Captivating Vocals Meet Heartfelt Lyrics| Posted November 25, 2016
Singer/songwriter Jon Guerra made his first impression on the CCM world with his label debut EP Glass in mid 2014. As listeners were immediately captivated by his soulful, uniquely compelling voice and thought-provoking, heartfelt lyrics, Jon quickly became a new artist to watch. His spot a year later on the Rock & Worship Roadshow Tour introduced him to crowds of people who couldn't help but be attracted to the beautiful harmonies he and his wife Valerie belted out during his set.
While the rest of his discography offers what you may expect from an artist (a Christmas record, a full-length album, contributions to a major church's worship projects with Vertical Church Band), Jon also has something there that stands out: Working Demos I & II. In a day where it's uncommon for an artist to release their unpolished demos, much less several EPs of them, Jon is gladly embracing the vulnerability and moving forward with hopeful belief in these songs.
"A couple months ago, I found myself in a bind. The songs I'd been writing didn't seem to fit easily in the genre in which I'm embedded," Jon explained. "One song didn't have a chorus, another had some quirky chords, and one song featured a prismizer. They were different, but I wasn't ready to let them go... You probably won't hear these songs on Christian radio, but my hope is that they will still reach you where and when you may need encouragement."
Jon's vocals demand your attention at first listen, which is why it makes absolute sense that it's the very first thing you hear when you turn on this album. With hopefulness resonating in his voice, "The Cure" is the standout moment on this EP right out of the gate: "Help me / I'm sick and tired of myself / locked inside of my shell / could You unlock the door / aching for acceptance, bracing for rejecting / I know there's a cure / You say I am Yours," the vulnerable chorus sings out. An example of the introspective songwriting that often comes with a Jon Guerra album, "All The Way Home" is a powerful lyrical reminder of God's faithfulness through all of life.
"All Yours" has an intriguing sound, featuring Valerie's beautiful vocals on the bridge and creating a moment that keeps your attention to the last note. Acoustic "No Strings Attached" is aided in instrumentation by a banjo and violin, giving it a folky feeling that you can't help but be captivated by. Closing out the EP, "Would You Take It From Me" displays how Jon's effortlessly alluring voice can make even the simplest of melodies sound huge, reminiscent of the way Phil Wickham's voice fills a stadium with incredible power even when the song is undemanding.
The Bottom Line:Working Demos II is overflowing with brilliant melodies and deep lyricism, but the project is made whole by Jon's distinctive voice that fills every track with personality and emotion. The songs feel genuine and heartfelt, breathing a refreshing air into a genre that sometimes feels overproduced. While we look forward to Jon's next full-length project, these demos do a great job of holding us while we wait.
Song To Download Now:
"The Cure" (Get it on bandcamp here.)