Sound Proof
Sound Proof
JASON HANLEY (GTR/VOCALS),... and friends ...

LOWCUT MAGAZINE (Denmark) Sound Proof- Sound Proof (Nasoni Records 059CD) I´ll start by saying that is this not what you would expect from Nasoni Records but don´t let that put you off. Sound Proof are a Florida based 60´s inspired blues-folk band. They feature male and female vocals (ala. Jefferson Airplane) and feature electric and acoustic guitars, percussion, blues harp and bass and keyboards on a few of the more electric tracks. This is quite stoned blues stuff in a good 60´s way. Very retro in sound and feel but that is cool. A lot of the music is improvised and jammed, which I like quite a lot. You can tell they are having a good time and you will too if you light one up and have a cold beer and crank this sucker up! If you dig: Country Joe and the Fish, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Posted March 31, 2007

It may not qualify as a musical empire, but Jason Hanley´s Sound Proof Productions has become a Lake Worth epicenter for under-the-radar local music. The singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer goes by his recording label name rather than his own when producing music by other artists. The Web site, and even his own live gigs, are also billed as Sound Proof. Ask the Detroit native why, and you get an answer that goes beyond humility. "It´s very methodical, actually," Hanley says from work at the Java Juicebar (an extension of his other downtown Lake Worth job at the adjoining newsstand, Studio 205). "I´m doing business as Sound Proof Productions. It´s the name I´m using to build the label, and a performance name to let people know to expect the kind of music I´m producing. The name itself goes back to childhood. My real name is Jason Durham, not Jason Hanley. My stepfather adopted me, and I had to adjust to the fact that I had no control over that. But my art is the music that I´ve created, and the sound is proof." Hanley records artists, at either his home studio or at remote locations, through his laptop computer, which he´s equipped with ProTools recording technology. The two-dozen CDs available on the Web site are either by Sound Proof or a handful of other artists, from local flutist Jim Kovalcik to Moonhead, a Denver band Hanley befriended while touring. The label´s latest release is Grasp of Your Attraction by the Onion Band, comprised of area singing guitarists Jack Heideier and Steve Rodgers and singing bassist Phil Mann. A compilation CD, Live at the, ranges from overdubbed solo performances by multi-instrumentalists Jason White, Melissa Griffin and Paul Bobit to tracks by combined labelmates from different groups. Aside from the site´s MP3 player, there´s an MP3Cafe link that´s actually a forum for political opinions; a couple of featured soundtrack projects, and partnerships to distribute other companies´ CDs. Plus, there´s plenty of music available for download; a calendar of Sound Proof performances, and a "Make a Donation" link that makes you wonder how often Hanley gets help in his musical crusade. "Never," he says with a laugh. "We´ve never gotten a donation. I´ve sold a few CDs on the site, but there are about 60 tunes people can download for free, so they don´t even need to really buy them. But I sold a couple CDs today here at work. I have an MP3 player on my phone, so I can let customers sample songs that way." Hanley returns from a road date in Asheville, N.C., to play a Sound Proof co-headlining show with singer/songwriter Ric Pattison at 8 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Luna Star Cafe, 775 N.E. 125th St., North Miami. Phone: (305) 799-7123. Be the first-ever donor to www.soundproof, and he may even buy you a smoothie.

Local CDs have been piling up on my desk, gathering dust and silently demanding my attention. In an effort to clean up the mess in my cubicle, I offer you these reviews in what may be my most positive local-CD roundup ever. Live at the by Sound Proof and Friends ( At first, I was turned off by the press release that came with this CD, which featured one music critic hailing Sound Proof, a.k.a. Jason Hanley, as "soulful acoustic blues-rock" and never-negative Palm Beach Post critic Bill Meredith calling Hanley "a musical freedom fighter." But, in fact, the tunes on this album draw as much from world-music influences as they do from blues or rock, making it a good soundtrack for a wake-and-bake, lazy Sunday morning. Bongos, swirling guitars, lengthy instrumentals and positive lyrics fill the disc. It starts off slowly, giving you time for the coffee and whatnot to kick in, before picking up with a clever cover of the klezmer tune "Russian Sher." The album mellows out again with the reggae-inflected "Some May Say," then grows dull with the 16-minute, New-Agey flute solo "Living in Harmony." But until that nap-inducing ninth track, the album´s varied influences make for an intriguing listen.

This is an MP3 of cafe folk-blues with heavy intrusions of jam, psyche, rock, jazz, and whatever the spirit of the moment directs. It´s raw, gritty, passionate, home-made, and adventurous as hell. Jason Hanley´s a guy who´s seen a few rough tumbles in life (adopted, jailed, dealt drugs, etc.), wised up, reached deeply into his soul, and emerged an artist of more than a few talents and merits. Nor has his dance on the edge of things hardened him: the guy runs a recording studio dedicated to getting grassroots music out to people in a communal effort. It´s no accident that his band Sound Proof is the sort of ensemble one might have run into in the 70s, openers for a some more famous group at The Whiskey A Go Go. It´s drenched with the stoned boundlessness that the creatives of the era enjoyed in abundance. When in full envelope-stretching mode, there are distinct echoes of Amon Duul II and Can (Screamin), but his true base is kinda like Donovan pumped on coffee, anger, and a more obtuse cognizance of social conditions. Political commentary populates Sound Proof´s lyrics right alongside sociological insight and psychological teardowns. Hanley´s vocals are sometimes mellifluous but far more often strong and ringing, occasionally quivering with heat and intensity. He found a brilliant contrast inâ?Śwell, it´s either Gail Pemberton or Victoria Pearson, the liner´s woefully inadequate re: credits and several inquiries have found Hanley apparently unwilling to communicate...a lazily confident chanteuse with a road vet´s art-smarts, gorgeously bedding Hanley´s passion in a resonant feminine counterpoint, soul-based and bayou smoky, delicious. Though it´s next-to-last in the line-up, Man is an excellent entrypoint for the guy´s work. Fueled by a driving rhythm, it displays what are frequently Richie Kotzen-ish leanings to full effect. A wealth of instrumental colorations flesh out the song and quickly draw the listener deep into pulsing recesses. Played in a live situation, Sound Proof´s work would get the joint jumpin´ and bring the customers back for more, week after week. Though there are technical problems here and there, a glitch or two, with one song almost collapsing, the sheer energy and willingness to go out to the edge more than make up for all that. Larry Coryell used to execute of-the-moment improvs in his 70s tours and Hanley´s work shows both sides of that kind of daring, succeeding far more than failing. And, hey, isn´t it the honesty to document a full spectrum, warts and all, that illustrates just how wide the palette really is? Even the righteously surreal cover painting is indicative of how far-ranging this cat gets. Elsewhere in FAME, I reviewed Troy Faid. He and Hanley are spiritual cousins. Brash, ballsy, intense, and packed to the nines with ideas, gusto, and integrity, Sound Proof is what art is made of, from the street up. I hope to hell this sort of undercurrent catches on, because, now that the indies have been hopelessly co-opted by Warners, Coors, Nike, and Trojans, this is the new alt-rock. Its promises are tantalizing.

Sound Proof is a collection of songs and music built around the styles of the musicians and artists who perform them. Therefore, the music is fluid and free of monotony or any structured format (Other than the rhythm of the moment).â? That quote is cut and pasted right off the website of this east coast trio who sent me their prolific CD this week. This largely acoustic music initially reminded me of some bluesy folk artists of the late sixties, with touches of John Mayall, Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. Beginning with the political overtones of â??Money Machineâ?, this music moves along like a live jam session being recorded in someone´s living room. The feeling is loose, experimental and improvisational. Daniels Drum is an aptly named tune where the musicians seem to be playing anything that resembles percussion instruments, including Mom´s pots and pans. The lead vocalist sings in a deep, soulful voice that is slightly reminiscent of Country Joe MacDonald. â??Alwaysâ? is an effectively moody number with harmonica flourishes, abstract lyrics and jazzy rhythm guitar. â??Screaminâ? definitely sounded like Jefferson Airplane´s instrumental material a la â??Embryonic Journeyâ? and is nicely augmented by female vocal parts. Though this disc draws heavily from the influences I have cited, it stands on its own as music unique to today´s sometimes pasteurized sounding records. Some of the lyrics are a bit politically clichĂ?Š but the overall mood of the disc hearkens back to simpler, less encumbered production values of today´s modern rock or folk music. If I am suddenly taken by the urge to light some incense, plug in my psychedelic lights and lay back on my waterbed, this will be my music of choice.

Sound Proof´s self-titled effort is a calm trip through a well-crafted landscape of organic sound, and on the whole, its songs, while simple, lack pretentiousness in any and all regards. Rather than attempting big budget drama that it likely can´t afford, the group clearly aimed at capturing a minimalist sound. However, where many have struggled with a similar approach, Sound Proof succeeds, utilizing its acoustic guitar accompaniments to punctuate the "laid back and chilled over ice" ambience of the entire album. There are touches of folk and Latin-tinged flourishes that grace the collection, and a faint echo of reminiscence hangs over many of the tunes. Tracks such as Jakeamya show off a heartfelt sentiment that is severely lacking in today´s angst-y musical world, and with a sonic diversity that rumbles from power odes to head-bobbing grooves to harmonica showpieces, the album is chock-full of quality material. Granted, Sound Proof isn´t for everyone â? it´s music is far too relaxed for that, but while no barriers are broken, none are left unexplored.

The stuff on this record varies from track to track, which makes it an interesting piece in the whole. Floating psychedlic and accoustic guitars sometimes melt in space where minutes before country blues had given us secure grounds somewhere in the farmland. These guys are all good musicians who know their instruments well and love to play.