Jon and his wife Necia have formed Lady & Gentleman, a pop-folk-rock duo which has already debuted its first new song and music video. And they've just released a follow-up tune.
"I just can't not write music," said Ornée, 38, of his artistic orientation. "I've written a lot of songs that are relatable to everybody, but now they impact my own family," noted the father of two.
"Prodigal Daughter," their first song out of the box, is a big ballad and comforts an estranged listener with the reminder, "You're not alone by a long shot." See the video online.
Necia is a talented singer in her own right, contributing vocals on several past AG Silver songs and frequently working with former Holland singer-songwriter Josh Schicker.
TIME AND TRANSITION
AG Silver was a long term pursuit for Ornée. Young Jon co-founded the group in his early teen years at Grandville High School. And band members took their music seriously.
The group won a mainstream hometown rock search competition in 2003, propelling its fortunes and giving it a foothold on national tours and a run of several albums.
The busy ensemble traveled 35,000 miles in 2008 on concert tours.
AG Silver opened West Michigan concerts for major bands such as Switchfoot and Jars of Clay.
Their final album was 2012's "Hold On." But there was no accompanying tour.
"To really make a living to support a band you have to travel a lot," noted the artist. "And my wife and I were at a point of starting a family, and I wanted to be home to be a dad."
Ornée's rather dormant musical period ended abruptly. After a serious accident last year (he was hit by an SUV while cycling) Jon was confronted with a life changing realization.
"Stop putting off the things you've been putting off – and among those was making music with my wife."
And so Lady & Gentleman was born.
"We always dreamed of doing something together," he mused.
An initial Kickstarter funding effort was successful and the pair debuted its first song and video at a celebration last February at Holland's Park Theatre.
"We're hoping that the fund will carry us through the first six months of songs and videos," he said of Lady & Gentleman's goal of completing a new song and video each month during the year. Many of the songs are already written.
The latest project completed is "Days Like This," a cover version of a folky tune written by Kim Taylor.
"It's a very meditative and reflective song and it fits the moment that we're all collectively experiencing," said Ornée of the current coronavirus quarantine.
Ornée had corresponded with Taylor and received her blessing to record the song.
The music video was filmed at a farm near South Haven on March 24 – the day before the coronavirus "lockdown" went into effect state-wide. The result is some beautiful bucolic scenery with slow motion effects.
As did the music of AG Silver, Lady & Gentleman's songs inject a thoughtful hope in addressing real-life struggles. Although not wearing the label of a faith-based venture, Ornée uses the word "meaningful" when speaking of their music. "We want to create music that connects with people of faith, but honestly we think it connects with people of all faiths....more human experience," he said.