Ghost Inside of You
Far from Kansas: Biography Rumor has it that Far from Kansas front man, J.D. LEVIN, is a distant cousin of the WALLFLOWERS' famous lead singer, JAKOB DYLAN. In addition, it's also been suggested that Levin is related to Jacob's slightly more famous father, BOB (if only by marriage). While these rumors have yet to be confirmed, and numerous calls placed to both Dylans' publicists have yet to be returned, one thing is certain: J.D. Levin's musical genealogy is just as rich as his near-mythic biological one. From his early days, haunting ARMY OF FRESHMEN shows at the old Teltron Café in Ventura, California, J.D. Levin has built his reputation on one unfailing principal: always begin with a well crafted song. Combining his love of 60s and 70s singer-songwriters such as DYLAN, YOUNG, and SPRINGSTEEN, with an affinity for modern day songwriting savants such as ELLIOTT SMITH, CONOR OBERST and RYAN ADAMS, Levin's songs seem to exist somewhere between the classic rock he grew up on and the rock and roll played by his friends and peers. In fact, something about J.D. Levin's song-craft gives you the feeling that these songs have existed all along--in a jukebox at some diner along old Route 66, halfway between Oklahoma and nowhere, waiting to be played--waiting for you to drop that quarter in and press B-52. In one of Levin's earliest recorded tracks for SFS Records, 'Song for Bobby Dylan' we can hear echoes of WOODY GUTHRIE and Dylan himself. Likewise, the rare, unreleased track, '(I Don't Wanna Be) Your Man' could very well be a HANK WILLIAMS b-side. On the other side of the coin, since Levin picked up a Fender Stratocaster and took up with the kids in Far from Kansas (MATT LEVIN [bass], CHRIS DIXON [guitars, vocals], and FRANK CRUZ [Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, piano, accordion, glockenspiel, banjo, drums]), he's also been crafting electric driven power-pop and indie rock tunes with much the same tenacity and precision as witnessed on his earlier recordings, though sacrificing none of his literate sensibilities. Far from Kansas formed in 2003 when J.D. Levin and his brother, Matt, teamed up with original drummer DANIEL MCDERMOTT and keyboardist DIANA ESSEX in a garage near the 126 freeway in Ventura. A slew of local shows and the SFS Records release, CHANGE FOR THE BETTER (2004), soon followed. When Daniel and Diana departed to attend college, Dixon was added to beef up the band's guitar sound, and Cruz joined on as a second keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist. With these dramatic changes in the line-up the tried and true J.D. Levin formula had changed. While still literate and well crafted, these songs were now real, live rock and roll tunes. If the old J.D. Levin songs curled up next to you and whispered in your ear, then some of the Far from Kansas tracks were just as likely to get out of bed and kick you in the ass. The major difference between a song written by the man who truly is 'Ventura's answer to Ryan Adams' and other, more recent band wagon converts to the genre is that Levin's songs, while kicking you in the ass, are still just as likely to evoke the ghosts of Springsteen, STEINBECK, SAM COOKE, and Hank Williams, sometimes literally, sometimes simultaneously. But whether they're kicking you in the ass, or whispering in your ear, J.D. Levin and Far from Kansas are always compelling and always ready on the juke box. All you have to do is let your quarter drop.