McLaughlin - America's answer to British sensation Jamie Cullum. McLaughlin's album shows that there is more to rock and roll than guitar licks with its emphasis on piano and drums.
McLaughlin - like all the McLaughlin children - began piano at an early age but an accident that injured both his wrists and a temporary loss of interest sidelined Jon for a while. After high school Jon attended the local music college and rekindled his musical interest. He sites piano playing greats Billy Joel and Sir Elton John among his musical influences.
The 13 track on McLaughlin's new album "Indiana" reflects his classical piano training. His writing and playing abilities shine on the album's title track; a song that features Jon's voice, his piano, and a cello. Even on a fast paced rocking tune like "Anthem for American Teenagers" Jon's beautiful piano melodies and talents shine through....full text
AlternativeaddictionSo for males ages 20-30 it’s going to be hard to be a fan of this guy. Mostly it’s because the girls are crazy over him. Proof of that is in an upcoming placement that McLaughlin has on the new Lindsey Lohan movie. But on the other side of that argument, it’s hard not to be a fan of music like this. Jon McLaughlin’s “Indiana” isn’t musically genius because it’s completely different from anything else right now, nor is McLaughlin. You see, with pop music there’s a completely different layer of genius. Crafting a quality pop song is a difficult task. It has to be balanced but it also has to have a certain amount of catchiness in it as well. On McLaughlin’s “Indiana”(written by McLaughlin) there’s a perfect blend of pop not only from McLaughlin but from some of the songwriters he worked with on the album. And when that pop is meshed with McLaughlin’s classical piano training, some incredible songs are produced. Take the first song up on the album, “Industry.” McLaughlin’s piano soars out of your speakers and his voice pores into your ears. On “Industry” McLaughlin’s piano carries the real hook in the song while his voice creates the balance. It’s a slight reverse of what usually happens, but he can switch that up just as easy. Take track 6 “Human” (co-written with Kevin Griffin of Better than Ezra) McLaughlin’s voice carries the hook and the piano keeps the song balanced. The song writing on this album is amazing. Not only the songs that McLaughlin collaborated with some genius song writers on, but the songs he wrote himself. McLaughlin’s talent is real. There are a lot of guys out there with his traits, but not a lot of guys out there with his skills. Kudos goes to Island for seeing that. It doesn’t take much to find a unique talent and let it run its course. But it does take a lot to find a talent and let it develop. I think this is just the beginning for a long line of great things you’ll see from McLaughlin. He’s got the classical background like John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, he’s got the pure talent of Josh Kelley and he’s got soul like Marc Broussard. Look for more from this singer/songwriter....full text
ThefishThings are off to a strong start for 24-year-old singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin from Anderson, Indiana. After opening for the likes of O.A.R., Live, and Marc Broussard, his debut album (named for his home state) released to the mainstream last May. Plus, three of his songs have already appeared on soundtracks for the films Bridge to Terabithia, Georgia Rules, and Disney's upcoming Enchanted. He also happens to be a Christian, which is why Indiana is now releasing to the Christian market as well.
Much like his friend and tour mate Matt Wertz, McLaughlin offers subtle expressions of faith, but they still inform his broad spectrum of songwriting. "Industry" is essentially his prayer to remain faithful while working in the music biz ("This is me on my knees singing take it all from me"), and "Praying to the Wrong God" similarly wrestles with making an idol of temptation.
The relatively sophisticated sounding "Anthem for American Teenagers" shares McLaughlin's heart for missions while challenging a new generation to change the world. "Beautiful Disaster" is yet another song about self-image, while "Just Give It Time" offers a generic word of encouragement. But "Human" touches on how we all fall short of the mark and "People" hints at our need for hope and grace. Though Indiana has its share of love songs—including "Perfect," written specifically to McLaughlin's wife—"Until You Got Love" resembles 1 Corinthians 13 in tone.
All of this is delivered with impressive piano pop reminiscent of Ben Folds and Gabe Dixon crossed with Scott Krippayne and Mark Schultz—the piano runs in "People" and "Industry" would impress even Bruce Hornsby. It's a nice alternative to all the Jack Johnson and John Mayer copycats out there. Though some of the pop songs are as predictable as average Christian adult contemporary, the strong production values by Greg Wells (Rufus Wainwright, Natasha Bedingfield) and Jamie Houston (Jessica Simpson, Macy Gray) helps elevate it. McLaughlin's considerable skills shine, enough so to make you glad that he's using his talents to reach a broader audience....full text
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