The sincerity of Justin Heron‘s music doesn’t need any reinforcement from the chapel it was recorded in. From the withdrawn “Maybe It’s Best” to the more outgoing opener “Lay Me Down,” Heron implements the instrumentation of contemporary folk with an added element of traditional rock on his new EP. While the Milwaukee musician has been likened to the hushed tones of Sam Beam, the closing half of final track “Lullaby” showcases the somber tones of In Rainbows, leaving no evidence for an argument attempting to establish a narrow range of influences. Having already played a series of local shows and taken time to begin writing a full-length debut, it seems there will be more to keep an eye out for from this burgeoning singer/songwriter.
Justin Heron is a singer,songwriter and audio engineer out of Milwaukee. Heron has been on both sides of the recording studio, having produced two albums for Milwaukee based artist Sulek, as well as recently releasing his own debut album “The Justin Heron EP.” Heron thrives on creating and producing work that is above the mainstream. His personal musical style is one that is somewhat mysterious, with chilling vocal tracks and industrial guitar sounds. Heron aims to deliver work that is unlike anything else out there. When not in the studio producing or recording, Heron can be found playing shows in and around Milwaukee and the Chicagoland area.
With Heron’s well versed background in music we here at Mod City found it only fitting to have him be one of our guest DJ’s for our Midweek Mixtape column! Heron spent a lot of time creating a playlist that was more than just a playlist for our readers, but rather a musical experience. ”Some of my favorites right now are “I wish,” “Count Me In” and “That’s What Good Friends Do.” I built the playlist around those, having started with 45 songs and narrowing them down. The idea was for the listener to be shot out of a cannon from reality into introspection,” said Heron.
Justin Heron’s debut release is a five track EP that showcases his folk-rock style, whilst leaving plenty of space for the myriad influences that have shaped his musical upbringing. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native plays regularly in and around his hometown, either solo or as part of a trio (with drummer, Nez and bassist Sam Matteson), and it’s this line-up who play on the EP, with assistance from Patrick Joseph Hoctor on cello and Kristina Priceman on violin.
Produced by Heron and recorded in the chapel of the Milwaukee Newman Center, there’s no shortage of dark atmosphere present throughout the five tracks, and on occasion the effect is quite haunting and ethereal, without succumbing to anything approaching the staged trappings of contemporary Goth.
The EP begins with the crashing intro of “Lay Me Down” though the track soon settles into something more arranged and almost anthemic. Indeed the dynamic acoustic guitars and big chorus bring to mind The Levellers. Middle track “Rag Doll” isn’t as easy to pin down. The soaring vocal, sweeping arrangement, strings and sentiments make it the standout three and a half minutes, from an EP that’s never less than impressive.