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Joining us for a live in studio performance was Jon Herington. Though primarily known as a sideman on albums and tours for artists including Steely Dan, Madeleine Peyroux, and currently The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue, Herington has also made a name for himself as a solo musician. Performing without the other two members that round out the trio that is the Jon Herington Band, Herington treated WERS listeners to a few selections from his new album, Time On My Hands.
“Runnin’ Out of Time” kicked off the set by showcasing Herington’s songwriting instead of the guitar chops that he’s better known for. That’s not to say that songwriting is an afterthought – Herington proved to be just as capable of dropping a sly turn of phrase as he is at creating a bluesy, catchy riff. Of course, that’s only when he has the time to actually sit down and write, which he admits is sometimes hard to come by. Describing his career as a “double life,” he said that it can get to a point where he has to go so far as to schedule time apart from all his other touring to work on his own music. Despite these “interruptions” in his own creative process, he conceded that touring with such hugely critically and commercially successful acts isn’t such a bad gig.
Next, Herington played a stripped down version of “Sweet Ginny Rose.” He described the album version as a “Bo Diddley raga,” but without his full band, the song leaned a little more towards Bo and a little bit away from the Eastern influences. It would be difficult to imagine that too much was lost, though, since what he played sounded pretty complete. He was really able to exhibit his prowess on guitar during this track as the blues form eventually gave way to some great riffing. He closed out his set with the perhaps even more Diddley-like “Caroline Yes.” Herington’s influences were never more apparent than on this track, which had a definite blues feel to it. The guitar part on this was also a highlight. The trailing line that he played at the end of every phrase in the verse pushed the song forward until it had built into a well-earned solo.
Herington sure seems to relish the moments when he can step out in front of the band himself. He said that it’s a lot different and a lot more to think about than when he is doing work as a sideman and just has to focus on guitar. Not that any of that bothers him – on singing, he said that it’s really “just more fun than anything else.” That’s probably the best way to describe Herington’s solo work. Listening to this session as well as the album that these songs came from, you can’t help but get the feeling that everyone involved is having fun. Jon Herington is successfully leading a musical double life, and having a great time doing it.