JJR's first studio album: "Tonic"

a fully orchestrated collection of twelve original songs 

Executive Producers: Matthew LaFond and Richard Moore 

Produced by: Jon Richardson, Andrew Haig, and Jacob Hiser

Recording Engineer and Mixer: Alex Allinson 

Mastered by: Nick Zampiello 

Across the twelve piano-driven, orchestrated songs, JJR musically tells the story of an infatuation, a deep love, infidelity, and finally, heartbreak.
— Boston's Bay Windows Newspaper

The Prelude

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
Backup vocals by Andrew Haig
All keyboard instruments by Jacob Hiser
Bass by Umar Zakaria
 

So, 

You’re about to hear

A couple songs

Why don’t you grab a beer?

It shouldn’t be too long

Sit right back

I wrote an intro track

For you

 

I was in and out of love

And I learned some lessons

Here’s some true confessions

Set to chord progressions

I’ll tell the truth but

In truth

I’ll tell it slant

 

Now this tale’s got melody,

four part harmony

It’ll take some twists and turns

It’s true

(doodily doo)

 

I thought he’d marry me

Now I need therapy

I had some problems with

All of the feelings I got

So I turned the feelings into music

Seemed to help me out a lot

 

Now the beginning’s good

Straight out of Hollywood

With our protagonist

In infatuated bliss

Spoiler alert

In the end

He ends up hurt

 

So now I present to you

Without further ado

A new narrative chronology

A new kind of musicology

A long-form apology.


The Subway Crush 

Words and music by Jon Richardson
Keyboard by Jacob Hiser
Bass by Umar Zakaria
Drums by Jonathan Hess

Now there’s a red line train

Coming down the tracks

Headed to Mattapan

It’s a half hour late

 

We’ve all been standing here

And waiting

And tapping our toes

Cause now it’s coming up on

Half past eight

 

All the commuters on the platform

They’re starting to buzz

Becoming bees up in an angry hive

 

Because this train that’s coming down

This little engine that could

It was supposed to be the eight o’five

 

But while everyone else has been itching to move

I’ve just been sitting here I’m not in a rush

Because you’re reading your book

and you’re drinking your coffee

Every morning you to turn me into mush

My little subway crush

 

Now every morning you arrive you turn every head

You know you’re the best looking dude at the tracks

Wearing a button-down, a jacket some days a tie

You know how to work it in them tailored slacks.

 

And I’ve had my eye on you for a while now

My little cutie on the Eight o’five

You know I hustle to the station hoping that you’re there

When you show up I feel a little more alive.

 

And it’s weird but I’ve written your whole backstory

Like how when you drink you’re kind of a lush

Or how you cried when you saw Pixar’s finding Dory

How you’re sort of kind of fluent in Dutch

My little subway crush.

 

And now a runaway train’s coming down the tracks

And I just wish that I could make you see

That though we’ve never spoken it’s clear

We’re the perfect pair

Even if I fall in love too easily

 

What if we rode this train together to the end of the line?

What if we both didn’t get off at our stop?

We could get off at some spot down on the South Shore

Where the closest beach is a jump skip and a hop

 

And we’d spend the day together with time on our hands

I’d probably talk too much you’d tell me to shush

Because I’ve liked you so long I think you are perfect

So I can’t promise I’m not gunna gush

My little subway crush.

 

Now I’ve been working up my courage for way too long

And I’m finally gunna make my move

I’ve been practicing my line all up in my mirror

We’ve never met so I’ve got nothing to prove

 

And I’ve got my chance as we’re waiting for my train

Cause there’s a huge delay down the line.

So I’m finally gunna do this

Take the world by the balls, yeah

I’m finally gunna make you mine

 

Now the train’s coming down and I got my line

It’s a pick-up line I know that I’ll crush

Cause I’ve been practicing for months

And I know you’ll love it

I know it’s gunna make you blush

My little subway crush. 


The Crazy Idea

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
Keyboard by Jacob Hiser
Guitar and Harmonica by Sam Talmadge
 

I’ve got a crazy idea about the two of us

Involves us traveling cross country

On a greyhound bus

I know that we just met

But I’m willing to bet

 

That you probably kinda like me

Yeah I know it’s too soon

But I wanna write a song about you

Neath the Iowa moon

 

End up in Santa Fe

Or San Francisco Bay

 

Cause

I thought I

Would never find

Would never know

Never be brought down

So low

I must have been blind

 

The world became a different place

The way it spins I’m on

Needles and pins

Just cause I saw your face

 

I got another idea about the two of us

We’ll hit the road before the sunrise

Beat the traffic rush

 

I know I sound insane

But I know this bar in Maine

 

Where we’ll get real drunk and then

We’ll head to the beach

I’ll bring a giant umbrella we can

Sit underneath

 

We’ll both smell like the sea

It’ll be just you and me

 

I still have my guard up

It’ll be up for a while

Did you think it’d come down

With just your dimples

Your smile

If it was that simple

I’d be married by now

I’d have taken some vow

So let’s go to a Aruba

Fuck it

Let’s go to Cuba

I could teach

To scuba

Just as soon as I learn how

 

Cause I thought I would never find

Would never know

Would never be

brought down so low

I must have been blind

 

The world became a different place

The way it spins-- now a great love begins

Just cause I

Saw your face

 

I got a crazy idea about the two of us. 

 


Sleepless

Words and music by Jon Richardson
Guitar by Sam Talmadge
Bass by Umar Zakaria
Piano by Jacob Hiser
 

Have you ever found yourself in love

When they didn’t love you back

You’d been living life in greens and blues

Now it’s mostly grays and blacks

 

And you sit there and you wonder

Whether God made some mistake

Because you don’t know why

He’d give you love

That wasn’t yours to take

 

Do you ever feel you’re floating

Find you’re lost way out at sea

And you know your anchor’s useless

Cause this love’s not meant to be

 

See, when I find myself all adrift

Lost at sea or lost in space

I know I’d make my way back home again

So I could see your face

 

There are nights when sleep comes easy,

Some nights it doesn’t come at all

And so I talk to God about you

I ask him why he let me fall

And on those darkest nights

I lie awake and I curse the day we met

Cause of that night I told you how I felt

And now I mostly feel regret

 

It was that night when I told you

How bad I wanted to hold you

And you just looked at me and you

Looked the other way

 

So if you ever find yourself in love

And it won’t come back to you

You just listen to my story

Know that most of it was true

 

And you could try to just ignore your love

Or you could wish upon some stars

Just know that time will heal every wound

But it won’t erase the scars

 

Yeah time will heal every wound

But it won’t erase the scars. 

 


One Day 

Words and music by Jon Richardson
Guitar by Sam Talmadge
Violin (and toe-tapping) by Jacob Hiser

 

When I left yesterday morning

The sun was shining bright

But I let you stay sleeping

Cause I’d kept you up all night

 

And then I headed north to Boston

Caught a flight just after two

And then I ended up in Iowa

Alone and missing you

 

You know,

I’m out here on the prairie, on a project

For a while

But I keep your picture by my bed

Cause it always makes me smile

 

And I just sent off a postcard

Cause I had to let you know

That some day it won’t be normal

For me to pack my things and go

 

One day

I’ll kiss you every morning,

Every night

I’ve been traveling like crazy

Some day

I swear I’ll make it right

 

I just gotta chase this dream I got

But I promise you this

That some day

I swear I’ll wake you

Every morning

With a kiss

 

And I’m sorry

When I leave you

I can’t look you in the eye.

It’s just that if I did

I think I’d probably start to cry.

 

So this is me explaining why

I always let you sleep.

It’s just I don’t want you to know

That leaving makes me weep

 

One day I will find a way

To kiss you every single day

Every morning, every evening too

I hope that sounds okay.

 

When my plane touched down this evening

We were ninety minutes late

Which is why I couldn’t let you know

That I wouldn’t make our date

 

But I hope that you will stay up, hope

You won’t fall fast asleep

Cause now I’m just a couple miles away

And I’ve got promises to keep.

 

One day

I’ll kiss you every morning,

Every night

I’ve been traveling like crazy

Some day

I swear I’ll make it right

 

I just gotta chase this dream I got

But I promise you this

That some day

I swear I’ll wake you

Every morning

With a kiss  


Yep

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
Orchestrated and arranged by Andrew Haig
Piano by Jacob Hiser
Drums by Jonathan Hess
Bass by Umar Zakaria
BRASS:
Bobby Lane (featured soloist) on Trumpet
Trumpet: Jeffrey Cox
Trombone: Joe Ricard
Trombone: Eric Stilwell
Alto Sax: Raef Sengupta
Alto Sax: Nathan Reising
Tenor Sax: Pat Noonan (featured soloist)  
Bari Sax: Daniel Sagastume

 

You got me running in circles around you

Which is not a thing that I’m accostumed to do

But I just haven’t felt this way in forever

Just too many hoops I gotta jump through

 

Now all my buddies say they starting to worry

They just can’t see this thing from my point of view

They say you’re leading me on

And that I’m too far gone

That I’ve been a dick cause I’m addicted to you

 

I had a feeling yeah that something was coming

I didn’t know which way or who

But now I’m feeling that you might be my something

That I might be something special to you

 

I want my life to be just me and you together

Want to walk with you every step

I ask myself if I could be with you forever

The answer’s mmmmm

 

Yep

See you go dancing but I hate to go dancing

Sometimes you snort a little bit o coke

So I’ll go out dancing if I can get some romancing

But I’d rather sit at home and smoke

 

You know this isn’t my first time at the rodeo

I can’t say how I knew it’s just that I know

You know I’ve had other guys

But when I look in your eyes

I know exactly where I want us to go

 

I had a feeling yeah that something was coming

I didn’t know which way or who

But now I’m feeling that you might be my something

That I might be something special to you

 

I want my life to be just me and you together

Want to walk with you every step

I ask myself if I could be with you forever

The answer’s mmmmm

Yep

 

Now I got you running in circles around me

Took you a while but I guess now you can see

You say you never knew that love could be like this

But that it’s exactly how you hoped it would be

 

Now all my friends who had been bitchin and moaning

They’ve come to like you yeah you know that it’s true

Tellin me to get you locked up

And not to fuck this up

Because this side of them is new for them too

 

I had a feeling yeah that something was coming

I didn’t know which way or who

But now I’m feeling that you might be my something

That I might be something special to you

 

I want my life to be just me and you together

Want to walk with you every step

One day I’ll ask you if you wanna get married

You’ll say mmmmm

Yep


Wrestling Angels 

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
Background vocals + arrangement by Andrew Haig
Piano by Jacob Hiser
Cello by Joey Gotoff

 

Jacob wrestled with the angel

Fought him hard throughout the night

But the angel wouldn’t bless him

Wouldn’t leave without a fight

 

And I know you’re fighting someone too

Some angel I can’t see

I hope some day you let him bless you

Hope some day you set him free

 

See, Jacob sat in prison

 in a solitary cell

And like him it seems you’re living

 in a special kind of hell

 

You see there are some exceptions

That don’t make any rules true

Like if you let a lover go

How they’ll come right back to you

 

I could be wrong about your angel

Guess we’ll have to wait and see

Still I lie awake and wonder

Does your angel look like me?

 

You know I’ve been called an angel

You could wrestle me instead

It wouldn’t have to be in prison

We could do it in my bed

 

See I’ve been fighting my own angel

It’s an epic battle too

The only problem is my angel

Looks an awful lot like you


Far Away

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
Orchestrated and Arranged by Andrew Haig
Piano by Jacob Hiser
Drums by Jonathan Hess
Bass by Umar Zakaria
BRASS:
Bobby Lane on Trumpet
Trumpet: Jeffrey Cox
Trombone: Joe Ricard
Trombone: Eric Stilwell
Alto Sax: Raef Sengupta
Alto Sax: Nathan Reising
Tenor Sax: Pat Noonan 
Bari Sax: Daniel Sagastume

Do you know why I been

Song writing

While the

Sun’s rising

 

It’s cause I haven’t slept in days

 

You got me

tied in knots

And thinkin’

Awful thoughts

 

I wish you didn’t want me so

And I wish we both could let this go

 

Far away

Wish you were

Far away

Yeah I want you lying next to me but

I also wish you’d let me be

Yeah

Far away

See I just can’t be alone with you

Cause I do things that I shouldn’t do

 

How bout I

Touch your skin

After we drink

A little gin

 

I’m just so tired of wanting you

And I wish you didn’t want me too

 

I see your number calling

And I feel my defenses falling

 

You got this little part of me

And it’s tearing me apart

 

Far away

Wish you were

Far away

Yeah I want you lying next to me but

I also wish you’d let me be

Yeah

Far away

See I just can’t be alone with you

Cause I do things that I shouldn’t do

 

I know he’ll smell you on me

I know he’ll smell you on me

Yeah I know that he’ll smell me on you

Yeah your boy will smell me on you too

 

Far away

I need you

Far away

Yeah I want you lying next to me but

I also wish you’d let me be

Yeah

Far away

Wish you were

See I just can’t be alone with you

Cause I do things that I shouldn’t d

 


Fly Away

Words, Music, Piano, and Vocals by Jon Richardson
Harmony vocals by Sophia Burgos
I don’t know how

To say I’m sorry

Or how to sleep

Or how not to worry

 

Life won’t come easy

For me

 

Here we are

We’re back again

And now I’m scared

We’re at the end

 

I apologized

I know I lied

 

I tried my best

I wrote a letter

 

With all the ways I would be better

But now you won’t come home

 

And say what you want

But I promise all

The horrible things

I’ve said to myself

And worse

 

surrounding me

I’ve built a wall

I built it strong

I built it tall

 

And it scared me when you

Broke it down

 

I’ve tied my heart

Wrapped pretty tight

 

not saying

What I did was right

 

I just didn’t think I deserved your love

 

And I’ve heard it said

How it’s better to have loved

And lost

But they never tell you

The cost

 

When I think back

On all I’ve done

I worry all I did

Was run

 

Cause love’s not

Easy for me

 

And Maybe this way

You’ll find someone who won’t stray

Who’s worth a shot 

 

So in the end

I guess

It’s good

I got caugh 

 


Boston Waltz

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
arrangement by Andrew Haig
Piano by Jacob Hiser
Cello by Joey Gotoff
There’s a picture of us that I keep in a drawer

Got this smile on my face I don’t make anymore

It’s been weeks since you left but my heart it’s still sore

I miss you here, in my bed

I even miss how you snore

 

I’m waltzing with ghosts and I’m sleeping with strangers

Been drinking so much that my liver’s in danger

It’s memories of you that I find I get lost in.

So come back, come back, come back to Boston.

 

See since you been gone

I’ve been stuck in the past

I’ve been holding a candle

I don’t think it’ll last

 

My life feels like a sailboat

That’s missing its mast

I don’t have control, it’s moving too fast

I’m waltzing with ghosts and I’m sleeping with strangers

Been drinking so much that my liver’s in danger

It’s memories of you that I find I get lost in.

So come back, come back, come back to Boston.

 

I been writing you letters that I’ll never send.

See, I’ve always been better with a paper and pen.

When friends ask I lie and I say I’m on the mend.
Got a smile I put on me, but it’s just pretend.

 

I’m waltzing with ghosts and I’m sleeping with strangers

Been drinking so much that my liver’s in danger

You had these blue eyes that I used to get lost in.

So come back, come back, come back to Boston. 


Little Isaac

Words and Music by Jon Richardson
Orchestration and Arrangement by Andrew Haig
Piano and violin by Jacob Hiser
Lily Honigberg on Violin
Sofia Basile on Viola
Nitzan Gal on cell 
I guess you’re leaving

You’ve made your mind up

Sure I guess we’ll still be friends

 

I’ve felt this coming

This change of seasons

I hope it wasn’t all pretend

 

But if you should ever go and change up your direction

Know I will hopelessly hold on to my affections

 

I’ll just stay where you left me

And I’ll try not to be blue

And I will wish you the best

I’ll wish all of your dreams come true

 

 

The winter’s over

The summer’s coming

I’ve only texted once or twice

 

Don’t know why I did it

I don’t have excuses

Still some response Would have been nice

 

I don’t know the man I am Now that we’re not together

I wish that I could say that you had changed me for the better

 

I had 99 problems

Most of them you

And now that you’re gone

I guess I still got one maybe two

 

 

The summer’s over

The winds are changing

I hear you’re back in time for fall

 

You’ve got a boyfriend

I’ve heard he’s six five

I know you always liked ‘em tall

 

I find myself wondering about this new connection

I’m heartbroken still I hope you made the right selection

But if you find that you miss me

We could start up anew

And I won’t promise too much

Just that all of your dreams come true


The Postlude

Words, music, piano and vocals by Jon Richardson
 

I tried to heal by writing songs.

It’s true

 

You probably feel they’re all about you.

Don’t you?

 

I’m all alone in my bed

You’ve got the town painted red

But I’m painting it blue

Painting it blue

 

I tried to casually date

some men.

 

I tried to casually relate

to them.

 

I downloaded some apps

Geo-locating maps

All it did

Was it made me miss you more

It made me miss you more.

 

And if this sadness is all

That’s left of you and me,

 

Do I ever want to be

happy

again?