As of their sophomore release, In Verses, The Jones Street Boys are now known as Jones Street Station.
Self-taught and exploring more every day, Midwest transplants Danny Erker and Jonathan Hull met in New York City in 2001. Shortly after, they both joined The Cobble Hillbillies, a Brooklyn bluegrass collective, with whom they played the 2006 Merlefest Midnight Jam, alongside Nickel Creek, Gillian Welch, Peter Rowan, among others.
After The Cobble Hillbillies’ amicable dissolution, Jon and Danny struck out on their own. Two members and six instruments (banjo, dobro, harmonica, mandolin, guitar and accordion) seemed reasonable: The Jones Street Boys were born. Two folks were fun, they thought, but more might be a damn good time. It didn’t take long to find talented musicians with interests similar to theirs: a focus on songwriting, storytelling, harmony-singing, and musicianship.
The two-man show quickly became a solid quintet. Princeton native Jonathan “JB” Benedict, a former co-worker of Jon’s, came on board, tearing it up on anything with keys, and Walt Wells—who, fresh off the bus from Bloomington, IN, met Jon their freshman year at Indiana University—joined up for thumpin’ and strummin’. Robbie Jones, the final addition, spiced the beat up with the Cajon, an Afro-Peruvian drum with a distinct metallic sound. After recording Overcome, Robbie left for Spain and his bride-to-be, but soon Sam Rockwell, a charming, freewheeling rock’n’roller from Minneapolis was shaking things up with a heavier beat, adding depth via a rock edge to the band’s Americana core.
Starting by reworking traditional favorites in many genres—particularly bluegrass—and by fine-tuning original songs Jon and Danny had been crafting, the creative energy caught fire and soon Jon, Danny, JB, and Walt were all composing and rearranging. These communal practices comprise the band’s foundation, and the practice is made visible when they play live. They are engaging from every angle. Five separate energies—rather than melting into one—spin gracefully in each other’s orbits, building a cumulative power.