|L-R Matt Musso, Jonah Smith, Evan O'Brien, & Gus Baldwin are Plowboy|
Friday, May 27, 2011
‘Rebel’ Rod’s Revelations - Plowboy – Deceivingly mature far beyond their years -
By ‘Rebel’ Rod Ames
I was at Lazy Days Canteen the other evening to witness Marc Benno and band when I ran into friend, and fellow music lover and professional photographer, Tony Gallucci. It was before the show and we were shootin’ the breeze.
He said he was there for perhaps the first set, as he had to travel to Dallas early the next morning to do a shoot of a 13 year old named Jonah Smith who apparently has channeled Jim Morrison (yeah right). Tony had obtained permission from the young man’s parents to come up and do a shoot of their band, Plowboy.
At first, I had my doubts, but never the less, asked Tony to send me a link so I could check this young man out. If this kid was as good as Tony was claiming, I had to see it, if for no other reason than to witness some good “child rearing” in action.
Let me explain something - I can’t get my 17 year old to listen to anything other than rap or hip-hop. That’s fine. That’s what is hot now in his teenaged sports saturated world. He’s a jock, what can I say.
I was the artsy-fartsy kid. I was not a nerd, even though I could have passed for one at certain awkward stages of my life, but I did love music and art. I’ve always been able to draw and was immediately drawn to music, thanks at least in part to my Grandfather.
I’d sit in the floor in front of his Hi-Fi (dating myself here) and listen to tons of his Dixie-land jazz records. At age 10 or 11 I knew artists like Jack Teagarden, Al Hurt, Louis Armstrong and many others.
When he and my Grandmother would drive down from Oklahoma City to visit us in Dallas, where I grew up, he would come into my room where we would lay in my bedroom floor for hours, as I would turn him on to Chicago, Pacific Gas & Electric, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors, way too many to list. Even though he may not have enjoyed the music I listened too, he enjoyed observing my reverent love for music. I believe he enjoyed seeing a little of himself in me. I can dig that today.
As far as my son is concerned, I can dig where he’s coming from today. He hears all the different types of music I play. He can’t help it. It’s almost constantly emitting from speakers strategically located around the house. His horizons will be expanded later on. It’s inevitable.
He has been listening to great music all of his life. It’s what I do and I’m quite sure the seed has been planted deeply into the right side of his brain. After all, at age 7 or 8 he knew all of the lyrics to several Doug Sahm tunes and could have performed the Gene Kelley parts to “Singing in the Rain” by age 8 or 9. Now that’s versatility to the nth degree!
However, he discovered basketball and that was that. The really cool thing, is he has as much passion for basketball as I do for music. So what if his passion isn’t directed at the arts. He at least is passionate about something, and I’ve learned way more about basketball than I ever thought I would ever know about any sport. In fact, it has become my favorite sport. I love it as much as he does but from the bleachers. So we share passion if nothing else.
Therefore, to be able to witness kids not much younger than my own son not only loving rock ‘n roll, but also performing it was something I had to see. I miss those days when my eight year old would sing tunes like Doug Sahm’s “Houston Chicks” with me. So maybe, just maybe, I could live vicariously and virtually through these four lads, if they were as good as I was hearing.
They are as good as I was hearing! Way better than I could have ever expected from adults let alone four 12 and 13 year olds. At a risk of sounding terribly cliché, these kids can freakin’ rock!
I followed one of the links that Tony had forwarded to me. It was an official video to one of their original tunes, ”Illusions”. Yes, they write some of their own stuff along with performing covers of songs from the likes of The Doors and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (one of my favorite bands).
Plowboy is the self-proclaimed Anti-Disney Channel Band, which would be an incredible name for a band except for all the lawsuits the Disney execs would send hurling their way. Never the less, you can close your eyes. If you did not know any better, you would swear these were 25 or 30 year old musicians in the studio performing the tune. Then, you open your eyes, and there they are - Plowboy aged 12 and 13 playing their young hearts out.
Jonah Smith is the front man and his stage presence is amazing! I asked his Father, Jon Paul Smith, about an on air interview with the band on my radio show, and he said, “They don’t really interview well, but how about if we come to you and play a couple tunes on your show? They look great and play like the dickens!”
That may be the understatement of the year. These guys have a maturity about their sound that is incredibly deceiving.
I’m a lover of the blues, and rock ‘n roll is definitely a first-cousin to the blues. I have always felt to play this kind of music one would have had to have gone through some life crisis to be able to feel the music to obtain this level of maturity. Now I know I either have always been wrong about this theory, or Plowboy have been possessed by the rock ‘n roll gods or they have been exposed to some great music in their short lives. I tend to believe it’s the latter. It’s simply been some damn good child rearing!
Plowboy is front man, Jonah Smith (vocals, guitar), Evan O’Brien (lead guitar), Gus Baldwin (bass), and Matt Musso (drums). I’ve read several articles on the boys, one in particular said something about them perhaps never achieving radishness, or something to that effect. I must disagree. They are definitely “rad” if that terminology is still in use, it should definitely apply to Plowboy!
We, Tony and I (mostly Tony) are working on getting this band down here in the Hill Country for a weekend gig in the very near future. I hope to either do a remote broadcast during their gig, or at the very least, have them on my show for a live acoustic mini-set. Stay tuned! However, in the mean time enjoy this fine video shot by friend Tony Gallucci! Right on man, fantastic video!