Folk artist Jon Danforth’s latest EP, Departure, is an ode to escapism inspired by dull commutes across DFW’s concrete-smothered landscapes. The record beckons to lush forests and wildflowers–but Danforth wants you to know it was written tongue-in-cheek.
“For the record, I love Dallas,” he says. A native of rural Arkansas, the singer-songwriter sometimes misses the natural beauty of his hometown, but Departure is mostly a playful nod to a feeling of longing he cannot shake. “It’s fun to think about” getting off the grid, he explains. “The idea of escapism, I think it’s baked into the human condition of, you know, thinking things are better on the other side.”
Music provides an immediate if temporary fix. The five-song EP, released in November, takes listeners on a ride through the sunny peaks and sweeping valleys of Americana. Danforth sings and plays acoustic guitar, backed by a band he met at Dallas’ fifty50studios.
The ethereal, organic sound recalls Danforth’s musical beginnings as a child singing in the kids’ choir and playing guitar at his family’s church, where his mother played clarinet and his father sang. Danforth was heavily involved in the church’s music program growing up, but that’s not what pushed him to become a musician.
“Like many bible belt kids, we were not allowed to listen to secular music, and so naturally we did,” he laughs. “When my parents were gone, we would turn up Nirvana, or whatever else.”
Jon played with some bands in Central Arkansas before moving to Dallas a little over seven years ago, and eventually branching out as a solo artist.
“I thought I would just record one EP and if it wasn’t terrible, then I would try and keep going,” says Danforth. His third EP, Departure captures the wistful kind of sound that Danforth wants his name to be synonymous with. “My goal is to have one foot in the indie folk-y Americana space, and then one foot in the singer-songwriter, indie rock space. It’s nice to have that variety.”
Danforth is performing the warm, cozy record live tonight at Sundown at Granada. He’ll open for fellow local musician Billy Law at 9 p.m. There’s no cover.