"It has been said, 'If you're not about the truth, you're not qualified to play any kind of music,'" writes Portland staple Jon Koonce on the back of his new record, The Lost Cause. "It has been called, 'Three chords and the truth.' I first heard it at the age of 5, howling from a booming North Carolina jukebox on a coastal boardwalk. A wild truth. The only truth. A murderous concoction of pain and elation on a vinyl record. Three minutes then gone. I thought lost. Like as it came to pass, the man who sang it. He died broke and obscure.
"Still 59 years later, it is burned in my mind. A sound too pure to be played the same way twice. Those recordings were musical accidents. You know who they are or were, or maybe you don't. This music a gift from God."
Koonce continues to reflect upon his past and present in the music industry on the record's sleeve as he tells Vortex, "This is release 13 for me." Starting back around 1980, he led the gritty rockers Johnny and the Distractions through that decade and has steadfastly played his guitar over the years, through thick and thin.
The Lost Cause was laid down on half-inch, reel-to-reel tape at an eight-track studio, Fremont Recording, finding freedom in the lack of technology. Joined by local musicians, "No player heard any of the songs before coming to the studio," Koonce describes. "Soon as they quickly learned a tune, I said, 'Roll tape.'"
"We worked around other studio clients at random, never block booked. I had only one song finished when we started last February. Then wrote the songs between sessions," he tells. The mix was finished in July, followed by final touches at Telegraph Mastering before vinyl production at Cascade Record Pressing.
And now you can hear the first vivid song—or rather, statement—from The Lost Cause below in "Woman Stronger Than Man."