Jonah Matranga has worn many hats in his musical career: He’s the former frontman for groups Far, Gratitude and New End Original, and he’s also recorded solo under the moniker Onelinedrawing. I own just about everything he’s done (Far’s Water and Solutions probably cracks an all-time top 20), including his latest CD/DVD compilation There’s A Lot In Here.
Matranga finds creative and surprising ways to reinvent himself, so I shouldn’t be surprised by his newest project: a split 12″ with Frank Turner (formerly of Million Dead), a transatlantic collaboration with each artist covering two songs. Matranga takes on U.K. writers: Billy Bragg’s great A New England and Babybird’s All I Want; Frank Turner, of the U.K., returns the favor with renditions of the Lemonheads’ The Outdoor Type and the American standard You Are My Sunshine.
The timing of this is particularly eerie because I just found Bragg’s Life’s a Riot With Spy vs. Spy, which includes A New England, on vinyl about a week ago. Anyway, Matranga’s rendition, with his soft voice (sans English accent, of course), is a little slower and more delicate than its original. He also takes a little poetic license with the translation: “I love the words you wrote to me, but that was bloody yesterday” becomes “I love the words you wrote to me, but that was fucking yesterday.” All in all, a gracious cover of an artist deserving of the attention.
Pick up the 12″ at Welcome Home Records.
Jonah Matranga | A New England (Billy Bragg cover)
Lupe Fiasco/Jonah Matranga “Never Lies”
Jonah Matranga live CD/DVD “There’s a Lot In Here”
(w/comment from Jonah himself)
Billy Bragg on KEXP from SXSW