Jonathon Zemek – Everything Will Change
Jonathon Zemek’s “Everything Will Change” is the first single from his forthcoming solo album Hillcrest and represents the first taste of the Austin based musician’s work following his tenure with the Texas capital’s band Soul Track Mind. It’s an outright hard rock workout with Zemek’s ferocious guitar playing leading the way, but he’s ably supported by a supporting band including some of Austin’s best musicians. The key collaborator with Zemek on this song is singer Guy Forsyth and, if the song wasn’t written with Forsyth in mind, it certainly sounds like that’s who Zemek was thinking of all along. The production enhances this feeling and keeps the song from ever coming across in too ham-fisted of a way while still retaining its aggressive mood.
In some ways, however, the song is a light study in contrasts. Zemek definitely grasps how the “light and shadow” approach to hard rock music has paid such rich artistic dividends for bands throughout the genre’s history and he brings some of that to bear on “Everything Will Change” without ever making it too obvious. It’s an indication of the song’s emotional tenor, however, that Zemek invariably chooses to darken the mood rather than lightening it, with one notable exception, and it keeps the song an intense listening experience throughout. Your attention will not wander listening to “Everything Will Change” and it doesn’t demand an inordinate amount of your time.
Forsyth’s singing comes at listeners from a variety of angles during the song, but it never throws you off and has a coherent progression, for lack of a better word, throughout the song’s subject and “narrative”. Since Zemek intends this song as part of a conceptual work, at least implied, it’s difficult to get a lock on its ultimate worth since it likely fits into a larger narrative framing Hillcrest as a whole. You can, however, judge “Everything Will Change” as a standalone work and Forsyth does an exceptional job, via his commitment to the material and phrasing, to create a complete, self-contained experience for listeners.
The words are well written without ever over-stepping their place in the songwriting scheme and, once again, will likely take on a whole new significance with the release of further singles or the album itself. September is a bit away, so we’re likely to hear more of this upcoming album before its full release and it’s tantalizing to consider if Jonathon Zemek’s Hillcrest may ultimately rank as one of the best rock releases in recent memory. “Everything Will Change” is an excellent start and promises great things ahead. It’s hard rock with a brain and an ear for good riffs led by a guitar player with his own styles who, nonetheless, proudly wears his influences on his sleeve and fans of the genre need that more than ever before. It may be coming from one of the unlikeliest locations imaginable – Austin, Texas.