The Unsung Folk Singer
By Atiya King
On a day in which the typical fickle Georgia weather can’t decide what it wants to do, Woodstock-based singer-songwriter Jonathan Peyton opts to spend his afternoon in a cool, music-filled coffee shop in the heart of his hometown. It’s just the type of place one would expect to find a musician. His seriously slept-on, 9-track project gives listeners a glimpse into his heart, soul, and past. “I’m learning to heal/When I lose your touch, I find my feel/But sometimes it’s hard to break a 25-year-old chain,” he sings gently on the first track entitled “Twenty-five,” which is on his 2016 album, Waters Below.
Waters Below is an iced-tea-sippin’, porch-sittin’, chillin’ on a beautiful day type of album. The effortless harmonies, modest arrangements, and Peyton’s soothing, yet subtly gruff voice is relaxing. That is until one truly listens to the lyrics. The album is deep, heavy, and sometimes dark. Peyton says the songs are very personal. His past has come with a few ups and downs. And, like many artists, those who really make listeners think, feel, question, and confront their own emotions, songwriting became his outlet.
Writing Waters Below was cathartic. In “Hey Mister,” he sings, “I hear what you’re saying, but you can’t come home/You burned that bridge so many years ago.” In “Bad Blood,” he croons, “There’s been bad blood under our skin/Don’t know where it started/This is where it ends.” These are easily two of the album’s most gut-wrenching songs. Both are about confronting difficulties, shedding the anger and pain many people unknowingly wear like tattoos, and coming out on the other side a better man.
Peyton, who got his love of music from his dad, is a thirty-year-old father of three, who sings with his wife, Abigail. The song “Love Me So” was written about her. The addictive ditty reveals all the best parts of being in love. “It’s amazing how you see me/So different than I see me/Though my scars may show/Your patient heart still loves me so,” they sing. The passion is resounding, indicative of real love, understanding, and the willingness to see past flaws and all.
Peyton’s newest EP, Where Do We Stand, was released in March. On the title track, Peyton sings, “I’ll wave my white flag/Only if you wave yours back.” He reveals that this body of work, much like Waters Below, is about emotional growth, but this time around, he’s tackled his past and is grateful for his present.
Peyton may not be known by many, but he should be. The self-taught guitar player is a truly gifted and impressive singer with something to say and a voice worth being heard. Check him out on Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp.com, and JonathanPeytonMusic.com.