Local musician to play Alive Festival

Kelly Petryszyn

New artist Jason Bonham said music is built in us. Throughout your life, “every single person you meet will always enjoy a type of music,” he said.

Jason Bonham is a new artist on the local music scene who recently moved to Kent from Boston. He plays a mixture of genres including folk, pop, gospel and rock.

Of folk, he said he enjoys the raw aspect of it and the “ability to get deeper into the lyrics like poetry.” Of pop, he said he likes how it speaks to a large audience. Of gospel and rock, he said he loves making music people can move to. He likes that his music gets people to dance.

Bonham released his first CD, I Just Wanted You to Know, in 2006. He worked on his CD with critically acclaimed Christian/Indie artist Ryan Wilkins. Bonham said he “pulled out the best part of me.” The CD included the singles “Crazy Train,” “I Just Wanted You to Know” and “Stand By.”

The first song on his CD was inspired by a 16-year-old girl named Lillian he met when he was in Uganda with Invisible Children. Despite the war that was going on around her, the girl smiled because she had faith. Lillian made Bonham rethink the things he was chasing in life.

His influence growing up was the Dave Matthews Band. Now he is into more folk music like Damien Rice. He said the majority of his music is mainstream with a bit of Christian seasoning to it. He describes his music as “emotive.” Bonham writes lyrics that make people believe what he sings about.

“I love doing something that moves me,” he said. “My favorite thing is sitting in my room and writing.”

Bonham writes his songs and plays the guitar, while dabbling on other instruments. He enjoys that he can use songwriting for something more.

“I feel like it is my escape from the heartache of life,” he said.

He grew up around music in the church and stuck to it. He likes how it is a form of expression and art.

“It is the universal language to express what you’re feeling,” he said. He adds that when you’re making music it doesn’t matter what other people think.

Bonham is currently working on his next album to be released this fall. He is working again with Wilkins. He describes his new album as raw and real.

“It is not written to appeal to the masses, but it is written to express my heart,” Bonham said.

All the songs for his new album are already written. Now he is in the studio. The new album will have “a grassroots soul, (and) evolve into folk and indie,” Bonham said.

In addition, he said there are pop melodies as well.

Aside from working on his album this summer, Bonham will be playing various shows in the Kent and Akron area that are to be announced. Bonham is playing the Alive Festival in Canal Fulton this summer on June 18.

Bonham enjoys seeing the impact music has on people.

“It is cool to see the influence you have on people when music is done well,” he said.

Contact all reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].