I’m a writer, musician, and (unfortunately) day job schlub living in Baltimore with my wife, who is much smarter than me, and our two cats, one of which is as smart as me and the other of which is smarter than an oyster (but only just). I’ve been a farmhand, construction worker, soldier and Russian linguist, teacher, clerk, editor, and paralegal; I once played as a street musician in Heidelberg, Germany and was a guest with a German jazz orchestra at age 17. My first solo album, Hard Times, was recorded in 2003 in San Antonio.
Most of these things are much less impressive than they sound.
I like cooking, magical realism fiction, environmental issues, and theoretical astrophysics, and British comedies. I have no phone. That probably makes me sound strange. I drink single malt and beer that you can’t see through in very small amounts. I tend to learn a lot about something and then get bored with it.
I play in a folk rock band called Midway Fair, where I write songs and make guitar-related noises. Some people seem to think I’m pretty good at the guitar playing and have said things like “Patton’s guitar work … is impeccable, flowing through many different playing styles with the ease of a 50 year veteran.” So you might want to go listen to a few of our tunes if you’re into that sort of thing.
I also build guitar effects and other audio noise boxes, and you can see those under the Things I Make page. Sometimes I sell them, but I’m not very interested in turning it into anything beyond a hobby.
I can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Jon S. Patton writes “pretty music about ugly things” — presenting complex, and often dark, subject matter through the accessible medium of song to challenge the listener’s sense of good, right, and beautiful. Sweeping, cinematic story-songs influenced by Tom Waits, Gillian Welch, Josh Ritter, and The Waterboys are propelled by dazzling fingerstyle guitar work in the vein of Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Richard Thompson. Although many of his songs are crafted to be lighthearted and fun, they tackle serious subjects like war, poverty, and (of course) love with poetic grace and intelligence.
Jon’s story-songs often have elements of magical realism, a historical context, or literary connection, such as “1851” about the French Revolution of 1848 (the one most people have never heard of) or “Don Quixote’s Deathbed Conversation with Sancho Panza” about his favorite novel. He also performs his own modern rewrites of ancient British ballads and original ballads written in that style as a form of deconstruction of the folk tradition, such as a traditional-sounding ballad about King Henry V’s victory at Agincourt or the Scottish ballad “Twa Corbies” transplanted to an American roadside during the Great Recession.
Jon plays throughout the Baltimore area with his band, Midway Fair, and as a sideperson for several local songwriters.
A less cheeky photo of me is here.