Please welcome new Ninja signing Jono McCleery, a man whose voice has been compared – with good reason – to the likes of John Martyn, Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. McCleery self-produced and self-released his first album in 2008, the funding coming from donations from his fans, including such high profile names as Vashti Bunyan (who will appear on the forthcoming album) and BBC radio DJs Tom Robinson and Fiona Talkington. Whilst legendary folk-rock/jazz bassist Danny Thompson is a vocal supporter of Jono. For his new record he has collaborated throughout with electronic producer Fybe, and arranger, Matt Kelly.
The first fruits of this collaboration can be heard on “Tomorrow,” where Jono’s sumptuous voice is run up against plucked classical guitar and double bass (which he also plays), harp, strings and the subtlest of programmed percussion. The balance between the organic and the digital is pitch perfect, effortlessly maintained. It reveals McCleery to be not merely in possession of a great voice, but a great talent as a songwriter and musician. The impression is reinforced by “Alive Again,” a song of understated yearning that sucks you into its world and holds you there until its last, fading notes.
It’s not really Jono’s way to shout about how great he is; he just focuses on making quality music, full of real soul and commitment.