Jon Troast

When next you head home from the office, don’t be surprised if you find Mr. Jon Troast sitting in your living room, strumming away the day with a soothing tune… actually do be surprised. That would be weird. Really weird. In fact, it’s probably not Jon Troast and you should immediately call the police.

The Jon Troast we know has a hit single on Sirius XM’s “CoffeHouse” – a ditty titled “The Most”, and he’s actually invited to come play in living rooms across the country. Troast tells the story best: “I was falling asleep one night, evaluating what I'd been doing musically and why I was playing in the first place. I came to the conclusion that I really just wanted to connect with people who wanted to listen. I'd rather play for five people in a living room who were engaged and asking questions than 50 people walking in and out of a bar. I sent out an email the next morning, not knowing what to expect. It really took off, and I've done close to 450 house shows since.”

Pretty cool. If you do invite Jon over to your place, you’ll likely hear work off of his EP, “A” – a release that rings with folk style, with a twist. A meeting between “Jim Croce and Jack Johnson” says Jon. He continues on about “A”: “This was the first project I've done using mainly electric guitar. It's a hollow body my grandpa gave me. The instrumentation is fairly simple- drums, bass, two guitars and vocals for most of it. It's a whole lot of fun.” Troast is wrapping up a tour now before heading back into the studio, only to get right back out on the road again. Check his schedule. There’s much, much more to get into, so keep reading for the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Jon Troast

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others?

Jon Troast (JT): I usually say it's folky and funky, somewhere between Jim Croce and Jack Johnson.

PEV: Growing up in the Midwest, and now living in Nashville, Tennessee, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

JT: I wouldn't say I had one main influence. I grew up listening to a lot of classical music and hymns, but my taste has gradually expanded. Living in Nashville, I'm definitely getting into some of the old country.

PEV: What was it like for you when you first started out in the music business?

JT: Well, I started playing in high school, and loved music, but had no idea how to make a living at it. I started doing more and more of it during and after college, and eventually got to a point where I thought I could go full time. That was over six years ago.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

JT: There were times early on, when I'd finish a show and have the chance to talk with some folks afterward. Hearing the way the songs connected with them was a real encouragement. A couple years ago, I started doing house concerts, and the connection just became all the more apparent.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a Jon Troast performance?

JT: Well, hopefully it's entertaining and fun, but at the same time thought-provoking. I try to be accessible and honest from the stage.

PEV: Speaking of performances, tell us about your house concerts you’ve been doing. How did this all come about and how has the response been?

JT: I was falling asleep one night, evaluating what I'd been doing musically and why I was playing in the first place. I came to the conclusion that I really just wanted to connect with people who wanted to listen. I'd rather play for five people in a living room who were engaged and asking questions than 50 people walking in and out of a bar. I sent out an email the next morning, not knowing what to expect. It really took off, and I've done close to 450 house shows since.

PEV: Any preshow rituals before you take the stage or do you just wing it?

JT: Not much of a ritual. I usually drink water and warm up a little bit vocally, but that's about it. I try to avoid eating onions:)

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

JT: Ideas come from a variety of sources. Usually it's a combination of social interaction and time along to process it.

PEV: Tell us about your latest release, the EP “A” and what can fans expect from this work?

JT: This was the first project I've done using mainly electric guitar. It's a hollow body my grandpa gave me. The instrumentation is fairly simple- drums, bass, two guitars and vocals for most of it. It's a whole lot of fun.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

JT: There are times I sit down to write and don't come up with much, but I never feel like I'm getting writer's block. I guess I don't put that kind of pressure on myself. Usually, I have quite a few songs that I'd like to record which is a good position to be in.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Jon Troast?

JT: ...I've never been on a roller coaster.

PEV: What one word best describes Jon Troast?

JT: Simple.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

JT: Doing house concerts is a great way to travel. I usually have a place to sleep and I eat really well. Meeting people all over the country and sharing music in an environment where people can listen is great. The hardest part is not seeing the same people consistently and missing out on regular community.

PEV: Your hit single, “The Most” (a PensEyeView.com staff favorite) is becoming a popular song on Sirius XM “CoffeeHouse” Channel. What was it like to hear your song on such a large station? As well, what inspired this song?

JT: It's been great hearing "The Most" on the Coffeehouse! It's a great station and it's fun to know that other people are listening.  

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

JT: They're all very supportive. Playing hometown shows is fun, because it's a lot of people who've been encouraging me since the early days.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

JT: Exercising, reading, trying to keep my house plants alive...

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

JT: There's a Nashville artist named Matthew Perryman Jones you should probably check out.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

JT: Not sure. I was working at a non-profit before, wearing a shirt and tie. Some sort of trade might be fun. Woodworking? Of course, you've got to watch your hands around those saws!

PEV: So, what is next for Jon Troast?

JT: Finishing up my current tour, then starting another recording in August. It's the second in a series of 4 EPs. Then probably more touring in Sept. and Oct./Nov.

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