By Lacy Hilliard
The Appalachians have long provided refuge to artists and dreamers. The peaks and valleys are as rich in musical and artistic culture as they are in beauty. Jon Fox is a local musician that has a deep appreciation for Appalachia which is often reflected in his music.
Jon Fox is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina. Though he grew up in the Gate City, hes been known to have affection for wanderlust. Working as a truck driver for a few years in his early twenties, Jon was able to get a taste of the bounty this beautiful country has to offer. After his truck driving career, Jon purchased a traditional cabin in Laurel Bloomery and his mountain sanctuary has been the jumping off point for many adventures since. His growing interest in a musical career has let him call cities like Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee home for brief periods of time. Perhaps the most interesting place Fox has called home is Alaska; where he spent his days in Denali National Park and earned his living as a line cook. He has been to every state in the continental United States and as soon as logistically possible, he plans to allow his music to take him across vast oceans too.
Jons affinity for music can be attributed to his father, Dave Fox, who worked as a professional musician. Music was always a part of Jons life so its not surprising that he feels most at home in this creative profession. Though his father played a big part in inspiring Jons musical career, his adult inspirations include singer-songwriters like Steve Earle, J.J. Cale, John Hiatt, and Ryan Bingham. Jon has a distinct Americana-folk style and even through his hometown style is often rooted in Appalachia, its obvious that his travels have given him the ability to bridge the gap into a wider audience.
In 2011, Fox released his sophomore album entitled Crooked Wheels which has received recognition both nationally and abroad. The album opens with dark tone with the song Back to Harlan. Like all of Jons lyrics, Back to Harlan paints a detailed portrait of life in a specific town and time, but even if hes singing about a place or circumstance that youve never personally experienced, his undisguised lyrics provide a sense of home to every listener. Honesty is perhaps the most refreshing part of Jon Foxs music and though his songs are poetry in lyric, his straightforward delivery speaks volumes to blue collar Americans. When you experience the music of Jon Fox you feel as though you are a part of the stories he tells like in the song Just Me where he sings and when I wake up in the morning and sing this song for you, from a mountain in Johnson County, where the hills are painted blue. Whether hes playing his Taylor acoustic or his Fender Strat, the melodic layers of his music peel away to life experiences that invoke a sense of nostalgia in the listener from lost love to love found or dreams dreamed to adventures fulfilled.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.
By Lacy Hilliard