"Forging a musical style that is unique, raw and heavily rooted in the Delta Blues learned and loved while growing up in the south as well as Folk, Western and Americana Roots, Jonivan Jones is a musician and songwriter who began writing and recording songs at home in Arkansas and shortly after began publishing/performing live while drifting around the country. Traveling through the years for work as a diver he used the opportunities to perform and connect with audiences wherever home was at in the moment. The miles, writing, and performing within various music scenes helped shape the sound and songs into the gravelly Americana you hear today with accompaniment of guitar and harmonica. Currently distributing music through Tunecore, Cd Baby and Distrokid and affiliated with ASCAP Performing Rights Organization."
From a 2022 Interview with Memphis Voyager
"In my humble beginnings, I was fortunate to have family and family friends that were not only into a lot of music but also musicians themselves.
My mother had a great vinyl collection and she would play them on her record player when I was very young, sometimes on Sundays, and I remember listening to the sounds of the vinyl and the artists and just studying those artists and songs. A lot of these were Americana, Classic Western/Country, and some great blues-influenced records as well.
A few years later, I found an old nearly destroyed guitar that was barely playable and started to try to play it. When I was about 14, an Uncle who was a guitar player and later played in a band was kind enough to sit down and talk to me about music and show me some chords and a bit of structure.
My musical influences kinda took off and broadened around that point and I started to try to write little songs or song ideas. It was around that time that I found an old Tape Recorder at my Grandfather’s home and started recording these song ideas and playing them back to myself.
I was also very fortunate growing up as some of my family would spend time camping in the Ozarks and attending folk music gatherings and some of those festivals. This happened generally about twice a year from the time I was born and I still try to make it up for some of these events. During this time, I was exposed to some great Folk music and musicians, and around the age of 12-14, I would get together with my cousins and we would watch around the fire at night as different musicians would trade songs and stories.
There were acoustic guitars, sometimes a mandolin, harmonicas, and one old very special mountain man who made knives and played a washtub bass; he even had cut a little hole in his tub to put in a sub-woofer speaker. It was a great time and place to be regardless of your age and what type of music you listened to. Eventually, I thought I could join the circle and play a song I had learned, and as I hit those chords and attempted to get the words out, my nerves choked me up and I struggled.
At that moment the folk cowboy singer-songwriter who was the lead and very revered around the fire as well as some music venues around leaned over and said “hold your head up when you play and sing, don’t be afraid” so from then on if I was Lucky I got to continue to talk to him through the years and get his bits of wisdom and experience.
A few years later, when I was living in New Orleans for work, I purchased a 4-track cassette recorder and began to record more complex cover songs and originals on tapes, a few years after that I moved to South Texas for another work assignment.
In Texas, I began recording music on my own and distributing it wherever I could under the name “Animal sound” or “animal sounds”. And it was in South Texas, Corpus Christi, and sometimes the surrounding Cities where I started playing live. I think my first ever live gig was at a roadside-style place called Sys’s Place around 2006 (closed now).
During this period, I was fortunate to meet some great local friends that were musicians and friends of musicians that split shows with me, one friend owned a record store and would let us perform there and so I had a few years where I could write and perform songs that I wrote and share that music with a little community there.
My job kept me moving so I only stayed there a few years before moving to the East coast and shortly after stumbled upon another group of great friends and musicians that would let me open their shows for them around the Hampton Roads area. The kindness and feeling of community that was shared by some of those folks are things that I still appreciate very much.
After that, I had to head out to work and live in Hawaii for a few years. I got to travel quite a bit around the South Pacific and that influenced my music quite a bit. The sounds of nature and the music and singing of these beautiful places and people stayed in my heart and I hope it does forever. I met my wife there and wrote a lot of music about that place and time.
About halfway through my time there, I found a local pub in the Chinatown historic district of Honolulu called “Hank’s” that let me play my songs and so I played live there whenever I could get time off of the ship I worked on. I wrote the song “South Pacific” directly about some of these experiences and friends there.
Next, it was on to Florida for work. I was pretty busy then, but I managed to write, record, and perform some of my music in Florida also in Seattle, and quick stops home to Arkansas. A friend that I have a lot of respect for asked me one day why did I not release and perform music under my actual name instead of a moniker and I had no good answer.
So I thought long and hard about it and realized it was time to make a change and create music and perform it from the most honest place that I could. So the only way to do this was to take it back to my roots and influences and tell more of my stories and write from some of my personal experiences.
I have so many influences from travel and the way that I grew up that I struggled with labels and genres a lot during this time but eventually I started focusing more on just coming from an honest and real place about it all and sharing music for the connection. I think that’s what it’s really all about and coincidentally it has brought me back even closer to my roots in the music and people that I grew up with.
At the end of 2019, I moved back home to Arkansas with my family and had big plans of making music and connecting with the folks in my home state, unfortunately, just as I was winding up Covid arrived at our doors, and I had to cancel quite a bit of plans. So I pursued what I could remotely, whether it was live feed/showcases or one-time vinyl runs and even my own live streams that I would do from time to time.
I got to connect with people and share the music so I’m very grateful for that, but for me, there is no replacement for performing live. It’s just a different animal than staring at a camera by yourself. So as I’m always grateful for any opportunity to connect with folks and share our music, I certainly hold live performances in a special place in the heart, as I’m sure many other musicians do.
We (A few friends/co-musicians) took that opportunity to professionally record, master, and distribute a lot of new music during the last two years and so that was great and helped get our catalog of streamed songs out there. It was important for me to have our catalog be indicative of our live sound and we did that pretty well. I think. I owe thanks to all the folks who helped make that happen, from the musicians to the audio engineer; it’s been exciting and very fulfilling.
....Currently, we have a ton of songs that still need to be recorded and shared. I joke that we have more than a train can haul, but we do and we’re going to continue to get them out there."