Jason O rocks steady on fifth solo, ‘In My Bones’

Artist: Jason O

Album: "In My Bones"

Music fans familiar with Jason O’s dance-rock group My Hero Zero may be surprised by the diverse musical depths he takes his most recent solo album, “In My Bones.”

A distant piano kicks off “Far Away.” The brooding opener contrasts the singer’s sunshine personality but exposes a deep appreciation for where atmosphere and mood can take a song. The piano riff is chilling, and Jason’s auto-tuned vocals build a pop ballad ripe for a dark room, a cool night and breezy curtains.

For those not familiar with Jason Olcese (stage name, Jason O), he has made a name for himself in the State College area, and not just with his weekend band My Hero Zero.

Sir Loops a Lot himself, Jason O is recognized for being a one-man band, playing multiple instruments and looping them over each other to form a self-made multi-instrumental experience.

A quick search on YouTube uncovers Jason’s epic performance at Penn State’s TEDx Conference in which he showcases his guitar-, trumpet- and kazoo-playing abilities. Another search finds Jason making Rebecca Black’s famed “Friday” into a respectable and enjoyable song using a guitar and ukulele.

But “In My Bones” showcases a different side of Jason O. It highlights him as a full-on storyteller and musician. A lifelong songwriter, his tunes are radio-ready. They are sing-alongs that mix the pop awareness of Jason Mraz and acoustic bliss of Jack Johnson. The album is a fanatical journey into a variety of genres.

Jason O loves every aspect of making music and he wants everyone to know. On songs like “Two Music Teachers” and “I Quit My Day Job,” he salutes his passion with lines like “I won’t teach the world to play. I’ll just play for all the world.” It’s a simple way of saying that music is therapeutic and he’s happy to help.

Some tracks are bluesy and some are jazzy, but all have the same consistent organic sensibility.

“Glass” mixes tender acoustic strums, jangly harmonics and gentle taps on the guitar body. It’s a new-age opus and visits the most solitary regions of Jason O’s musical repertoire.

The feel-good side of Jason O is alive and well on tracks like “That is Okay” and “If Love is an Island.” You hear some of the jazzy beats My Hero Zero fans are familiar with as well as fun melodies sung with Jason O’s trademark smirk.

Jason O will hold a release party for “In My Bones” Dec. 2 at Café 210 West followed by My Hero Zero. The crowd may compare the two performances, but there’s no use, there are many musical faces to Jason O. Tonight’s concert may showcase a few. The only constant among the performances will be Jason O’s smile and love for music.