Solid Blues Records
At thirty eight years old JW Jones’ influences include fellow Canadians Ronnie Hawkins and Colin James. He has also absorbed most of the roots rock, blues, and country music that has come before him. He has recorded with Kim Wilson, David “Fathead” Newman, Little Charlie Baty, Hubert Sumlin and many others. Jones last recording “High Temperature” won the award for “Best Self-Produced CD” at the 2017 International Blues Challenge. That album included songs from Little Walter, Charlie Rich, Lonnie Mack, Leon Russell, and Moby Grape. You never know what he might select to cover.
This is Jones’ tenth recording overall and it was recorded “Live” at La Basoche – Centre Cultural de Vieux Aylmer in Quebec Ontario. The album was co-produced, recorded and mixed by Nashville’s Zach Allen. This might be his best band lineup: Jones, guitar and vocals; Laura Greenberg who won Bassist of The Year at the Maple Blues Awards; Will Laurin, drums and vocals; and Don Cummings, Hammond organ.
The set opens with “A Memo (Nothin’ But Love)”, a Robert Cray tune, written by Cray’s bassist Richard Cousins. The song features a great vocal from Jones and some cool harmony on the chorus from the members of the band.
Jones includes two songs from B.B. King. “Need You So Bad” was first recorded by King in 1957; Jones is at his most soulful. “Early Every Morning” was released in 1966 and on Jones’ version you can hear why Greenberg was named the bassist of the year.
Vocally Jones is at his best on Bob Dylan’s folk rock styled “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You”. Two more outstanding vocals are 1962’s “Catch That Teardrop” from the “5” Royales; and James Hunter’s “Way Down Inside” originally recorded in 1996 and featuring Laurin on drums. Jones shines again on Jimmy Rogers “That’s Alright” with the lyric “every now and then I wonder whose lovin’ you tonight”.
Other chestnuts include a nine minute version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Moanin At Midnight”; Albert King’s “You’re Gonna Need Me”; and Ben Harper’s “I Don’t Believe A Word You Say” recorded with Charlie Musselwhite.
Jones closes with Deke Dickerson’s great rockabilly tune “I Might Not Come Home At All” first recorded in 2003. He uses it as a frame for some guitar antics as he plays a medley of familiar surf rock tunes interspersed with some fragments of the Rolling Stones and Beatles songs. At only five minutes and twenty five seconds it seems as if Jones could have gone on all night and not come home at all.
The enthusiastic audience knows from the get go that they’re gonna have a good time and Jones does not disappoint. Chuck Leavell said it best “Jones’ evolution as a musician and vocalist shine through… JW is the real deal”.