Philly’s Hezekiah Jones Plays
The Ardmore Music Hall
By Rob Nagy
Inspired by the works of Theolonius Monk, Pink Floyd and the Lemonheads, veteran Philly songwriter and multitalented musician Raphael Cutrufello continues to follow his passion as an accomplished songwriter, solo artist and front man for the indie folk rock band Hezekiah Jones.
Cutrufello’s gift for writing songs dates back to his days in
school, writing soundtracks for fictitious films, a practice that ultimately
found him pursuing a career in music.
“I got into music because I like to write,” says Cutrufello from his home in suburban Philadelphia. “Anything that gives me the opportunity to keep writing and digging into those parts of it is a benefit to me. It’s nice to have people listening especially when I have an outlet where people respond positively to the work we’re doing. But I imagine I would still be writing a lot without that aspect”.
“Songwriting is something that hasn’t necessarily come easy, but it’s something I have always enjoyed putting the time into to make sure the songs are penned how I want them,” adds Cutrufello. “I guess I get a little obsessive when I’m writing about stuff. I just don’t want to throw something out there.”
Releasing their debut album, “Hezekiah Says You’re A-OK” in 2006, the band has gone on to release a combined 9 EPs and full-length albums. Their latest effort, the EP “Har! Har! Har!” released in 2016 was followed by the current single “If You Harden on the Inside” (2017) to benefit the Women’s Law Project, an organization dedicated to advancing the rights and status of all women through high-impact litigation, advocacy and education.
“It was right around the time that people were raising a lot of money for ACLU and charities like that. I talked with a friend of mine who was working with them and I asked her how were they doing. Were they seeing any bumps in their fundraising since the election? She said she hadn’t seen anything. So I thought I would do something to help them and put them on the radar for other people to see if they want to donate as well.”
Formed in 2006, Hezekiah Jones, which currently features a line up that includes, Raphael Cutrufello – Hezekiah Jones (acoustic guitar, vocals, keyboards), Brad Hinton - Pocono Jones – (Electric Guitar, Vocals, Lap Steel Guitar, Acoustic Guitar), Daniel Bower - Roy G. Biv Jones – (Drums, Vocals), Kiley Ryan - Kiwi Jones – (Violin, Vocals) and Philip D'Agostino - Pepe Jones (Bass, Vocals) has featured varied line-ups of talented musicians with Cutrufello remaining as the one constant since their inception.
“I’ve been doing this professionally for over 10 years,” says Cutrufello. “I played in a lot of other bands before this, but I’ve stuck with this project for a while now. The band has changed a lot. There have been many members of the band through the years. It depends on who is around for particular shows.”
“We’ve gotten locked into the Americana label as far as our music,” adds Cutrufello. “For me it’s whatever the song dictates and how it’s supposed to sound, so that can be a little more difficult to describe as a particular genre. Americana seems to be the label people like to use for us.”
Routinely finding opportunities to expand his creative reach, Cutrufello has scored music for films and an eBook as well as doing side projects with Chris Bathgate, The Spinning Leaves and The Moonlight Family Singers, among others.
I’ve been working on soundtrack work and writing for other artist’s albums,” says Cutrufello. “The process changes for me as time goes on depending on the song I’m working on. I’ll change up the way I go about it from time to time just to keep it fresh if I feel I’m kind of getting stagnate with things. I do some film score work. We just worked on a Civil War soundtrack for a Civil War movie. I love that kind of work. I just really like writing to film because I’ve always had a love of movies.”
Engrossed in a challenging music landscape that continues to go through radical changes, Cutrufello faces the challenges of being a musician and managing the business responsibilities that require his constant attention.
“The industry itself changes so often musically, you have to have a new model of how you are doing things or releasing things every couple of years,” says Cutrufello. “There are benefits to having YouTube and Spotify and things like that but the income streams have shrunk an awful lot, which has made things very difficult.”
“It can be a little overwhelming when really what you want to do is writing instead of handling all the sides of it which can take you out of the creative place you really want to be in,” adds Cutrufello. “It makes it hard to get your brain back into the creative stages and you can’t force it.”
Nominated in 2012 as Best Indie Rock Band/ Americana Band by Tri-State Indie Awards, Hezekiah Jones remains a regional fan favorite and a presence in the Philly music scene.
“We do have a nice fan base in this area,” says Cutrufello. “We used to do a lot of touring in the Midwest and the South but it just got harder and harder to do. We’ve been lucky in the sense that people continue to come out to our shows. I’d like our fans to know that I love them and thank you. I’m happy with my life and where I am with it.”
Hezekiah Jones, HR of Bad Brains and Mason Porter perform at the Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003, on Saturday July 15, 2017 at 6:00 P.M. For tickets, go to www.ardmoremusichall.com.
To stay up to date with Hezekiah Jones visit www.Hezekiahjones.com