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Local band Jerry’s Bones brings groove, soul on debut album

Local band Jerry’s Bones recently released their debut album.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

“Bands are like a marriage,” local guitarist Cameron Matthews said. “If you don’t have commitment or compromise, it won’t work.”
Matthews is one of four members who comprise Jerry’s Bones — a former Christian band who recently released their first album, “Moving On.”
The CD’s title track, Cameron said, is just one of many positive songs on the 12-track album, which encourages listeners to stay hopeful in spite of a bad economy and other trials in life.
“There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
While they longer carry the faith-filled label that oftentimes kept them from playing in bars and other area clubs, they still consider themselves a “spiritual” group whose lyrics often point to Jesus.
“We’re just as Christian as we ever were,” Cameron said.
He and his wife Kendra, 31 and 30, formed Jerry’s Bones — named after a Bible story in the book of Jeremiah —in 2007, a year before they married.
After playing in churches and other music venues, they decided to expand upon their musical sound and band’s skill set by adding two more members. The effort took five years to complete.
Ed Williams, a 42-year-old drum player from Drexel, whom the Matthews located on BandMix.com, joined Jerry’s Bones in July 2012, the same year the then-trio secured a win at the Charlotte Music Awards for “Best Christian Band.”
His proficiency with the drums seemed instinctive and rare the moment he sat down to audition with the Matthewses.
“We knew there was something special,” Cameron said. “It kind of felt like magic.”
Ed picked up his first drumstick at the age of 3 and acquired his first Mickey Mouse drum set, he said, by the time he was 5, never once needing a lesson.
“I can’t remember learning how to play,” he said.
At the time, Ed was on another label with a different band, but due to a personal challenge the lead singer was facing, the group experienced some setbacks, prompting him to make the transition to Jerry’s Bones.
Bass player and Lincolnton resident Elliot Noto, also 31, came on board in June.
Cameron said he and Kendra found him on Craigslist.
Currently a student at Gaston College, Elliot hopes to pursue either a business management or music therapy degree and eventually transfer to a four-year university to finish his schooling, he said.
While the band has only been four-members strong since this past summer, Ed considers them a family, since they get along so well and play a show almost every weekend. He even sometimes brings his grandkids to the events, he said.
With songs written by either Cameron or Kendra, the group described their jam band sound as a mix of blues, reggae, country, Americana, jazz and other “spiritual vibes.”
“It’s like riding a wave,” Cameron said of Jerry’s Band concerts. “There’s never the same stuff (sound) the whole way through.”
Kendra agreed.
“You can’t put our music in a box,” she said. “One minute we’re playing a slow folk song and the next minute it might be a 10-minute blues jam.”
Linked by their love for Led Zeppelin, each of the members maintains their own list of inspiring musicians.
As a lead guitarist, Cameron likened himself to Eric Clapton but also pointed out his admiration for Robben Ford, also an electric guitarist, whom he said performed with Miles Davis.
Noto, on the other hand, is more drawn to 1970s bands Kiss and Aerosmith.
Kendra extolled the songwriting work of legendary icon Bob Dylan.
“He just took pen and paper anywhere he went,” she said. “His music is timeless.”
Lastly, Ed said his musical interests lined up more with the progressive rock sounds of groups like Rush and Dream Theater.
The band’s dream of opening for a well-known group — in addition to touring nationwide — was crushed earlier this year after plans to open for a Christian group, Los Lonely Boys, were cancelled following an accident on stage, in which a member of the popular, Grammy award-winning band fell off the stage and injured his neck, Cameron said.
Each of the four Jerry’s Bones members noted how without music and their role in a band, they would feel out of place
“I’m in my element when I’m on stage,” Kendra said. “Like I’m at home.”
Elliot described the music scene as a “creative outlet” for himself.
“It’s just natural,” Cameron said. “I feel like a fish out of water in everything else.”
They most enjoy watching their fans and audience-goers groove to their music.
“We like it when people get up and dance, it means we are achieving our job to spread the message of hope,” Cameron said.
In addition to bars and music festivals, the band also performs at local charity events. They once shared their music at a homeless shelter in Myrtle Beach, Cameron said.
The musicians hoped their sound would still be relevant and intriguing for music lovers in the years to come.
“We want our album to be something that lives on forever and isn’t a one-hit wonder,” Cameron said. “We want our music to last…to be another Rolling Stones or Eagles.”
Jerry’s Bones will perform Saturday at The Bathtub Gin in Mooresville. For more information on the band, visit jerrysbones.com. Individuals may purchase their album on the website, iTunes or Amazon.com.

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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