Musical mold-breaker Willie Jones is taking country music to unbelievable new places with his single "Back Porch."
Simon Cowell likes him. Demi Lovato likes him. 200,000 Spotify listeners a day love him.
He is Willie Jones: one-time X-Factor contestant, now full-time country music innovator. For the last eight years he has been delighting crowds with his blended sound, mixing R&B and hip-hop influences with firm country roots to create an explosive musical cocktail. The Louisiana native has been gathering an absurd amount of momentum lately, with a barrage of singles set to come out this year and show the world of music what you can do when you color outside the lines. That all starts with the first in this series of releases, the mesmerizing "Back Porch."
With an opening that feels equal parts Childish Gambino and The Avalanches, you immediately need to reconsider what you think a country song sounds like. This gives way to a blend of guitar, beat, and synth that gets you ready to jump up and go crazy. Where other crossover artists would lose their country influences in the mix at this point, "Back Porch" puts them front and center. The vocals are unmistakably in genre, the guitar chords hold down the song, and the lyrics, taken on their own, would feel right at home on a Luke Combs cut. All of that firm grounding allows the more fanciful production elements to take things out of this world. This song feels like a lot of people were finally let off the chain to really play, and at the centre of it all is Willie Jones smiling and having a good damn time.
Photo by @goodwolfentertainment
"Back Porch" throws you. Often country crossed with other genres feels like the artist is playing with the simplest colors of both worlds. The results can still be fantastic, but what Jones is doing here feels like he's painting with every color of the rainbow, plus a few more that he invented just because he could. This track is a stone-cold jam, primed and ready for the enjoyment of swathes of fans that don't even know they're fans yet. Get ready, everyone; Willie Jones just might be your newest obsession.
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In the opening pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Earth is destroyed. Now if that doesn't scream 2020 so far, what does?
In Douglas Adams's 1979 novel, which premiered as a radio series on BBC Radio4 in 1978 (42 years ago—but more about the significance of that number later), Earth is suddenly blown up in order to make room for an intergalactic superhighway. Now, in a year that has—after only 3 months, people—given us a contentious, confusing democratic primary, the death of Kobe Bryant, new and worsening facts about our climate and habitat at large, appalling leadership, and of course the rapid spread of and global shutdowns by the coronavirus (COVID-19), it seems impossible to turn to any source for comfort.
Enter The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a novel that starts with the global annihilation that we might be heading for and then follows the characters as they cope with new realities, with isolation and loss, an endless information source that brings with it endless anxiety, and an egomaniacal, arrogant, selfish, attention-craving president of the galaxy.
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It's time to study.
Now that you've flooded Instagram with photos of black squares, it's time to hunker down for some real activism.
If you're a white person, you're sitting on top of about four centuries of institutionalized racism. In the wake of George Floyd's murder by police and countless Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, it's time to show up—with your body, with your voice, and with your brain.