Jon Wheelock isn’t the type of person to shy away from telling you what he believes; for the doubters, it’s tattooed in big, bold letters across his forearms: NATIVE PRIDE.
A proud son of the Oneida Nation, Jon’s Native American heritage shapes every facet of who he is as an artist and person. Be it his tender pleas for mercy on a soul ballad, or his primal howl that carries a ripping garage rock joint, Jon’s voice is imbued with an unflinching honesty that immediately cuts all the pretense right out of the room.
While music has been a constant throughout Jon’s life, the vehicle that finally pulled the Kaukauna, WI native from the backline—playing bass for Grammy nominee Cory Chisel and others—to the beating heart of the center stage is J-Council, the soul band he formed in 2015. The project was born out of his relationship with Chisel, who recognized something special in Jon and invited him to join his Refuge Foundation for the Arts, as their very first artist in residence.
Jon arrived at The Refuge in October of 2015. Taking full advantage of his year-long residency, Jon went from writing his very first song, to recording and releasing an EP and embarking on a US tour. His residency culminated in October of 2016, with an appearance at the historic Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles for Petty Fest. Performing alongside the likes of Norah Jones and Jakob Dylan, Jon’s powerful performance earned rave reviews from national media outlets, including Billboard and Rolling Stone.
What’s next for J-Council? “We have a full-length albums worth of songs written,” says Wheelock. “We’ll head into the studio soon to get these ideas put to tape, and then hit the road in search of great stages and eager ears. The Refuge Foundation provided us with an incredible opportunity, which we intend to go out and take full advantage of.”