On April 1, 2021, singer-songwriter-guitarist Jon Klages, who helped create the Hoboken Sound as lead guitarist for the Individuals, will release Fabulous Twilight, a collection of original songs and instrumentals hailed as “an exceptionally broad and rich work … mature but still playful…[that] shows off Jon’s considerable songwriting and musicianship skills proudly” (Peter Holsapple of the dB’s and Continental Drifters).
With a songcraft, melodic inventiveness, and humor that recalls the early albums of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, Fabulous Twilight is a fresh and bold addition to Klages’s musical resumé. Weaving songs and instrumentals in the style of the long-players he loved as a child, Klages and producer Todd Solomon take the listener on an emotionally rich and musically diverse journey, from soulful ballads and plaintive blues to surf guitar and R&B instrumentals to a smile-raising, country-tinged ode to the Columbia House Record Club, all set against sparkling arrangements that spotlight Jon’s expressive vocals and celebrated guitar-playing. Of special note (and of special meaning to Klages) is “1133 Ave. of the Americas (For Enoch Light),” Jon’s tribute to his grandfather, featuring cascades of vocals that recall one of Light’s most illustrious productions, ’60s pop group the Free Design.
To make an album as far-ranging as Fabulous Twilight, Klages needed top-caliber musicians who could effortlessly shift between musical styles. And he found them. From Elvis Costello’s band, the Imposters, came Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drummer Pete Thomas and bassist extraordinaire Davey Faragher. Neil Larsen, whose keyboard mastery made him the piano man of choice for such artists as George Harrison, Leonard Cohen, and Rickie Lee Jones, came aboard to handle the ivories and Hammond organ. Finally, golden-voiced Arnold McCuller (James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt) stepped in to handle the background vocals with Klages and the Honey Whiskey Trio, completing an all-star lineup with a stunning musical history.
Klages’s own musical history began in the 1980s, when he was the lead guitarist for the acclaimed band the Individuals. Along with the Bongos and the dB’s, the Individuals led a new wave of N.Y.-based indie rock that influenced generations of bands to come. After releasing two albums with the Individuals, Klages left to make his own well-received solo EP for Coyote Records, In a Dream, which featured the recording debut of Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley. Soon after, Jon realized a personal dream when he joined forces with one of his guitar heroes, Richard Lloyd, from the legendary band Television. For two years, Klages toured with Lloyd, and then, looking for a change of musical scene, moved to Los Angeles.
After laying down roots on the West Coast, Klages quickly established himself as an in-demand musician, performing/recording with such L.A. notables as ex-True West member Russ Tolman, Steve Wynn (the Dream Syndicate and the Baseball Project), and Stephen McCarthy (the Long Ryders), and having his songs appear on albums by artists including power-pop favorites 20/20 and on TV series such as Knots Landing.
Now, with the release of Fabulous Twilight, Jon Klages has made an album that at once pays tribute to the achievements and influences of his past and heralds the exciting musical journeys to come. As Richard Barone writes of Fabulous Twilight in the album’s liner notes: “It’s a place to enter whenever you need it, like a cool jazz club in your record collection, filled with ghosts and spirits of the past that rub shoulders with us here in the present moment. Put it on your turntable as the sun begins to set, in that magical time between daylight and darkness, and let it be the soundtrack to your own fabulous twilight.”
Fellow artists praise the record. Richard Barone of The Bongos says, “By anyone’s standard, this album is a miracle of pure and unbridled talent, poise, and artistic merit” and Peter Holsapple (The dB’s and Continental Drifters) who says, “… an exceptionally broad and rich work. The instrumental (mostly) tribute to his grandfather Enoch Light, who released Free Design albums in the late 1960s on his Project 3 label, is sublime.” Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding) adds, “Fabulous Twilight is a real beauty.”