The Reno songster Jonny Rolling started out playing when he was only five, and soon after began creating distinctive-enough eclectic Hip-hop and Indie blending music.
With 'Idle Wild,' his third extended play release after two welcomed predecessor records, he forges a more vibrant and imaginative sound. His jovial, Indie-retro method borrows freely but discerningly from among a broad selection of Indie-Pop-Rock and the exciting explorations of blues past, and more modern subgenres. This record a collection of smooth vividly illuminated passion songs from a guitar enthusiast's brain and manufactured from a period of self-growth and a local record store's worth of magnetism.
The lead-in Groove-lounge capriccios of 'Idle Wild' and the Electric guitar-leading "If I Can" represents a bouncy new frontier for the songster, and though he toys with distinct characteristics of blues, he avoids compressing music's history into his compositions for pure aesthetic.
Songs like the relentlessly grooving "Get Down" sounds like a single from an exceptionally tight contemporary-funk-rock band, but "Warm In The Middle" has the ballad-energy, and anything-goes sense of wonder over rapturous guitar solos reminiscent of the early-2000s amalgamating musicology—think Citizen Cope or Donavon Frankenreiter. These mirthful top-line melodies and light, bubbly hooks could snap into position over the Spotify playlists of anyone who enjoys stylistic sonics ranging from Contemporary R&B to Modern Blues, yet remains totally and irreducibly his own, both in class and stylistic rendition of all his combined influences that from his enamoring Guitar shaped silhouette.
With electric licks and a smooth flex of his guitar's strings, 'Idle Wild' is a cohesive-minded record. If the guitars aren't jovial, its sense of groove is. Nevada plank spanking crooner has congregated his blues, rock, and smooth jazz magnetism with a savant's taste and the modern era's equal approach: every vibration is meticulously selected to serve the necessities of the moment where ever it may be—in the ripping transitional solos or the tantalizingly addictive melodies in each verse.
With a killer swinging-tempo verse and lightheaded twinklings over the guitar, the exceptionally affecting "Dopamine" sounds like a serenading song from the playbook of someone like Hendrix, by way of his synergistic croons over his melodizing guitar howls—a highlight on this record. "Trü" sets origins in Soul music and Blues-Alt-Rock, as it persuades in a Citizen Cope reminiscent way.
This artist's foundation shows up all this Extended Play, especially on this closing track that features an Emcee-like breakdown where Jonny goes off on a fervent stanza. And though it anchors his music nicely in the end, 'Idle Wild' is more like the musical approbations from a songwriting prodigy who dips his creative toes in all things modern blues and guitar-heavy.
There is no cliché here, just some enthralling blues-guitars, a distinctive vibey texture, and a cohesive display of musicianship from the Reno-based songster himself.
Hello Jonny, it's great to have you at BuzzMusic. How did your experience of creating this record compare some of your past Extended Plays?
This was easily the most capable I’ve been in making a record in almost every regard. A good part of that is due to the musicians I worked with while making it: my buddies Matt Badd and Mac Esposito played drums and bass respectively, and they’re two of the best musicians I know. Working with them brought me up to a level of musicality I’ve never hit before. I finally made that jump from having to play a part dozens of times to only needing a handful of takes because it was so well-practiced and ready. There are real energy and vibe to playing something like it’s the first time it’s ever existed even though you’ve spent hours practicing it over and over. I was also very fortunate to have my cousin Adam Topol do some percussion on the record, which really got it over the finish line arrangement wise. Overall its some of the best writing, playing, and recording I’ve ever done with some of the best people I’ve ever worked with.
What did you feel was most essential for you to highlight differently on Idle Wild compared to say something like Sugar Human from 2018?
'Idle Wild' is kind of a step forward and backward for me at the same time in that I got to highlight raw musicianship and songwriting more than I ever have while also approaching the project with a more traditionalist production style than anything else I’ve released. Although I love the production style of Sugar Human and want to return to more modern “in the box” stuff like that in the future, I’ve always been drawn to old school band records and that kind of record making - the kind that’s just really good musicians playing actualized arrangements of well-written songs (to pat myself on the back a bit). As that kind of producer, you just wanna put mics at the right level in front of people who know what they’re doing and then get out of the way as much as possible. It’s a bit trickier when they’re your songs and you’re doing your thing over them, but I think I got what I needed to out. Idle Wild definitely narrates an era of my life and it’s cool to be able to listen to where I was when I was making it.
What's been a source of constant and reliable creative inspiration for you during these uncertain transitional times?
Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and my ex-girlfriend. I think the whole world got a big ego check and reality reset in the last few months, and I was definitely on both the top and bottom of that wave. But I’ve discovered the blues and guitar in a way a happy non-pandemic-life me probably never would have. It’s definitely been a blessing to be able to get lost in playing for hours every day. I’ve gotten to push myself and I’m excited to see where I head with my new chops.
With August coming to an end and fall just around the corner, have you found yourself thinking more diligently about some of the directions and milestones you'll be aiming for in 2021?
Definitely been making moves for the future - I’ve been working on a new album, got a new place to live, and am congealing with a day job and life routine that’s the most balanced and healthy I’ve ever had. I got to live out my manic Hollywood fever dream finishing Idle Wild, and now I’m just focused on being content at the moment while also growing for the future. If you’re happy with your day to day life you don’t have to “make it” to be successful. At the same time I’m definitely gonna melt some people’s faces off when live shows are a thing again, so keep an eye for me in 2021.
What are you doing to stay inspired throughout these difficult times?
Really just listening as much as I can. I feel like there are some years you wanna say a lot and some years you just gotta absorb what the world and universe are trying to tell you, and 2020 has definitely been that kind of year for me. I’ve made a lot of adjustments in the fundamental ways I approach the world and I think it was absolutely necessary in order for me to reach the goals I ultimately wanna reach. Until then I’m just trying to be disciplined with my daily routines and how they correlate to the things that are the most important to me - family, friends, music, and taking care of myself. Inspiration finds you when it finds you, so I try to be ready for it when it does. Other than that it’s just about doing the work.