Jono Manson’s video for “Loved Me Into Loving Again,” premiering exclusively on Billboard today (March 16), was a bit like old home week for the New Mexico-based singer, songwriter and producer.
The clip for the soulful, Stax-flavored track, a duet with old pal Joan Osborne on Manson’s upcoming album Silver Moon, was filmed at Bar Chord in Brooklyn and nods to Manson and Osborne’s days playing at the Nightingale Bar in New York along with the likes of Blues Traveler and Spin Doctors.
Bar Chord is owned by the brother of late Blues Traveler bassist Bobby Sheehan, and saxophonist Craig Dreyer, who appears in the clip, is another crony from the downtown scene. And Osborne’s part of the song was recorded at Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess’ studio, also in Brooklyn.
“A lot of things came full circle, and were renewed,” Manson — who portrays a patron singing to Osborne’s bartender — tells Billboard. “When I wrote the song with George “Breakfast” Bacon] I felt like it needed to be a duet. In my head it sounded like an old soul tune, kind of like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell or something. I remember saying to George when we finished writing the song, ‘I’m gonna call Joan and get her.’ She seemed to be the obvious choice. And once I floated the idea of us doing this video together, she was excited about that, too.”
The song “Loved Me Into Loving Again,” meanwhile, was inspired by a commencement speech given by the late Fred Rogers, which was part of the 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? that Manson watched during a flight to London to write songs with friend George “Breakfast” Bacon.
“He used words like — and I’m paraphrasing — ‘Now I want you to close your eyes and think about somebody who made a difference in your life. Somebody who could smile you into smiling. Somebody who could talk you into talking. Somebody who could love you into loving,'” Manson says. “When he said those words, ‘love you into loving,’ I said, ‘That sounds like to hook to a song…’ and I started writing it right there on the plane.”
Silver Moon, which comes out April 10, is Manson’s 10th studio album and first since The Slight Variation in 2016. Unlike that set, which was recorded over different periods of time, Manson hunkered down for Silver Moon, producing and engineering it at the studio he operates in Santa Fe.
“Over the last decade and more, so much of my creative energy has been spent curating other people’s projects and producing records for other people,” notes Manson, who’s worked with Blues Traveler frontman John Popper and American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox among many others. “I haven’t always been able, to the extent I would like, focus on my own work. But with this record I felt like I really did it the right way.
“I budgeted the time to write and took my time and made sure I had what I felt was the right body of work that expresses where I am now, musically, and also reads a little bit like my story.”
In addition to Osborne, Silver Moon features guest appearances by Warren Haynes, Spin Doctors guitarist Eric Schenkman, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Eliza Gilkyson, Terry Allen and others.
“I’m not looking at this as some kind of culmination of my career,” Manson says, “but the old days are part of it. It all happened organically, the guests and everything. In a way I feel like this record is sort of a new beginning for me. In a lot of ways it renewed my enthusiasm for writing and recording my own music, because it really came out well.
“The big litmus test for me is the fact I still really love listening to it, which is very often not the case for people in my position. But I listen very willingly to this record, which is a nice sign that I did it right.”
Listen to “Loved Me Into Loving Again” below.