Road Man

Road Man


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No matter who you are, or where you are on your life journey, music always wields epiphanic power. It can mend the sick, enliven the downtrodden, and give direction to the lost. Storytelling singer-songwriter Jon Petronzio is a former child piano prodigy who has blossomed into a virtuoso musician highly regarded in the jam band scene. But seven years ago, after he established himself with an acclaimed career as a professional musician, Jon began tinkering with some musical ideas that would lead to the most transformative time of his life. The results of this profoundly life-changing time is his solo project, Road Man, which brims with an invigorating mix of funk, blues, reggae, mystical enlightenment, introspection, and environmentalism. He calls the debut album from this creative outlet, Light At The Speed Of Life. “I describe this music as my light at the speed of life. Life is an incredible gift... we are afforded only a finite span of time to learn, grow and accomplish something meaningful,” he says. “I believe I may have found my voice and my purpose through this unfolding of this project - something that's taken seven years to reach completion". Jonathan Petronzio grew up something of a natural musician. By age 12, after studying jazz and classical music with a highly regarded piano teacher, he was earning money playing ragtime music at an ice cream parlor. Jon would go on to earn a BA Music Education from Ithaca College School of Music. Upon graduation, he formed the funk band Revision. That band recorded six albums, averaged 150 shows a year. Recently, Jon’s been touring and recording with future roots music innovators John Brown’s Body. He’s toured extensively throughout the country with the group, sharing the stage with acts such as, Sublime, Groundation, Freddy McGregor, Galactic, SOJA, and the Easy Star All-Stars, among many others. The two albums he’s recorded with the band have both topped Billboard and iTunes charts at #1. Road Man was created away from career hoopla, and it basically created itself in three distinct phases over seven years. The first phase began with Jon learning recording software for his own edification; his explorations yielded upwards of 250 demo ideas. The second phase involved him consciously whittling that body of work down to 15 songs, and tracking the finished music and co-producing with Alan Evans of Soulive and an all-star lineup by way of John Brown’s body. The third phase of this process, writing lyrics to the finished music, was the most daunting and profound. “That was something of an existential journey. There I was with all this finished and completely produced music, and it was like singing karaoke to my own songs,” he recalls, laughing good-naturedly. Writing the words for tracks while holed up in his Ithaca home, alone in the dead of winter, he went on something of a spiritual adventure tapping into his subconscious, exploring medicinal ceremonial rituals, and playing intriguing William Burroughs cut-up exercises with a set of magnetic poetry words and phrases. The collection of songs resulting range from this illuminating adventure recall the work of Bob Marley and Michael Franti because of their balmy, groove-driven spiritual purposefulness. Some highlights are the euphoric reggae of “Who Do You Love” which includes the gloriously redemptive lyrics: But have you ever wanted something better, but the answer is hardly clear/Have you ever wanted someone so badly, but you can't seem to leave your fears behind; the hypnotically bluesy “Chosen”; and the centered, laidback gospel swagger of “The Meeting.” “This album is seven very powerful years of my life documented in song,” Jon says. “I’m not the same man I was when I started this project. I had to get out of the way and let these messages come out honestly and in their own time, and it’s changed me. I’ve seen how magical life can be, how much hope there is out there, and now I want Road Man to provide light at the end of the tunnel for others.”

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