If Trent Reznor were to endeavor to make a ‘pop’ record in the style of Paul Westerberg, the result might be an album that sounds something like The Other Side Of Midnight, from multi-instrumentalist wunderkind, Jonny Polonsky. Though he is hardly a kid anymore, Jonny’s professional journey is one of the more fascinating True Stories in the music business. He was signed to Rick Ruben’s American Recordings at 21, and his debut album, Hi My Name in Jonny released in 1996, became the most-well-reviewed album of that year (yes, that is a thing). Two decades later, Jonny continues to record and release his own original material, while writing songs for, touring with, and recording with artists as diverse as Frank Black, Neil Diamond, Reeves Gabrels of David Bowie’s Tin Machine, Pusicfer, The Dixie Chicks, and he also played on posthumous releases from Johnny Cash. Wow, Jonny Polonsky is amazing!
The Other Side of Midnight is a couple of years old now, but I just discovered this crazy-stylish video for the track “Lay Down Your Arms” last week, when Jonny sent me the link, and I think it shows a Beatles-esque growth curve not only in his sound and but also his rock persona, and so it deserves some love from the Gig. The video’s desert setting is the perfect place for this song that tells the tale of a long dead love affair from which both sides are still seeking an armistice with regard to what went down, and what needs to happen in order to move forward. Have most of us been there? I think so. Try not to fall in love with Jonny’s aching, emotionally-rich vocal delivery over a seductive, tribal beat, languid flow and a killer ’80s-reminiscent keyboard hook that is sharp enough to draw blood. I dare you.
The Other Side of Midnight (available on iTunes) was written, produced and recorded entirely by Jonny, and then mixed at David Lynch’s Asymmetrical Studios by Lynch’s longtime Collaborator/Engineer, Dean Hurley (Twin Peaks). Enjoy!