…moving, life-affirming songs – songs of innocence and experience...”

— James Cook

an old innocence (2017) - The experience

On Friday, June 30, 2017, I released my 8th album, An Old Innocence.The collection of songs has a varied emotional palette. The first half is more likely to have you dancing around the kitchen. The second half, side b as it were, is more introspective. Hopefully, both sides will connect with your heart and your emotions. 

It took me three years to make and there's quite a story behind it.

I thought it would be nice for you to get a bit of a feel for the whole process of making the album, where the songs came from, what it was like in the studio, while you had a listen to the album. Music writer, James Cook, wrote some sleeve notes and many of you have shared comments about the songs and how they have touched you. 

There is a lot of work that goes into making and sharing an album.  Thank you for ordering your very own copy on CD or download, and for continuing to buy music that supports independent artists.

An Old Innocence (2017)


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**All CD purchases also include a download code**

"An Old Innocence" - mixed by Tom Aitkenhead, Recorded by Howard Bilerman, Produced and written by Jont, Performed by Jont & The Infinite Possibility.

"Liner Notes by James Cook"

So I’m in my kitchen – early morning January 11, 2016 – scrolling through Twitter, and I notice a writer that I follow has tweeted a clip of ‘Wild Is the Wind’. Good call, I think, and favourite it. Then I see a tweet from an old friend: I heard the news today, oh boy. Isn’t that the first line of ‘Young Americans’? My arms go cold. What’s going on? Then I see it: ‘David Bowie, RIP’. He’s dead. Twitter goes into meltdown. Twittergeddon. The last tweet I favourite, before I close my phone – can’t read anymore – is from a schoolfriend: ‘No words’, above a clip of ‘Soul Love’. 

I suppose we’ll all remember where we were, what we were doing. Just as we did with Lennon, Jackson, Amy... In the weeks that follow, at least two friends – grown men in their 40s – have tears in their eyes as we rake over our Bowie moments, and raise a glass to the great man. 

A few days later, I receive a communication from an artist I have long been a fan of – Jont – a British singer-songwriter now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Jont often reminds me of Bowie – he shares some of the Dame’s prodigious gifts, has a fearless commitment to doing precisely what he wants; and is similarly mononymous.

He also used to do a mean version of ‘Modern Love’ on radio shows. Jont, with his band The Infinite Possibility, has a new album out soon, An Old Innocence, which I’m going to write about here. 

A quick bit of back-story: Jont has been releasing music for nearly twenty years, landing songs in The Wedding Crashers and Grey’s Anatomy along the way. He is the man behind Unlit, impromptu live performances held in people’s houses that have racked up over two million views on YouTube. He also used to be a slow left-arm spinner for Middlesex Country Cricket Club in his teens, a fact I didn’t know until I looked him up on Wikipedia. 

The new album, then – a collection of 12 tracks – his first since 2012’s Hello Halifax is, to my mind, his best yet.

Many of the songs address Jont’s key preoccupation: the search for personal happiness.

French novelist Henry De Monthelant once famously suggested that happiness writes white, but Jont, like McCartney, is one of the few song-smiths who is at his best writing in white ink.  ‘Keep On’ and ‘Someone to Love Me’ are two fine examples, life-affirming rockers that would no doubt be bracing live. 

The Dylan-ish ‘Old Traveller’ adds sprightly Hammond organ to Jont’s usual palette of acoustic guitar and piano, while ‘Supernatural’ treads a darker path, aided by Jacques Mindreau's sweeping widescreen string arrangement. ‘Big Open Heart’ is Jont as the Seeker again, forever chasing an elusive peak experience. ‘Superstar’ ploughs the same furrow, asking, ‘When was the last time you woke up feeling happy?’ (Jont always seems aware of the piercing brevity of these moments of joy.) The devotional ‘Waiting to Bloom’ is stripped down to slide guitar, piano and ‘Five Years’ drums, and boasts the most heartfelt vocal on the album. ‘I want to get to know you / before you turn your lights down low,’ he sings. ‘Australia’ deals with similarly turbulent emotions, and demonstrates why the happier songs work so well: their sentiments are set in relief by the fears, doubts, and dislocations of the darker tunes. Indeed, the eponymous ‘An Old Innocence’, reminds us that peace of mind is often hard won and that happiness is always sweeter after the experience of pain. 

Jont is a parent, and ‘Here To Stay’ is a moving song about his daughter. The emotions, feeling like a ‘king of the world’, and the giddy moment of consanguinity: ‘I saw myself in you,’ are all there. 

The album closes with ‘This Windshield’, the record’s set-piece. Just Jont alone with an acoustic guitar, it’s a rueful meditation on all life’s follies – the ‘crazy schemes and plots’. Yet the lyric finally offers redemption: ‘Everywhere I go I feel more at home / Every face I see is like a face I know’. It’s a fitting end to an album of moving, life-affirming songs – songs of innocence and experience. 

There was an ad that appeared in the music papers in the 1970s: There’s old wave, there’s new wave, and there’s David Bowie. The same could apply to Jont. People – don’t buy Ed Sheeran. Buy Jont. He’s one of our best men.