Jonnie and Joy – Running Home (EP)
If there’s one thing you can say for Jonnie & Joy, it’s that this female duo refuses to be pigeonholed. The variety of sounds their music encompasses could be described as “full-spectrum”, to say the least, blurring the lines between 1970s classic rock and 1980s power pop, country ballads and modern-day alternative. Their multifaceted sound is fully on display with their latest release, the six-track “Running Home EP”.
The opening track has hints of 1990s grunge—yet another sound in the offering of Jonnie & Joy. Yet amid the slow, deliberate drum beat, they manage to incorporate the smooth sounds of a saxophone, and for this particular song, it surprisingly works. Granted, it’s fairly instrumental for an opening track, but it definitely will grab the listener by the ears and make them pay attention to the rest of the album. “I wake up hoping that it’s still yesterday,” the band croons as the aforementioned sax makes its entrance, a perfect complement to a reminiscent lyric.
If the first song reflected on the love of the past, the second reveals a present-day battle of a love that’s on the line. “Hold Tight” picks up the pace, with a late-70s sound tinged with shades of Joan Jett. “Hold tight, put up a fight. We’re gonna make it through the night,” the band sings, intent on the end-goal. What happens after the night’s over is anybody’s guess, but as long as they can hold on until after sunrise, the rest is irrelevant.
On “Lost Soul,” the EP’s third track, the fast pace is continued, but there is a more long-term optimism to this song. The instrumentation is more straightforward, the volume is dialed down just a bit, and as the band sings, “I’m an old soul, taking it day by day,” there is a sense of resigned optimism to the words. The singer knows who she is and seemingly knows what she’s destined for, and she’s content to keep plugging onward for the foreseeable future. “Never Gonna Cry” flips the script of the opening track, “Can You Hear Me,” on its head. The band sings, “I can’t spend my life being treated this way,” making the wise decision to end a tumultuous relationship. Even so, the song has sad tinges, as the tempo is slowed down a bit and there are hard electric guitar chords to let you know that even though this decision to leave the relationship is the smart, practical one, it’s not going to be easy—and it never would have been.
“Night Stalker” is tinged with Yes-era keys, and those signature power chords. There is an air of confusion to this song—perhaps a nod to the “darkness” of it, with it obviously taking on a nighttime mood—and what’s to happen is anybody’s guess. This song transitions nicely into the album’s final track, “Running Home,” easily the most cocky and southern-rooted track on the album. The singer has finally decided to return to their roots, and as some hard electric chords play, in conjunction with some Lyrnyrd Skynyrd progressions, the band knows it’s time to return to their original destination: home.
Instead of coming out like a sloppy, grey mess, Jonnie & Joy have taken a chance on this EP with its vast array of sounds, and it has paid off. There’s something for everyone on this album, and it just might bring people of all walks of musical life together.