Californian visits Yacht Club


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Singer Robert Jon grew up watching his father play different instruments. He said his dad loved music and loved playing it. The musician credits his father, now a retired teacher, for inspiring him.
While touring the Midwest, the singer/songwriter will stop to perform at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., at 9 p.m. today. He will sing from his most recent self-titled EP.

Jon’s dad is not his only inspiration — he also pointed to his family as a whole for supporting him. He often finds motivation in their different struggles and joys, he said.

His older brother, Casey Cox, who has deep appreciation for his brother’s music, said Jon’s ability to understand instruments comes from their father.

“He captures the heart of this generation,” Cox said. “His passion comes through his music very clearly. Robert Jon has an ability to understand instruments and then use them to express himself.”

Jon started playing the piano in first grade. In fifth grade, he learned how to play the drums, and in seventh, he moved on to the guitar.

The 21-year-old recorded his first album, Stand, last year. However, he said, his newly released EP was more of the music he liked and in line with the kind of music he wants to play.

His music is about more than sitting down and writing songs, he said. For him, it is a form to express himself.

“It’s how I vocalize my thoughts,” Jon said. “It’s what I do.”

Hailing from Long Beach, Calif., he and the members of his group are not looking forward to the cold Iowa winter.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” he said. “I’ve only been out to a Midwest winter once. We’re just waiting for it to shock us and hoping that the roads are clear.”

He enjoys the adventure aspect of touring, and is also excited to meet new people. He thinks the Midwest is “downright nice” compared with his experience in Los Angeles.

When not touring, Jon works at a coffee shop. He also performs in two other bands, playing the keyboards in one and backing on guitar or piano in the other. He said his musical passion occupies most of his time.

Cox said Jon’s songs are how he expresses his heart. He spoke of the way in which songs can sometimes have a good beat but no lyrics and vice versa and credits Jon for not succumbing to this loss of balance.

“You can hear his words and his lyrics, but the music isn’t lost,” Cox said.

Another important aspect of Jon’s music is his performances, which he said enhances his music. With his tour underway, he said, he enjoys audience interaction.

“I like [the audience] to feel the music and dance around and clap their hands,” he said. “I enjoy my music more when I can watch other people enjoying it.”

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