Jo Kroger — Singer-Songwriter, or Storyteller

Jo Kroger

By Liza Jill Meyers of Indie Band Guru

Something about Jo Kroger’s “Simplest” reminds me of a child’s first experiences of a summer day at the beach or their first family road-trip.

Maybe it reminds me of my own childhood: windows down, playing my favorite song on a winding worn-out cassette in the car, anticipating the first summer splashes of the waves, thinking, “I’ve always got hope once I get to the coasts, ‘cause I can always jump into the ocean.”

Jo Kroger, Master Storyteller

Kroger, a Cincinnati chick uprooted to New York City, has a “crystalized” voice, clear and precise, “simple as syrup.”

Not only a master of articulation, but also a master of language, Kroger uses different patterns of repetition with poetic devices. She blends anaphora, epiphora, alliteration, and rhyme, and even uses word painting with the word “drown” towards the close of the song, singing the word as if the word itself were drowning.

Kroger’s voice juxtaposes with the grit of the guitar in a subtle synchronicity. The froggy tones and funky rhythm of the guitar generates these electric moments of curiosity, meshing the hometown country sounds of Kroger’s vocals with the contemporary urban vibes of the instrumentals. With a fullness reminiscent of a girl band, and a timbre a bit like Jenny Lewis, Kroger creates an explosive alternative-folk genre.

Kroger’s intricacy is impactful, but her storytelling is a skill. “Simplest” sounds like a note jotted down by Kroger, to tell herself of her own travels, her own trips, and more importantly where she has been:

“I left Johanna back in Cincinnati” and “Take me back to California where the girls are pretty and the boys are pretty…and get me back to New York City where the streets are pretty ‘cause the streets are gritty.”

So, for my next road-trip, maybe on my way to the ocean, with the windows down, Kroger’s “Simplest” will be the song playing on my radio.

Hear more Jo Kroger at her site or on SoundCloud.

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