This post makes me absolutely giddy with joy: I’m debuting a song by my favorite band in Philly, who I also interviewed for this post, and if you buy it all the proceeds go straight to Women’s Law Project.
The song is “If You Harden On The Inside,” the first new tune from Hezekiah Jones since after their 2016 EP Har Har Har and a track on December’s Vilomahed project curated by Michele Lynn. You can get it for as little as $1, although I encourage you to donate more!
Hezekiah Jones is the folk collective formed by and around Philly-based songwriter Raphael Cutrufello. He pulls a peculiar double-duty while fronting the band, acting the entire time as Hezekiah, with each one of the band’s rotating cast of musicians presenting themselves as another fictional member of the Jones clan.
(My favorite: Dow Jones.)
That little touch of mythology goes a long way to contextualizing Cutrufello’s songwriting. When you hear Hezekiah Jones’ music, you have the profound sense that a weird band of back-country geniuses have briefly descended from their cloistered home on a hill to play for you, like a roving band of thespians in Shakespeare.
(It may be a hill in an alternate timeline.)
The songs are full of piercing observations on the human condition, always tinged with optimism. There’s also a smattering of details that place them in a vaguely post-apocalyptic landscape full of endless roiling wars and the Mississippi river expanded out to a sea.
“If You Harden On The Inside” could easily be a handclaps-and-harmony 60s pop song if it was dressed up with a full band arrangement. Instead, a whimsical chorus of Hezekiahs sings “blah blah blah” as backing to the track, later joined by a swell of electric pianos. As the song whirrs to life with its halting rhythm it gives serious vibes of Dirty Projectors.
Cutrufello AKA Jones plays everything on this track save for drums by Daniel Bower (AKA Roy G. Biv Jones) and bass by Philip D’Agostino (AKA Pepe Jones), a Philly music scene legend and touring member of Get The Led Out.
Half your saints
Are playing video games
Or they’re out doing meth
Or too depressed to get out of bed
All these bodies
What a delicate make
If you harden on the inside
You’ll be easy to break
Gave into love
Their guard would be down
We could steal all their stuff
That is the paradox of our human fragility in three stanzas, each repeated to make sure the message sinks in. [Read more…] about Song of the Day: “If You Harden On The Inside” by Hezekiah Jones