Jon Worthy’s EP Unconventional is a guitar-driven, reverb-laced collection of singer/songwriter tunes about traveling and being lost.
Opening track “Down the Road” starts with upbeat chords, an old fashioned guitar echo (think a Morricone western guitar sound), and when Worthy’s voice comes in it’s covered in reverb and very far back in the mix. The production quality is fairly high; Worthy’s guitar sounds great, the drums are clear, but the bass is a little burpy.
Track #2 “Can You See Me Now” has a similar style, with lots of reverb and a fingerpicked electric guitar. The guitar part is repetitive to the point of annoyance and Worthy’s voice is so far back in the mix it’s hard to hear what he’s singing.
Final track “I’m So Lost” has vocals closer up in the mix, which flatters Worthy’s bluesy melody. Lyrically, the song is a little trite; the idea of being lost, traveling on a bus down to Tennessee, and being unable to find one’s way has been expressed once or twice before. Perhaps Worthy is lost because he apparently only knows two chords. Try a IV chord, Jon! This song does, however, build, and the guitar solo at the end, while still literally only playing the tonic and sixth, plays them twice as quickly!
I know I’m being an asshole, but this album kind of got on my nerves. Since I have the opportunity to get preachy, I just want to bitch for a while about modern music; it seems like the only important thing these days is attitude. Worthy’s album definitely has a mood – the reverb and all the space around his voice is like Bon Iver, and the cliché of the lost singer/songwriter has a certain saccharine charm to it. But these songs have nothing original. The lyrics are trite, the chords are boring, the melodies are basic, and the title is so off the mark it has to be ironic.
Worthy is obviously a capable songwriter. His playing, while simple to the point of ennui, is perfectly in time, and his voice has a yearning quality I would love to hear more of. I would just want to hear him trying some more original ideas, exploring his fretboard, ditching the “lost” theme, and continuing to use his plaintive and emotional voice more upfront in the mix.
1. Down The Road
2. Can You See Me Now
3. I'm So Lost
5. Young and Free