Billy Jonas brings funky family fun

Staff reports

Imagine that you are a performer. A large portion of your target audience is easily bored. In a heart beat, it can sniff out any hint of insincerity. It's prone to brutal honesty. That would be children, of course, one of the most simultaneously challenging and rewarding audiences an artist can face.

The music that the Billy Jonas Band plays appeals to adults as much as it does to kids.

But family entertainer Billy Jonas has pulled off the neat trick of engaging the youngsters at his shows without condescension while also keeping  adults happy. He and the Billy Jonas Band will lead an afternoon of participatory family fun at the White Horse Black Mountain on Sunday, July 24.

Chicago native Billy Jonas has been active on the Asheville music scene for more than 20 years. He pioneered his use of recyclable, repurposed homemade instruments with the Oberlin Big Bang Theory and developed his singing and songwriting with The Billys in the 1990s. He’s since led many workshops and performed numerous concert and festival gigs, solo and with the Billy Jonas Band.

“My favorite instrument is the audience,” he said. “I work to ‘tribalise’ the compositions … to create songs that provide an immediate opportunity for the listener to join in.”

Jonas has enlisted the talents of other gifted performers to fuel the creativity, spontaneity and laughter that characterize Billy Jonas Band shows. Singer-songwriter Ashley Jo Farmer (vocals, re-percussion) also fronts her own eponymous band and is becoming a favorite on the festival circuit. Versatile multi-instrumentalist Sherman Hoover (vocals, bass, marimba, re-percussion) is often invited to sit in with Asheville’s finest musicians. And Juan Holladay (vocals, re-percussion) also grooves with soul/R&B band The Secret B Sides.

Plays well with others

Who: The Billy Jonas Band

When: 3 p.m. July 24

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $10 advance, $12 door