The many faces (and voices) of Jon Rose

OPG manager shows his musical side with CD compilation.

OPG manager shows his musical side with CD compilation.

Upon releasing his first instrumental two-disk set Jon Rose said he can’t read music. He’s incredibly slow at it.

Rose, who stands more than six feet tall and is in charge of more than 8,000 acres of North Kitsap land as the president of Olympic Property Group, is also a musician.

Friends probably won’t call him a soulful romantic, they’d feel more comfortable with the Rose they know – the guy who isn’t afraid to joke around while kicking back with a dark or amber brew.

Rose jokingly says he suffers from multiple personality syndromes, which was why it was necessary to release a compilation of two CDs with drastically different moods.

The first, aptly entitled “Friday Nights” is specifically meant to gear up for the weekend fun life; the other, he says, aids in Sunday morning recovery.

Both are filled with his original music inspired by life, travel and music heroes. Each, he says are personal as he communicates through music even though he remains fairly illiterate at it.

To this day, after his parents spent “beaucoup bucks” on music sheets, dreaming of their boy playing Beethoven and Mozart — he can’t. And won’t.

When Rose was growing up, his fourth-grade music teacher taught him a lesson he remembers to this day: Musicians don’t have to follow lesson plans.

The lesson Rose aimed for was improv, he said, grinning wide as he sits at a table underneath the tree that downtown Poulsbo’s Magnolia Café is known for.

The lesson he learned was musicians don’t always have to play other people’s music.

“The lesson immediately stopped me from practicing Beethoven and scales,” says Rose laughing. “It really changed my approach to everything in my life because the lesson was so powerful.”

At 46, Rose has studied and pondered music for decades.

At a young age he learned he could express himself through tunes, communicate through notes and exude some soul through sound. Performing other musician’s great masterpieces made him feel like he was stuffing his style into a box.

“It’s like taking the bones without putting the flesh on them,” says Rose. “Music is another language to me.”

People, he says, would feel silly continually talking in poets well-known prose. To each artist the words, the sound, the timing is all part of a snapshot into their life.

“Communicating through music is incredibly satisfying,” Rose says. “I play how I feel.”

Inspired by travels and high school flashbacks

From high school to mid-30s to present, Rose says he’s experienced multiple mid- and quarter- life crises but he’s learned to embrace each.

“Growing pains are real, but they are good,” says Rose. “I never want to stay the same.”

Like high school fashion, many people learn from their past and grow in a direction better suited for lifelong coolness.

Although many Gen X-ers groan remembering their parachute pants, shoulder pads and high-waisted, denim on top and bottom outfits, they still have a soft spot for the music of their youth.

It’s no different for Rose, he admits.

“We are influenced by our high school years. That’s when we get molded and develop our personality and value system,” Rose said.

However, the music he listened to most fell under the categories of blues, swing, cajun and zydeco.

Rose, who traveled during his college years with his brother through the jungles of Sumatra (the biggest island of Indonesia in the Aceh province), and later to Corn Island, 70 miles off the coast of Nicaragua, said he picks up pieces of his style wherever he travels.

Some local open mic gatherers might have heard some of his pieces before when he breaks out a tune in places like such as Poulsbo’s Tizley’s Europub on Wednesday nights or the Treehouse Lounge on Thursdays.

He sometimes ventures to Bainbridge Island’s Pegasus Coffeehouse as well.

Dr. Party and Mr. Hyde

The two separate packages of Rose weekend tunes kicks off with sounds to get a personal funk and groove on.

The songs, which sound like they were created with a full eight-piece band, were all composed by Rose and his 400 digital-voice keyboard.

According to Rose that’s just the right amount of “voices” to try and capture the makeup of his personality.

“Everyone has multiple sides,” Rose says. “(The CDs) are completely different but reflect different parts of my personality.

“They are all really personal,” he says. “But I’m not saying they are any good. It doesn’t matter if I sell any.”

Releasing the CDs is a venture he’s taking to battle his biggest set back: unnecessary fear.

The words are almost gone from his vocabulary and thought process, but it’s taken steps to get here.

“It’s what keeps you up until three in the morning wondering what people think of you, how you are judged, it’s fear of the unknown. It’s self doubt,” he says. “My goal is to end life as a free spirit, as free as I came in. Those fears I learned I want to unlearn.”

The CDs will be available in bookstops and gift shops in Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island this month.