Jon Langford & the Bright Shiners Where It Really Starts

US release date: 26 April 2024
CD: 7 98234 00599 0
LP: 7 98234 00598 3


For The Queen Of Hearts
Awake The Land Of The Shadows
Old Lost Dog
On A Scale Of One To Nine
Tell Me Your Story
The Emperor’s Fiddle
Far Sighted Ghost
I Have A Wish

Jon Langford’s been in more bands than you have digits – and that’s true even if you were born with a few extras! From his early days in Mekons, Delta 5, Three Johns and even Sisters Of Mercy (booted for not wearing black) to a veritable explosion of one-off recordings and performances with more names than we could ever hope to list in full. A Wikipedia description for this group, The Bright Shiners (described therein as ‘circa 2022 through at least 2023, in Northern California’) provides some sense of the complex taxonomy needed just to keep track of Jon’s massive oeuvre.
Happily, that’s an understated description of a serious new outlet for his endless creativity, and The Bright Shiners’ recording activities have produced a full album, Where It Really Starts, the first recording in a collaboration with Tamineh Gueramy, Alice Spencer, and Jon’s frequent musical partner, John Szymanski.

Jon’s never sung or written better, and the sense that the band realised they were onto something great is palpable in an instant. Each song is a minimalistic jewel – there’s nothing here that doesn’t need to be – yet the album is unsparing of aptly astonishing adornment – wonderful harmonies, horns, mellotron, bowed guitar, piano. looped percussion and more), by our reckoning this is one of Jon’s finest works of art and his best outfit outside The Mekons themselves.
Jon Langford & the Bright Shiners will tour mercilessly throughout 2024.



Lucky Seven Series, Part 3

Tiny Global Productions – PICI-0043-7,PICI-0044-7,PICI-0046-7

A Jon Langford (2) W/ Bethany Thomas & John Szymanski– Not Enough Love To Go Round 3:45
B Jon Langford (2) W/ Bethany Thomas & John Szymanski– It’s A Secret 3:47
C Jon Langford (2) & Steve Forward– Little Monsters 3:22
D Jon Langford (2) & Steve Forward– Drunk On Electricity 3:11
E Jon Langford (2) & The Skull Orchard Welsh Male Choir– The One That Got Away 3:08
F Jon Langford (2) & The Skull Orchard Welsh Male Choir– Genius 2:26

Pine Valley Cosmonauts: Closing Time 2020

1Ol’ 55
2I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love With You
3Virginia Avenue
4Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards)
5Midnight Lullaby
9Ice Cream Man
10Little Trip To Heaven (On The Wings Of Your Love)
11Grapefruit Moon
12Closing Time

Virtue Cider founder, Gregory Hall, in partnership with his dear friend and Chicago musician, Jon Langford, is releasing a record called The Closing Time. 100% of proceeds benefit CIVL SAVE Emergency Relief Fund which provides immediate micro-grants to Chicago’s music community members who are most in need of financial support due to COVID-19.

The record includes 16 Chicago musicians such as Jon Langford, Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Bird, Rosie Flores, Janet Bean and Sally Timms, that have recreated Closing Time – the 1973 debut album by multi-GRAMMY Award® winning, ACADEMY AWARD® nominated, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted songwriter Tom Waits.

Jon Langford’s Lucky Seven Series, part 2

The bold second series of Jon Langford and pals doing their thing creating art and music. This series is a three-way battle between Satan, Jesus and Mum, and features Jon solo, with Skull Orchard, singing and playing with pals Bethany Thomas & John Szymanski, plus an exclusive remix of Band Of Holy Joy’s “The Devil Has A Hold On The Line” by Youth (famed producer and Killing Joke’s genius bassist.) 

Jon Langford’s Lucky Seven Series, Part 1

released September 19, 2020

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard: Losers (4:11)
GW Sok & Oma: Aberfan 1966 (4:41)
Jon Langford: & Skull Orchard Hey! Rockstar (4:35)
Jon Langford: & Skull Orchids* F.O. Warman (4:37)
Jon Langford: & The Skull Orchard Welsh Male Choir Only The River (3:32)
Jon Langford: & The Skull Orchard Welsh Male Choir Big White Clou (3:51)

This series of singles was inspired by those fine musicians who regularly use their medium as a The bold second series of Jon Langford and pals doing their thing creating art and music. This series is a three-way battle between Satan, Jesus and Mum, and features Jon solo, with Skull Orchard, singing and playing with pals Bethany Thomas & John Szymanski, plus an exclusive remix of Band Of Holy Joy’s “The Devil Has A Hold On The Line” by Youth (famed producer and Killing Joke’s genius bassist.)  of encouraging political change, expressing those truths which go untold in mainstream media, offering perspective to the inquisitive and camaraderie to fellow travellers.

We are at a strange moment. Economic and political tensions building in the decades since the Reagan / Thatcher era are exploding throughout much of the world. A worldwide pandemic has exposed further exposed the inequality and injustice which affects many more people than the number who benefit from it. In their small way, these songs hope to speak to all of this and more.

Men Of Gwent: President Of Wales


Released November 19, 2019 on Country Miles Records, CMR024

Grave Alexandra
Bulmore Lido
Blue To Black
X-Ray Style
Frankie Lodge
Hey! Rebecca
Home Of The Vote
Bassaleg Road Earthquake
President Of Wales
London To Llanelli Line

Four years on from their warmly received debut, the new album continues with themes around the bands home city of Newport and across Wales including opener “Grave Alexandra” which documents the 1909 Docks Disaster that killed 46 workers. “Bulmore Lido” covers the closure of an open air swimming pool in Caerleon where Jon Langford “nearly drowned” and “Home Of The Vote” outlines the recent new developments in the city centre while referring back to the legacy of the Chartists. The song “London to Llanelli Line” records a chance meeting with the late Deke Leonard of the band Man. The sadly departed local crooner Frankie Lodge has a song where he is mentioned alongside the legendary Alan Vega (singer of the American band Suicide). Elsewhere Joe Strummer is digging graves in “Bassaleg Road Earthquake” while the title track “President of Wales” gives Jon the opportunity to let the world know “he can never go home”…

Four Lost Souls

CD track listing:

Poor Valley Radio
Natchez Train
I Thought He Was Dead
In Oxford Mississippi
Half Way Home
Fish Out Of Water
What’s My Name?
Snake Behind Glass
I Felt My Courage Fail

Release Day: September 22, 2017

Recorded in Muscle Shoals with famed producer Norbert Putnam and legends of the illustrious Muscle Shoals musical history

Go here for the full annotated story

HERE’S a great long-form interview and story about the creation of the album from the Chicago Reader

Carted to Alabama under the cloud of dark politics, a band drew a glistening straight line from punk to country to soul to grand theater. On November 8th, the day after the 2016 election, Welsh-bred, Chicago-based musician and visual artist Jon Langford and a crew of merry-makers and alchemists filed into the NuttHouse studio, a one-story former bank building in Sheffield, Ala. (population 9,039). The musicians from Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, and just over the Tennessee River bridge made the pilgrimage to a place of legend and myth, where music runs as deep as the river’s current, to see what might come of it all.

Four Lost Souls, recorded over four days, originated in 2015, 100 miles north in Nashville where Langford produced artwork for Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, the long-running exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Fate had it that one of those Nashville Cats, bassist and producer Norbert Putnam, was so enamored with Langford’s paintings and piratey singing, he invited the stranger to come record in the Shoals.

A year later Langford is in that studio with many of the musicians who put the region, as well as renowned FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, on the musical map. Among them, members of the Swampers, David Hood and Randy McCormick—world famous players who have performed on all the songs you ever loved—and next-generation, in-the-right-pocket local drummer Justin Holder. Along for the ride were Nashville’s in-demand pedal steel guitarist Pete Finney and guitarist Grant Johnson. Together they dutifully crafted a project brimming with images of killing and hope, Faulkner, the Natchez Trace, and the sea.

As word got out around town, the musicians of the Shoals stopped by to see what Putnam was up to with these Chicagoans — Jon, guitarist John Szymanski, and the electrifying singers Bethany Thomas and now-LA-based Tawny Newsome. Tomi Lunsford, a mountain soprano from Nashville, slipped into the vocal booth to duet with Langford. The morning after his gig at Champy’s, a local watering hole, Will McFarlane parked his Harley at the front door to say hello. Five minutes later he was behind studio glass with his guitar. And five minutes after that, he was back on his bike turning the corner in a cloud of dust and exhaust.

Thus was the strange weather in the Shoals during that week in American history. Crammed between arrival and departure at the NuttHouse was a fever heat of creativity that crossed musical generations, racial lines, and the invisible barrier separating the flatlands of the upper Midwest and rolling hills of the deepest South. Even the ocean between the Delta and the dingy port city of Newport, South Wales, Jon’s hometown, evaporated out of sight.

The South is full of ghosts and they all ask unresolved questions. Nothing is settled and the music won’t sleep. Muscle Shoals itself personifies a place where America’s great cultural explosion transcends the murderous politics of race and class that stain this country from slavery and civil war to today. To tomorrow. The music speaks to the best in us, while reflecting, at times, the worst of us.

Four Lost Souls is pure Americana, not just because of where it was recorded or who played on what track, but because it is beyond the news of the day. It is a travelogue of sorts; it goes to a place where the differences between country, soul, blues, and rock-and-roll are blown aside by the warm languid breezes.  The music had no time for such petty details, because in the moment, in that place, was the sound of sweet agreement.

Bad Luck Jonathan

Bad Luck Jonathan
Release date: 2016



Jon Langford
Phil Wandscher
Martin Billheimer
Alan Doughty
Joe Camarillo


Jon Langford (the Mekons , Waco Brothers, Three Johns) stumbled into his latest project BAD LUCK JONATHAN on a remote Island in the Pacific North West. Consider the scene: A post gig drinks and witching party had dragged on ‘til direst 3 AM, words failing and minds mushing in the crowland. Langford craved his bed, poo-pooing suggestions that he and his murky band of local hired guns drive half way across the island and play songs around a bonfire for a mysterious cult of New Age hicks.

Former Whiskeytown guitarist Phil Wandscher and Martin “Blueshammer” Billheimer were shocked to witness the old man’s creeping ideological weakness and berated him harsh and much. “Have you forgotten what it’s all about maaaan?!?”, they cried in outraged unison. The years drained from poor Jonny; he sat down, appalled at himself, and revelations began. Yes… indeed… for a moment he had forgotten, but out there on the island in the dancing orange flames of primal pagan combustion BAD LUCK JONATHAN was born. The beetle-black sod has quaked ever since and will always, Damballa be praised! Voodoo socialist Space Rock for this moment alone! But also perhaps for the future spaceways and future ghosts. Hark, worms and angels. Harken!

On parole, Waco Brother’s Mayor Jo Jo (Joe Camarillo) and Captain Alanis Giggles (Alan Doughty) provide the reliably muscular rhythm section. The self-titled debut album was recorded in about half an hour with the mighty Mike Hagler at Kingsize Soundlabs Chicago.

“This album really brings the art and the songs together – a chicken/egg which came first situation. The songs are very visual and in some cases came directly from the paintings.”


The Legend of LL

Men of Gwent musicians are:

Jon Langford (The Mekons, Waco Brothers, Three Johns),
Matt Gray (Darling Buds, Give Me Memphis),
Julian Hayman (Give Me Memphis, Charlotte Greig, Discount Chiefs),
Mark Price (Two Marks and a Frank, Dirty Deelux),
Erik Stams (Darling Buds),
Barkley McKay (Pretty Things) and
Guto Dafis (Toreth).


1 Adrian Street
2 Old Wet Argus
3 Duw It’s Hard
4 Dirty Grey River
5 Llamas in Llanyrafon
6 Rebecca Been in a Riot
7 Ballad of Soloman Jones
8 Coves of Aberystwyth
9 Ll Maypole Dance
10 Pill Sailor
11 Shit & Lies
12 Bananas
13 Prince of Ales

On hearing the news of witch Thatchers death and after years living solely within in the Welsh Valleys, the Men of Gwent finally went to the big City of Newport. Fuelled only by Tiny Rebel Beer and Penderyn Whisky, the group recorded this incredible love letter to Wales.

Listen in wonder as Jon Langford and his all-star motley crew take you on a personal journey around central Newport, coastal Aberystwyth, rural Llanyrafon and the docks of Pill.

Fans of the 1970s will be pleased to hear the song “Adrian Street”, a tribute to the Glam-Rock Wrestler originally from Brynmawr who now lives in sunny Florida.

“This album was over 20 years in the making. When I first moved to Chicago in 1992 it was important to form a band in Newport so I could pop back over for band meetings in the Riv every week or so. Julian, Smartie and Me were LL and we wrote songs about our home town transatlantically and once and a while in person. We did maypole dances at TJs and sang songs of sheep sleeping in the vale and lady coalminers and screamed our abuse at the belching chemical towers of Rechem. This record the Legend of LL was meant to catalog the great songs we had written down the years but as we started the process of organizing our obscure past Matt, Guto, Erik and Barkley appeared from nowhere and we turned into a real band that played Glastonbury and Green Man and stuff and wrote new songs about our hometown and changed our name and made this record” says Jon Langford hippy legend and Gaer boy of note.