Bomethius is the solo project of Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Jonathan Hodges. A capable pianist, guitarist, and vocalist, Hodges has also studied the violin since he was 3 years old. With Bomethius, he draws from his classical training for a mischievous brand of baroque pop that echoes the sounds of Andrew Bird, Elliott Smith, and Randy Newman. Developing the character of the songwriter’s complicated alter ego, Bomethius doubles as a vehicle for channeling the frank, existential audits of a disenchanted young man plagued by alienation and shame.
Hodges’ first release as Bomethius, Intimatitudes (2017) showcased the songwriter’s tortured wit and impressive command of his instruments to chronicle the internal turmoil of an earnest youth’s coming of age. Another spry meditation on selfhood and doubt, his sophomore record As Roses (2018) achieved a tighter, more refined sound through superior songcraft, vocals, and piano and guitar work.
The next year, Hodges followed with his breakthrough release, Sweet Nothings (2019). Exploring a range of styles from blues and jazz to minimalism and chamber rock, Sweet Nothings is Hodges’ stirring anthem to his own manic strain of indifference — at turns exalted and heartbreaking — tempered by restless obsessions with home, memory, and time. Dubbed “a folk masterpiece hiding in plain sight” by Atwood Magazine, the album earned further acclaim from The Album Effect podcast, which praised its “incredibly beautiful music.”
For Bomethius’ fourth record, Hodges partnered with his uncle and closest family member, Dave Hodges, for a full-length collaboration titled inadiquit (2020). A longtime writer and amateur composer, Dave lent his nephew not only his taste and expertise, but also the wisdom afforded by the eighteen additional years he’d spent wrestling with the same preoccupations that have fueled Bomethius’ music from the beginning. At once excruciatingly tender and raucously explosive, inadiquit engages head-on the enduring trauma of a troubled upbringing coupled with misguided devotion to toxic religion. Praised by We Are Mirrors for delivering on its “heady concepts, both lyrical and compositional, through a progressive baroque-pop vessel that’s as ambitious as it is humble,” the album showcases Bomethius’ compositional prowess, emotional fiber, and production quality at their best.
In anticipation of Seasons of Limbo, his forthcoming record slated for early 2021, Bomethius released two singles in 2019-2020. A sincere folk ballad recorded days after twisters tore through his Texas hometown in November 2019, “Tornados in Dallas” recalls the early works of Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen to celebrate the mystery and power of disasters, which destroy lives even as they bind people together. “Goodbye, Covid-19” followed in August 2020. Supported by a plaintive violin, the single’s strong songwriting recalls M. Ward’s smooth, breezy vocals and clean electric guitar to trace the coronavirus’ devastating impact on family, ritual, and the future. Gentle variations on the song’s refrain trace personal reactions to the pandemic from dismissal to nightmare to a hopeful acceptance grounded in a love no crisis could thwart — even if it did disrupt the wedding plans.
Hodges graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2019 with a bachelor of music degree in violin performance. His former teachers include Marla Feeney, Alexander Serafimov, Ivan Ženatý, Chee-Yun Kim, and Diane Kitzman.