The Grand Rapids-turned-Indy artist has put a life-altering medical crisis behind him with ‘full-gear’ touring and a new EP ahead. Plus, hear new tracks by Chasing the Sky, Jim Shaneberger and much more.
A gas station hot dog changed – and nearly ended – Jonny Carroll’s life.
The painful, calamitous episode that left the Grand Rapids singer-songwriter in the intensive care unit of an Indianapolis hospital for two weeks late last year not only convinced Carroll to start eating healthier, but also found him reassessing what’s really important in life.
“I now have an eight-inch scar, an acute urgency for living fully and a reasonable disdain for gas station warm food,” he says, recalling the “perfect storm” of “unfortunate events” that began after Thanksgiving when he suffered food poisoning from eating a gas station hot dog.
Complications stemming from that food poisoning, a bowel obstruction and subsequent bowel perforation had doctors scratching their heads at the hospital. It eventually led to atrial fibrillation, a burst appendix and surgery from which Carroll has now fortunately recovered.
“It was really kind of a wakeup call in some ways. I’ve been trying to make healthier decisions,” Carroll concedes, though he’s not sure if the incident will inspire any new songs. “I’m kind of terrified to write a song about a hot dog.”
Instead, Carroll and his band are “ready to swing into full gear” this year, playing a headlining show at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids on Saturday night, followed by an East Coast tour next month with Indianapolis’ Joshua Powell & The Great Train Robbery and a return to the recording studio in April to work on a follow-up EP to 2016’s “Leaving on the Light.”
A NEW YEAR, A NEW MUSICAL CHAPTER
Carroll, drummer Joel Worsham and bassist Megin Worsham dropped by the studios of WYCE-FM (88.1) for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE to talk about their plans and perform two songs – “Painted Jars” and “Words Unspoken” – on the air. Listen to the full podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE with Jonny Carroll (2/24/17)
For Carroll, 2017 signals a new chapter for a guitarist and singer who first made his mark in West Michigan by simply playing on street corners and busking for passersby. He eventually took his street musicianship and fetching, pop-hued folk songs – inspired by the likes of Passenger, Noah Gundersen, Simon & Garfunkel and others – to the United Kingdom, where he learned the art of creating attention-getting music, making connections and working hard.
“It changed the way that I wrote music and the way that I perceived music,” he offers.
“I learned which songs were duds a lot faster and which ones weren’t. You’re playing to essentially people that by default are not going to listen. (You have) to present something that they think is extra spectacular for them to even stop and drop a dollar or a pound or wherever you are.”
At the urging of fellow musician Joshua Powell, Carroll last year moved to Indianapolis, with the idea that it’s more centrally located for touring the Midwest – though he regularly returns to Grand Rapids because it remains his “biggest market.”
“I am renting a place in Indy currently, but consider myself a Michigan resident still, at least according to my driver’s license,” he notes. “My band and I decided to relocate to Indy because we are beginning the transition into full-time touring and Indy happens to be smack dab in the middle of the markets we want to grow the most. Living in Indy means being no more than five hours away from Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids – and NYC is just a four-day weekend tour away.”
Saturday night’s all-ages show at The Pyramid Scheme will feature performances by Jonny Carroll and his band, Joshua Powell & The Great Train Robbery, KOHNS and Andrew Gulledge, a Grand Rapids singer-songwriter who Carroll chose as his Local Spins “musician’s pick” of the week.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Get details and tickets online at pyramidschemebar.com.
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE also featured the on-air debut of songs by Jim Shaneberger, Andrew Gulledge, Chasing the Sky, The Film Stars, Weezil Malone Band, Devin & Jordan (of Devin & The Dead Frets) and Nathan Kalish & The Lastcallers, as well as a track from Nicholas James & The Bandwagon’s most recent album. Listen to the podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (2/24/17)
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