You can listen to any song on the above
juke box without downloading: just click
on a song and wait a moment for it to
buffer. You can also download it by pressing the little
down arrow near the top. Song notes: "Beauty from Within", the first song on the juke
box, is sung by awesome music man Jim Counter,
with whom J.M. co-wrote it. The two have written
lots of songs; another is "Visit from the blues",
sung by J.M. For more on Jim, visit his MySpace
"Nothing left to learn" was recorded by the
formidable Abby Burke on her CD Finally, and
Abby's incandescent version is included on our
juke box. For more on her inspiring music, please
visit www.abbyandthemanlyband.com .
"Tomorrow is coming (later today)" is sung by
Robin English, one of JM's favorite vocalists ever,
who has her own Brass Ring Records.
Learn more at www.RobinEnglish.com .
Three of the songs on the juke box were recorded
pretty much live with JM's band the Lonely
Mammals in Nashville in 2007: these are "Death or
Life", "I loved you for a day", and "Lose my job".
The Lonely Mammals consisted of Mark Robinson,
Kenny Owens, and Kathy Burkly.
While a grad student in Toronto, J.M. Kearns
was bitten by the songwriting virus. "You start
off loving the songs of others, but eventually
they aren't saying what you need to hear, so you
begin to supply your own material," he says.
PhD in hand, Kearns left his native Canada and
headed for Los Angeles, a music mecca where
several of his heroes had done great work.
Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne. . . even Dylan
was there. At the start there were
near-breakthroughs -- auditioning for a major
record label, playing a song for Warren Beatty
-- but then life got real and Kearns ended up
being a bureaucrat, exchanging molecules with
huge office buildings. All the while the songs
kept coming, honest and eloquent in the
tradition of Dylan, Newman, and Prine.
Then a move to Nashville, where Kearns found
a community of mad artists & songwriters of
every stripe. He produced CDs for noted indie
artists like Gordon Vincent and Davis Raines.
With his band the Lonely Mammals, he recorded
the CD Death or Life the old-fashioned way, live
in one afternoon. Kearns performed at many
Music City venues such as the Bluebird, the
Sutler, the Douglas Corner, and not least, the
legendary Brown's Diner. In 2006 his first book
deal came, and after that he was a two-track
In 2010, JM made the move to Cape May. In this
seaside town he continues to write songs and
prose and interacts with a new tribe of creative
souls. The Squares formed naturally at local
venues in the last few years. He is working on a
new book now.
Elmore magazine says: "A bluesy flair, his voice perfect for the
lyric and sound... it's easy to hear the influence of John Prine
and Gram Parsons... Intelligence, humor and musicianship."
Other singer-songwriters weigh in
Some bright lights of the Americana scene talk about
Davis Raines (songs recorded by Pat Green and Kenny
"Then comes our Man for All Seasons, the
extraordinarily erudite King of the Mambo and his
Hot Little Combo: J.M. Kearns and the Lonely
Mammals... JM's a favorite, a gifted writer and
compelling performer whose songs examine the whole
magilla, from the ridiculous to the sublime."
Teddy Larkin says:
"Kearns stole the show at my Stammer Jammer festival
and became my headline performer for the next four
concerts. 'Nashville will teach you' is the best
song I have ever heard about the life of a
songwriter trying to make it on Music Row."
Rachel Owen says of Kearns' music:
"Scary intelligence, humor and heart tingling with
The slide show below is a video tour of
Squares Land for the last few years,
to the tune of JMK's "The Cape May Song".
Featuring Andy Reeves on Cajon.
In Cape May NJ these days, J.M. Kearns performs
in the trio The Squares, along with cohorts Debra
Donahue (vocals and nose flute) and M.Q.
Murphy (vocals and guitars). They do lots of
originals and a bunch of treasured cover tunes.
The song in the video below is "Stay with me",
performed by The Squares on a Cape May radio
show on April 1st, 2015. The radio show is
"Open Mic: the living room sessions," hosted by
Liz Shay and Roy Baker. Song by JMK.