For Those That Missed It: Jon Foreman Darfur Video Stream

On Wednesday, May 13 Conversant interviewed Jon Foreman of Switchfoot live about his Fast for Darfur. Check out the web stream from the live event below. 

Jon Foreman Fast for Darfur Interview from

Jon Foreman on The Crisis in Darfur

On Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 we  interviewed Jon Foreman of Switchfoot live about his Fast for Darfur. Check out the web stream from the live event below. For more info about upcoming events and to stay connected with ConversantLife.com, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on twitter.


continue reading

Jon Foreman LIVE Video Stream Tomorrow @ 10:30 AM PST

Yo! Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 11th @ 10:30 AM -11:00 AM PST (1:30 PM - 2:00 PM).  I'll be  interviewing Jon Foreman of Switchfoot about his Fast for Darfur. Join the conversation by asking him questions live via our video chat feature. BE THERE CONVERSANT PEEPS! Got to http://www.conversantlife.com/darfur.

 

Jon Foreman Fasts for Darfur

Recording artist Jon Foreman joined the DARFUR FAST FOR LIFE today following activist-actress Mia Farrow and Virgin Group Founder and Chairman Sir Richard Branson. A longtime activist and Switchfoot frontman, Foreman will undertake a water-only fast in order to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis currently taking place in Darfur, as well as to encourage long-term U.S. Government actions to bring lasting peace to the people of Sudan. Foreman begins his three day fast today and is joined by U.S. Representative Donald Payne who is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and works tirelessly to end the suffering in Darfur.

Expressing his outrage at the situation in Darfur, Foreman said, “Can it be possible that right now, two and a half million people are waking up in camps and refugee camps having been driven from their homes by violent means? Under the same sun, could it be true that almost half a million people have died of starvation, violence, and disease over the past six years in Darfur? Is this true?!  And if this is true, why has the media remained almost completely silent on the issue? Why has our government maintained it’s current stance of inaction?”

Foreman follows Actress-Activist Mia Farrow and Virgin CEO and Founder Sir Richard Branson and others in sharing their experiences during the fast through video and blog posts at www.fastdarfur.org.

continue reading

Just Messin' Around: An Interview with Fiction Family

Fiction Family, the culmination of two of our generation’s most prolific and respected songwriters, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, debuted in January as a masterful collection of tales about murder, adventure, lost love, and war highlighting each contributor’s strengths and personalities while managing to defy perceived expectations. The best news? It’s only the beginning.

There’s a beautiful carelessness to what is now Fiction Family (originally named “The Real SeanJon” with a goal of being sued by Puffy) – a creative endeavor birthed out of rest, friendship, and unabashed innovation. With no immediate deadlines, rules, or formats to follow, Foreman and Watkins decided to embark on a musical journey of the purist, most unadulterated kind.

“We just started writing stuff we wanted to write about,” says Watkins from the porch of his San Diego home. “It was never going to be a record either. There were a lot of conversations that never happened. All that happened was having fun playing music and writing songs.”

“One of the endearing things about this record is that because we were doing it in our bedrooms, we were literally just screwing around,” adds Foreman. “I mixed the whole thing at my folks’ house in a couple of days just to get it done and shop it around to people. Those mixes ended up being the record. The demo became the final thing. I like to think that added a little bit to the charm. “

The result is a perfect union: two notable songwriters strapping each other’s strengths to their own songwriting utility belt, each coming out of the process even more equipped then they were before.

“One of the things I love about bluegrass music and where it’s coming from is the simplicity,” says Jon like an eager new student of the genre. “[Bluegrass] makes every note count. I think that’s one of the things I’ve been trying to learn more and more…trying to say one thing well. I’m captivated by the way melodies intertwine, and many times I end up trying to say too many things melodically. Sean is really good at pressing the mute button. It was a really freeing thing to have him there playing the producer role saying things like ‘yeah, that’s kind of endearing but it’s not needed.’”

Watkins feels equally appreciative: “A lot of times I’d bring [Jon] a verse and chorus of something and he’d say ‘that’s really cool but can we make this part bigger?’ or ‘Can there be a change in the middle that really departs from where you were?’ Those are things I think about now when I write songs. That’s the good part about working with someone. You get to collect pieces of who they are musically. You get to pick and choose what you want to add to your collection of songwriting tools.”


There’s an idea that the farther one departs from the traditional pop format, the less tangible their work becomes to the average listener. Not so with Fiction Family. Wildly inventive and spontaneous, the two recording artists who once enjoyed the luxury of major record labels now stand in victorious defiance against a crumbling conventional music industry. “This year has marked our first year of our independence from Sony,” explains Foreman speaking of Switchfoot’s long time relationship with the label. “It was the chance to let loose some projects that have been bottled up for a long time.”

An outpouring of that pent-up creativity, Fiction Family reflects a strong sense of musical maturity from both its contributors.  It’s the stories and raw emotion embedded into that music, however, that give the project a sense of profound timelessness. “At the end of any given record you’re left with the question of whether you believe it or not,” says Foreman. “Part of what you’re investing in that question is whether or not that singer/songwriter is putting a piece of him on the line. Voices like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan do that. Whether they’re singing their own song or someone else’s, you can hear a piece of them when they’re singing it. It’s a matter of vulnerability. That’s something I try to put into all my songs … which is kind of nerve-racking sometimes.”


Part of that vulnerability means wrestling with the deep spiritual complexities of human nature, familiar territory for both the Switchfoot and Nickel Creek members. On “Closer Than You Think,” a track from their album debut, Watkins muses over the widely held notion of heaven as a distant and out of reach destination, suggesting it may be “right under your feet.”


Watkins explains, “I felt like there are a whole lot of people putting all their eggs into a basket of after-lives while completely overlooking what we’ve been given today. I’ve seen so many people sell this life short of possibilities saying ‘man, someday it’s going to be great, but it’s just going to suck until then’ and that’s not the attitude we’re supposed to have. That isn’t to say the concept of heaven isn’t an amazing thing and shouldn’t be kept as a paramount in our mind, but we’ve also been put on this earth to do something, to live in the here and now.”

Along with focusing on “the here and now” Fiction Family is looking forward to the future. So what’s next for the duo? What once began as two friends jamming over coffee on their days off is now considered by both an adventure too fun to stop.

“We had a blast on this tour with Aaron Redfield playing the drums and Tyler Chester playing the bass,” says Jon. “It felt like a really natural fit. I’d love to make a record as a four piece.”

Watkins agrees, “We’ve been working on some new songs on this last tour and have a list we think would be good for the next record. During the course of this tour we really started feeling like a band so when we record we’ll record it more like that.”


With Nickel Creek on indefinite hiatus and Switchfoot adjusting to life apart from a major label, the continuation of Fiction Family sounds like an excellent way for these two songwriters to experiment, explore, and continue to learn from each other. In the meantime we’ll be anxiously awaiting the results.

continue reading

Free Music: Molly Jenson - Do You Only Love The Ones Who Look Like You? (Featuring Jon Foreman)

It all began when San Diego singer-songwriter/producer Greg Laswell offered to co-write and produce Jenson's first record. Greg and Molly worked remarkably well together, and on March 3rd 2009, she released her debut album, "Maybe Tomorrow". You could easily equate "Maybe Tomorrow" to the work of Jonatha Brooke, Sheryl Crow and Aimee Mann, however, Molly is much more than an ectype. Behind Jenson's heartfelt songs is an unfeigned artist, who is not afraid to reach out to an audience and let them know that she is tangible. It's evident that her songs are purely based on her own life. Her ingenuous lyrics entail stories of love and loss, hardships and better days. Beyond that, Molly's incredible vocal ability sets her apart from other female artists, and she does it with such ease.


Download "Do You Only Love the Ones Who Look Like You" featuring Jon Foreman

here exclusively on ConversantLife.com
.


Q&A with Molly Jenson

Molly Jenson is a singer-songwriter from San Diego who currently bases her operations in Orange County. Her new record, “Maybe Tomorrow,” dropped in stores March 3. Undiscovered was able to sit down with her a week before the album released to talk about her music.

Undiscovered: So your new album’s coming out next week right? I heard it’s actually a re-release of one that you did a few years back.

Molly: Yeah, I put a record out just independently and sold it at shows and to friends a couple years ago in 2005. And then when I signed with Bully!/Pulpit Records/Nettwerk Music Group, they bought the record off me and we changed the artwork and added a duet that Jon Foreman and I wrote.

Undiscovered: So it’s one week before your record releases. Is life any busier than usual for Molly Jenson?

Molly: It’s been crazy. This last month has been the busiest and most stressful month of my life, but it’s fun. I’m growing a lot, I’m learning a lot and I’m getting to do a lot. We shot my music video last week, and I got to go on tour with Fiction Family. We’ve been doing all these promotional things and it’s been really cool. This is the kind of stress I like. It shows me that stuff is getting done and things are moving forward.

Undiscovered: You mentioned touring with Fiction Family. Was that different from anything you’ve done before?


Molly: Absolutely! It was so amazing! It was my first real tour. I’ve played in Europe and I’ve played up the coast of California, but I haven’t left California on tour with my own music, opening for a band who has a good crowd of people. And I did five shows with them and I played solo. I’ve never played solo; I would always have at least one person backing me up because I never felt confident enough to play guitar and so they could cover up my mistakes. But I had the best shows I’ve ever played; we sold out every night.

Undiscovered: Your profile description on Myspace said you never planned on recording an album or ever doing any of this stuff. What happened?

Molly: Well, Greg Laswell and I went to college together at Point Loma in San Diego and we had mutual friends and we were only acquaintances in college. But in 2004 I moved to Orange County and I’d been singing on other people’s projects, but I really was starting to think that I wanted do my own stuff, but was really struggling. So Greg was working on his own stuff and producing other people. He heard that I was starting to write and called and said he’d love to meet with me. So we got together and wrote a song, and we just had this connection that can be really hard to find with other people, and it went on from there.

continue reading

Concert Review - Fiction Family

Maybe it was because Jon Foreman and Sean Watkins are two of my favorite modern songwriters or maybe it was because my last concert was OAR at the House of Blues crammed between a brigade of unappreciative, drunk frat boys and sorority girls, but I’m pretty sure that this weekend’s Fiction Family concert was the best I’ve been to in years. Fiction Family wrapped up their debut tour at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles this Saturday. Surrounded by their family and friends, as well as fans old and new, Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek and Jon Foreman of Switchfoot played a set of originals, collaborations, and covers that lasted over 90 minutes.

Largo was the perfect venue to feel welcomed by this fictional family. A historic landmark, the small movie theatre-style venue has been a home for the Watkins family where they’ve maintained a residency every Thursday night for years. What made the night so uniquely enjoyable was the addition of Sara Watkins on violin and breathtaking background vocals. I couldn’t imagine the rest of the tour without her.
Sara performs with so much passion, energy, and confidence and yet manages to maintain a humble, not-to-be-taken-so-seriously persona while on stage. It’s a package one wishes every artist could deliver.

The renowned piano accompanist, Benmont Tench (Johnny Cash, U2), sat in on many of the songs delivering just the right color to each piece between casual sips of coffee, showing off his incredible solo skills only when asked. Jon’s celloist, Keith Tutt, also joined with his brilliant arrangements that struck well against Sara’s fiddle licks.

Foreman continues to impress me with his songwriting. The group did a number of his that has yet to be recorded called Rob Me, a foot stomping hillbilly tune that  Dylan would be honored to cover. Molly Jenson, a new friend of Conversant and Undiscovered, opened the evening up with her honest stories accompanied by her charming wit and personality that manages to shrink a room so that you feel you’re sitting across the table from her in a coffee shop. Her duets with Jon and Sean fit like a glove. Look for more on her in this blog soon as her new album, "Maybe Tomorrow" releases in March.

Whether it was hushing the room for a cover of Radiohead’s I Dio Teque (with three out of the four vocalists sharing the same microphone in traditional bluegrass style) or a version of Foreman’s stirring Your Love is Strong (based on the Lord’s Prayer) with Sara adding original harmony, or an instrumental bluegrass duet between the Watkins siblings, it was an unforgettable night that wasn’t about Fiction Family at all…it was about friends getting together to appreciate, celebrate, and share, stories and songs together.

The set ended with Foreman and Watkins thanking us for letting them be our fictional family for the evening and “if we wanted to hear some more songs we would have to sing a chorus of Hey Jude before they came back." We complied. Soon each member strapped on their instruments to meet us on the chorus in the key we were all singing, followed by a long list of encore numbers. It was a night to remember.

continue reading

When She's Near Me - Fiction Family

To download this song for FREE Click Here


Fact from Fiction: Fiction Family’s Debut Conveys Truth and Beauty

In a scene dominated by the gentle, hypersensitive sounds of Sufjan, The Welcome Wagon, and Fleet Foxes, Jon Foreman and Sean Watkins finally inject some manliness back into the acoustic guitar. Fiction Family, the culmination of two of our generation’s most prolific and respected songwriters, debuts as a masterful collection of tales about murder, adventure, lost love, and war that highlight each contributor’s strengths and personalities while managing to defy perceived expectations. 

continue reading
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Jon Foreman


Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.