Like Hezekiah Jones, their community is along for the ride. Raph grew up outside of Philadelphia, where he currently resides with his wife. His parents, a hairstylist and a bookkeeper/piemaker, encouraged him to explore his craft, and he spent his early years studying piano and jazz composition. Although Raph’s music is often classified as folk or indie folk rock, he is a writer devoted to serving the songs’ impulses and inherent desires, and doesn’t feel obligated to fulfill or defy the expectations of a specific genre. Hezekiah Jones has recorded two full-length albums and two EPs with Yer Bird Records: Hezekiah Says You're A-OK (2006), Come To Our Pool Party EP (2007), Bread of Teeth EP (2009), and Have You Seen Our New Fort? (2011).
His work has also appeared on numerous compilations and side projects including a split 7" with Chris Bathgate, a collaborative full-length album with The Spinning Leaves, and a EP with The Moonlight Family Singers, and a number of (real) film soundtracks. In Loving Memory of oosi Lockjaw marks a significant departure—and expansion—in style for Hezekiah Jones--this album is the first time the live band has participated in the recording process. Up until this release, the albums were recorded layer by layer on outdated equipment in bedrooms and basements across Philadelphia. This new album, though, siphons the energy of the Joneses from the stage, a blood-on-blood transfusion that underscores oosi’s theme of a gentle, loving exorcism, a letting go of the ghosts and demons that haunt our subtler bodies.
We yearn to be as free from them as they want to be from us. The record features contributions from Pocono Jones (Brad Hinton) on guitars and vocals, Pepe Jones (Philip D'Agostino) on bass, Schuylkill Jones (Matt Helm) on guitars, Kiwi Jones (Kiley Ryan) on fiddle and vocals, Roy G. Biv Jones (Daniel Bower) on drums, and interspersed throughout is Dr. Lionel J.D.
Jones (Andrew Lipke) on whatever object was placed into his hands. Many additional guests also joined in on the noise-making, infusing the overall sound with the richness of fresh musical collaborations. Some of Philadelphia’s top engineers, including Brian McTear (Sharon Van Etten), Jim Salamone (Teddy Pendergrass), Andrew Lipke, and Matt Muir, have ensured In Loving Memory of oosi Lockjaw is the most cohesive and well-rounded of all Hezekiah Jones records to date. Upside-down guitar playing, a family band that consists of approximately 75 people, a legend of origins as a snail: there is nothing straight forward and normal about this band, although the unflashy demeanor of the group may transmit otherwise to the unattuned. As Bruce Warren, Program Director for WXPN, says, "Raph is one of the most creative, most unique, and has a real singular voice and vision for his music." Having spent many years on the road with such acts as Chris Kasper, Chris Bathgate, Good Old War, Samantha Crain and many others, Raph is itching to come out of his touring hiatus to support his own new release.
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