In the modern world, to truly be a “timeless” artist you have to dig deep and have recognizable influences dating back to the elusive doo-wop era. Often, artists like these are said to “stand the test of time.” For some folks, that test might be a 5th grade level true or false, because they’re just not going to make it. It’s the cold heard reality. But, it’s a reality that Jon Hardy will not have to worry about. This St. Louis singer/songwriter and his band, The Public, make beautiful songs that obviously gather wide influence from The Four Tops to Randy Newman to The Boss himself. Their sound is beyond the regular or measurable comparisons you may hear on a daily basis. And their latest EP, Sugar, is unlike anything you have heard, or were probably even looking for, in the last few years.
“Worst I’ve Ever Had” is the base of this album. It is the track that can please the ears of the youth, as well as old timers on their la-z-boys of pity. But, it’s “Take That Sugar” and “Hold Your Tongue” that a real fan of classic soul and old school rock n roll will find both captivating and utterly refreshing. “Where Did Our Love Go” is great as well. It takes you right back to the 1950’s prom scene, but doesn’t really bring you back to the now. But, in this day and age, that is perfectly acceptable.
Jon Hardy is so original in his recollections of times past that you may begin to lose track of all influences you hear at first. The balance of the new and old on Sugar is only skewed a fraction of a kilogram — just enough to appeal to whatever audience they would like. The Public have developed a very impressive grassroots following in Midwest. And with their recent addition to the NPR Song Of The Day alum (for “Worst I’ve Ever Had”), it’s safe to say that their day jobs could soon become a thing of the past. These guys are quickly becoming one of the finest collection of talents, either side of the Mississippi.
[Digital EP, 2010]
1. Take That Sugar
2. Worst I Ever Had
3. Where Did Our Love Go
4. Hold Your Tongue