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Vine to Vine

Wonderful advice from one of my heroes Derek Sivers.  - http://sivers.org/tarzan

Jumping from vine to vine is a little less scary than leaping off a sheer cliff.

Transient

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INSPIRED - FAN ART!

This is amazing! Check out a fan’s painting inspired by “Makes Me Better.”

Photography Prints

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/-makes-me-better-sue-mcelligott.html

 

I met this talented artist Sue McElligott online through Google+ and we’ve kept up a dialogue since. The moment I heard she had some new work inspired by some of my music I just had to check it out. Beautiful!!

 

It looks like the original is still up for grabs. Is someone going to beat me to the punch?

 

You can download two different versions of “Makes Me Better” for FREE by clicking the link.http://jonlevymusic.com/music/

 

All I ask in return is that you subscribe to the mailing list, or “Like” the Facebook page, subscribe on Youtube, follow on Twitter…you get the idea 

Photography Prints

“City Blocks” and “Sudden Doors” are just two of my favourites from Sue’s body of work. You can support her by purchasing originals or prints, or sharing the link with your friends. Explore the rest of her work here http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sue-mcelligott.html

Photography Prints

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VIDEO: JUST GIVE ME A REASON - PINK & NATE RUESS COVER

It’s the last week in March 2013, when me, my guitar, and a few other travellers are lifted up off the tarmac at KIX. A connecting flight in Singapore and some 20-odd flight hours later, I finally find myself on NZ soil. I shoot off a Tweet to an internet friend, one of whom I’ve never met in person – “Wanna meet up?” A day later I’m waiting at a cafe with my brother for said internet friend. A delicious cup of coffee later, the three of us are scouting Browns Bay beach for a not-too-sunny, not-too-busy, way-picturesque-looking spot to set up and play some music.

 

This is a cool story. 

 

It was on YouTube sometime last year that I first stumbled upon singer-songwriter Sayulee and her half Kiwi-ness, both are attributes we have in common! She was in the middle of her 365 project; a song uploaded every day for an entire year. Respect! I immediately jumped at the opportunity to connect with a fellow half-Kiwi musician in Japan and so begins a handful of back-and-forth Tweets. Unfortunately we were unable to meet in person while in Japan. But wait, things were now coming together. I’m staying in Long Bay on the North shore for three days. Sayulee is in Browns Bay where she grew up. These bays are a five minute drive from each other. Our trips to New Zealand have overlapped and we are finally able to tear down the barriers of the internet and meet over a cuppa, better yet; sing together. Isn’t it grand?

 

Big thanks to Daniel Levy for tagging along for the afternoon and lending us his cinematic vision.

 

Also, in case you missed it, Sayulee has a Talkshow Thursday segment on her channel. Having just finished a song to upload, Sayulee asked me to stick around for a little while longer and have a chat. With a few minutes to spare on the parking meter I graciously accepted. Check it out below!

 

Please share, like, subscribe, leave a comment below, tell your friends out on the internet waves, to help with some love toward these two indie artists. Cheers! 

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VIDEO: WON'T BACK DOWN - TOM PETTY COVER

“Won’t Back Down ” is one of my favorite Tom Petty tunes. I love the driving acoustic guitar feel on the original recording,  it’s so feel-good and care-free. I think that’s the thing I love most about Tom Petty tunes. I don’t know his catalogue all too well, but the few I do know (the big hits), are perfect driving-down-an-open-road-blasting-the-radio songs. Kind of…I mean exactly like this. Go Tom Cruise.
 

Go Jerry Maguire, go. And for those with a darker sense of humour and a love for YouTube mashups…

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QUOTE: FRANK ZAPPA

“Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.” – Frank Zappa

I love this. Wonderfully simple and ridiculously true.

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CURRENTLY LISTENING: VILLAGERS

I stumbled upon this guy just the other day. I may be pretty late in the game with getting to know his work, but better late than never.

I love how delicate and simple this song is, not to mention the performance. I took one listen to that guitar part and melody line and was hooked. Well played sir.

And here’s what the album sounds like.

 

You can find Villagers album on iTunes here, Spotify here, and the brains behind it all, Conor J. O’Brien, on Twitter here“The Meaning Of The Ritual” is one of my other favorites. Fantastic arrangement.

As a musician I have a love/hate relationship with Spotify. I’ll find another time to rant about that on the blog…

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GOOGLE+ STREAMING ANNOUNCEMENT!!

I’ll be joining one of my internet friends Billy Wilson, on his hour long “On Air Google Plus Variety Show” tomorrow/today (Friday at 10:00pm ET(NYC) 7:00pm PT(LA) 11:00am JST(Japan)) to talk a bit and play a couple of songs! I’ve been on Billy’s show once before, and it was a blast chatting up a storm with new friends and being able to play some of my tunes at the end of the show. If you can’t tune in for the whole show (it will be very interesting and amusing I’m sure,) then be sure to tune in at 45 minutes past the hour where I sneak in 2-3 of my original tunes.  I’ll be playing at least one new tune so be sure to swing by!!


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PHOTO: SIMPLE & SWEET

I’m up in Tokyo shooting some video for an upcoming project from Kris Roche that you will be seeing very soon! Had a great cup of coffee in a Brooklyn-esque cafe in Shimokitazawa. I often forget that I’m not in NYC when I come across some of these hip Japanese cafés.

Taken on an iPhone 4 with VSCOcam, my favorite app.

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PHOTO: BLUE HOUR

Just snapped this on my iPhone with the help of the VSCO CAM app. This is the mountain that borders Kyoto and Shiga prefecture. I’ve known this mountain my whole life. It never gets old. On a side note, this VSCO app is becoming my favorite. Such cool tones.

 

Jon

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MIDOSUJI FESTA – PHOTOS

Had a blast playing the Midosuji Festa in Osaka city yesterday afternoon. Everyone took to the streets to enjoy a cloud-free afternoon as I geared up for the stage.

 

Osaka and Melbourne are sister cities, and this year celebrates the 35th anniversary of that wonderfully unique bond. To celebrate the occasion, Osaka city officials were kind enough to invite me along as the official Australian entertainer for the afternoon.

 

Check out a few of the snapshots. Great people!

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VIDEO: HEARTBEAT - THE FRAY COVER

Just as I started doing these YouTube covers, my good friend and fantastic drummer @mattmusty suggested that I listen to and cover “Heartbeat” by The Fray. I took a listen to the song and loved it. I immediately wanted to cover the song but wasn’t sure how to approach it. I tried it on guitar. No, that doesn’t work. Piano. Yes. Gotta have that epic bass line driving through the song. At this point I’m rocking out and playing this up-tempo song on the piano. I’m not sure what happened next, but I somehow end up deciding that slowing the song down completely and opening up Autotune and a vocoder in Logic while channeling Imogen Heap and Bon Iver was a good idea. When I first heard “Hide and Seek” back when it blew up, I knew I wanted to cover it or integrate a vocoder on something. Finally found a way to use it. Hope you enjoy!

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VIDEO: TASTE THIS MOMENT (LIVE IN TOKYO)

First show of 2012 in Tokyo. Great way to kick off the year at Bar? CCO in 下北沢. I used to play this song with a rockin’ band during my Boston/Berklee days. You can see a live band version of the tune here. Since I’ve been playing shows as a solo acoustic act the solo section isn’t as loud, but it’s still just as fun to play. You can also hear the studio version of this song over on the music page. Big shout out to Daniel Crouch for shooting and hooking me up with the footage! You can check his work out here.

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VIDEO: PARADISE - COLDPLAY + FIELDS OF GOLD - STING MASHUP

I’ve always liked Coldplay. All of their albums are great and have a standout track or two, but Parachutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head have always been my two favorites. When I first heard “Paradise”  I was immediately surprised by the new direction that it seemed the band had taken, but I couldn’t stop humming that tune. It was so catchy. Simple and catchy. Everything a single should be. I knew that I wanted to cover the tune immediately, but I needed to give it some sort of a different flavor for it to work as a solo accompaniment piece. So I got to work and dusted off the ‘ol nylon string guitar for a change. I think I even tuned down the whole guitar to D. The different timbre and feel on the nylon guitar inspired a completely different arrangement and a neat little surprise around 2:48 for those Sting fans out there.

Hope you enjoy my version!

Recorded in Kyoto, Japan (where I was born and live) with a pair of Rode NT5 mics, Mbox 2 Pro, Pro Tools, and a Nikon D7000 on a Morris nylon string guitar

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    VIDEO: YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND - CAROLE KING & JAMES TAYLOR COVER

    Over the last couple of years James Taylor has really grown to be a huge influence and hero of mine, both as a songwriter AND guitar player. I’ve only had the chance to watch James Taylor once, which happened to be in an intimate setting while I was at Berklee. Absolutely mesmerizing to watch this man play the guitar, let alone sing his brilliantly penned songs. “You’ve Got A Friend” is such a classic song that it’s hard and scary to approach covering it. More than 50% of the work is done for you with such a brilliant song, but my part is to not mess it up…hope you enjoy my rendition of the classic.

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    VIDEO: LONG HOT SUMMER - KEITH URBAN COVER

    A rushed late night cover of Keith Urban's "Long Hot Summer" off of "Get Closer." Just got back from a nice hot summer in Australia to record this days after arriving in cold Tokyo, Japan. 

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    VIDEO: LIE AWAY (ORIGINAL)

    Playing an old original song "Lie Away" written circa 2007. I was visiting my sister in Melbourne, AU and had some downtime to re-hash some old tunes and experiment with how they hold up. Hope you enjoy!

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    REUNITED

    So I’m in NYC and look who I run into. The old band band (minus Alvaro.)
     

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    CURRENTLY READING: CLAPTON

    Clapton-Autobiography-Book

    Just finished reading the Eric Clapton autobiography. Great read. I highly recommend it, you never know what you may learn.

    -Jon

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