There are so many things right with “Prelude,” the debut full-length CD from Orlando band Chasing Jonah. The stunning musical arrangements, the relatable, heartfelt lyrics and the passionate, soulful lead vocals all combine into one artistic musical adventure in ten stellar songs.
Lead singer/songwriter/music arranger Ashley Dudukovich is the person behind Chasing Jonah. She is the one responsible for writing the songs and for bringing together the team of musicians and producers (Brock Berryhill and Evan Coffman at Starlight Studios) that would bring her songs to life as she envisioned them. She did her job well.
For anyone who is familiar with Dudukovich’s music, there doesn’t need to be much said about how it draws one in while listening, or how the songs are heard with the ears and felt with the heart, or about how the songs stay with a listener long after the music stops playing. It should serve as a warning to the uninitiated though; it only takes one listen of one song, to get hooked on Chasing Jonah’s music.
The first single, “It Wouldn’t Be Right” starts off the CD with steady beats, a soaring vocal and twirling music as the song builds momentum before cascading down and then back up again. The jangly guitar and spirited strings in “Run” create a nice backdrop to Dudkovich’s emotional vocal which at times drops to a breathy whisper.
“Cruel” has a slight blues vibe as it starts off and then the floating strings join the stuttering music as Dudukovich shares some lyrical gems such as “Broken and bleeding angry and dark/my spite was quite bitter/your lies were so tall” and asks “Why are lovers so cruel?” The beautiful, haunting piano ballad “How” is followed by the steady beating “And the Clocks Moved.”
“Miss Lorraine” is a very popular song out of Dudukovich’s arsenal. It’s easy to hear why; the up-tempo blues song with a retro feel has a lot to offer including a very sassy lead vocal from Dudukovich. “As You Want To” opens with a bare acoustic beginning and then blossoms out with the addition of the strings and piano as Dudukovich sings “I’m scared like anyone else/do all I can to guard myself/but you can’t have the good if you don’t take the bad.”
Her vocals on “Till Somebody Tells Us So” change back and forth as much as the music does, starting with a touching heartfelt lead vocal, to a strong, determined vibe and even includes an unexpected rapped verse towards the end of the song. The CD closes with the tender “Only One I’d Sing To” and the ethereal, hopeful sounds of “As Long As You Let Me Try.”
As a side note, three of the songs on “Prelude” appear on the band’s previously released EP, “And the Clocks Moved.” All three, “Run,” “Cruel” and “And the Clocks Moved,” have all been beautifully redone for this new CD.