“Hello everybody”. The band launches into a raucous groove. Brown boots stomping and jacket fringe swinging, J.R. Rund moves as if he’s directing a gospel choir with the neck of his slope-shoulder Gibson. The energy is palpable. “I’ve been down low in the valley, and high as a kite but from where I’m sittin’, I think I’m doing all right”. He exclaims in the chorus of the song ‘Cheeseburgers’--It’s a resurrection of sorts. No… no one died. But hanging your songwriting spurs up for the better part of the twenty-tens and entering a new chapter of life to build a family can make a music man wonder: What do I still have to offer?
The weight of 2020 afforded J.R. a new lens through which to see life, balance, and music. The relentless uncertainty conjured up thoughts on mortality, belief, duality, and the maturity to sort through it all. Once a songwriter, always a songwriter. One by one, the songs showed themselves as if they were always there just waiting to be dusted off. But this batch of songs was special and needed to tell a different kind of story.
In 2022 J.R. popped the cork on his most ambitious musical project to date. He whittled away at a group of songs, painstakingly piecing together the puzzle that would become his first full-length release, From Where I’m Sittin’. J.R. recalls the process of making the record with Caleb Neff at Juniper Recordings as “organic and raw”. With a mix of classic-leaning country, folk, and rock and roll, this session would produce 10 sonically diverse small plates, thoughtfully prepared and perfectly seasoned with his trademark ‘I don’t take myself too seriously’ aesthetic. Sometimes sad and sometimes sweet but always with tongue planted firmly in cheek, From Where I’m Sittin’ is an infectious new addition to the burgeoning country-roots scene.
The Georgia-bred songwriter brings a unique perspective to a genre that has often been reduced to the mention of whiskey and the spiral of unrequited love. J.R. is decidedly more poet and Prine than crooner and Cash. His humble songs are chocked full of conversational lyrics—often humorous, other times gut-wrenching but always delivered honestly. Loaded for bear with his band and new LP, J.R.’s knocking on Americana’s Palace door. But he doesn’t need to be the new King in the castle, he’s happy to be the Jester with a heart of gold.