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Mia and Jonah – Rooz Cafe show review

In muni shirts, music, music trail, myspace, myspace music trail, review, walnotes on December 2, 2008 at 6:12 pm

December 2, 2008
Walter Koning

The long awaited review of Mia and Jonah’s 2nd Rooz Cafe show in Oakland, California.

It was June 14th of 2008 and I was at Rooz Cafe again.  A year after the Rooz Cafe Grand Opening show and Mia and Jonah were back for Rooz’s One Year Anniversary show.  I was invited for the entertainment and decided to write notes for a  Walnotes musical review.  It’s December 2nd and I’m finally sitting in Cafe Abir in San Francisco putting fingers to keyboard.

My apologies.
Not to Mia and Jonah.  They’ve heard me rave on about how much I like their music before.  No No.  My apologies to you, the reader.  There’s a good chance this is your first time hearing about the rising tide that is Mia and Jonah.  I’m sorry it’s taken you so long.

For a little musical context let me reiterate that I think Mia’s vocals and delivery matched with Jonah’s steady guitar hand and equally moving vocals rival that of Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan.  When it comes to powerful original music a comparison must be started.  Yet it doesn’t finish there.  Mia and Jonah are the sunnier, loving, hopeful, Americana version.  They are their own in every way.  And you should listen to them to see for yourself.

June 14, 2008
Rooz Cafe
Opener:  Joni Davis

Joni took the stage with her piano and vocals and did pretty well for herself.  There were few people there yet.  Those there were not there for her, excepting a young (male)friend of hers.  And when I spoke with her after the show she sounded intimidated by the crowd of strangers as she walked around trying to give out fliers for future shows.  I gave her a boost of confidence.  “Just tell them, ‘Hi I’m Joni.  I opened tonight and I’ll be playing ____.’ and they’ll be glad to meet you.”  She came back later and thanked me with one of her recorded cd’s. 

Here’s the kicker of all of this… Joni Davis is holy moly powerful in recorded form.  After a month or more I finally put her disc in with low expectations and now it’s on good rotation.  It’s on the darker, heavier side so don’t go listening when you need a pick me up.  But do listen.  Ears should hear Ms. Joni Davis.

Headliner:  Mia and Jonah (with accompaniment from their regular support, John and Myles)


This review will be a mixture of their lyrics, my thoughts while listening, and a steady stream of consciousness delivery on my part.  Enjoy.

Walter:  “Mia, could you write in my little book how you feel right now?”
Mia (writes, in cursive): “Blessed to be here listening to good music – this is hard because feelings are so complete.”

They went on shortly thereafter.  As they began I started to write.

It feels like Christmas
A reunion of friends
With hugs for hello’s
And how are you
What will Santa bring
It feels like Christmas

When trouble has your heart
Just let me
Be with you

A crowd has filled the room
Standing room only
Boys in costume
Accepting, tolerant, creative friends
Homemade clothes
Home-schooled child

Whoa oh oh oh
I wish your lips to touch my face
Follow me down to the old wishing well

Everything beautiful
Everything oh oh oh
Downtown San Francisco in the rain

The duel is teamwork
And Mia and Jonah are killing it
Gold drips from the skyline like ice
Mia’s delivery accompanied by the band
Jonah’s guitar acoustically accompanies
His baritone voice

Mia has learned to play bass since a show
in Tucson.  “If you make a mistake on
bass it just sounds like everyone else is off.”

Working on the rooms in my mind
We’re all struggling to get by
We’re all in our own place in this struggle

The stories are perfected
A little here, a little there
Between the songs
You can see that Mia feels
She feels the music
She feels the love from the crowd
She feels blessed to be here

I’m here alone
Surrounded by strangers
In a room full of love
Where I’ll never be alone

Troubled Mind Blues? or is it Troubled Mind?
Mmmm hmah hmah hm hm
And these are originals, amazing

Jonah is singing a fresh new version of
Coalminer tonight.  It touches me a
different way this time.  Almost personally.

The interludes are poignant, succinct, potent
Sometimes when you’re having sex
With someone they want to have sex
With lots of other people.  And that sucks.
Right now I’m into things that suck.

Mia leads a beautiful tragedy love song
With Jonah adding an essence of harmonica
On Water in a Teapot, the most Damien
Rice song, lyrically, they sing

You with whom I feel this love
Wrap yourself around me and fill me up
You can show me what you know
Somehow opening the door
Sunset in your soul


And I’m just standing here
With a guitar in my hand
I wonder if this ocean will ever

Maybe I could make you smile
That about sums it up

The trouble with equal parts
And two talented vocalists
Is you can’t keep one-upping each other
Forever.  So Mia and Jonah don’t
Compete with each other.  They rise
Up to the top together.

Dance Dance
Coldness is sneaking in
There is nothing to touch
There is nothing at all 

I’ve never known more humble musical artists
With so much talent

Even though I’ve heard Bird on the Wind
Every time I’ve seen them play
They still play it with a casual
Newness, adding nuances only a
Good winery would understand

Jonah before singing Wave, one of the most moving songs ever
“I wrote this song when I met Mia.
I was overwhelmed.  I still get overwhelmed.”

Troubled Mind Blues is Mia’s remake of
Jonah’s Troubled Mind.  How often does
Your own musical partner write an
Equally impressive remake of your song?
Impressive enough that you play both in
The same night, albeit different sets

Last time, a year ago at Rooz, the Bay
Bridge was closing.  Tonight wasn’t quite so dire
This time the fog soaked the city, while
Oakland was sunshiney and nice

We set sail tonight
[I left sitting on a warm wind.]
I was sitting on a warm wind.

-review by Walter Koning