Why Jon McKiel Rules by Lucas Hicks (2015)
Possibly my greatest teenaged discovery happened about 7 years ago in one of Sackville’s many pizzerias. The joint’s Fish & Chips was Highliner fish sticks and Lay’s Original potato chips – but it also stocked many copies of the local campus paper. I’d always open directly to radio charts to find something new and exciting. Holding strong at number one was Jon McKiel’s debut full length, The Nature of Things. A record that still stands up to this day and is reminiscent of my favorite East Coast rock records like Thrush Hermit’s Clayton Park, and Sloan’s Twice Removed.
But I don’t think I should focus on that – that was then. McKiel has evolved, holding onto characteristics from the past, while staying ahead of the curve, remaining fresh, and challenging. His sophomore record Tonka War Cloud featured more disconnected guitar licks, diverse sounds, and fuzz. He began to emerge from the swamp and then he moved to the swamp.
In 2014, McKiel delivered his strongest set of songs to date through a self-titled 10” that was recorded in Crousetown, Nova Scotia (with Jay Crocker) on an 8-track tape machine. The record feels limitless, careful, and carefree. These six songs are nothing but proof of the sheer talent that McKiel possesses, making him one of the strongest and most prolific songwriters the East Coast has to offer.
On any given night, Jon’s live show can feature your best friend, your favorite musician, your brother, your mother, and/or your roommate, all adding to the allure. Always featuring incredible musicians, Jon will be stocked at Kazoo! Fest with some the finest – Aaron Mangle (Cousins), Jay Crocker (JOYFULTALK) and Shawn Dicey.
Did I mention he’s also a world-class cook and owns a motherfucking food truck?
Lucas Hicks is the Creative Director of one of Canada’s greatest festivals – Sappyfest.