30 September 2017 (released)
07 October 2017
I’ve been following Laurence Jones since he first started out, an incredibly fresh faced young man with ridiculous talent as a guitarist and pretty fair songwriting skills.
Recently he has changed his whole band and seems to be heading in a new direction, less rooted in the Blues and with a greater sense of pop and melody about his music. This album is the first real evidence of this development and I found it surprisingly satisfying but I needed a few listens before I could really get a handle on it.
The new band is comprised of Phil Wilson (drums), Greg Smith (bass), and Bennett Holland (keys) joining Jones in the band and they sound very tight and possibly more sympatico with where Jones is now than before.
Roger Innis gave him a very fluid and funky bass while Smith allows the music to hang on a more steady line and drummer Wilson is solid as a rock. The addition of keyboards allows Jones songs a wider scope and takes away from the need for his guitar to be the focus instrument.
The songs are a mixture of the ‘old’ Laurence Jones style – opener ‘What Would You Do’ is right on the mark as a piece of modern Blues – a great sense of funk to it and real bite to his vocals. ‘Keep Me Up At Night’ is very much more of a pop/rock number and definitely not a song that you would expect from the LJ of a couple of years ago.
One of my favorite numbers is very much a rock number – ‘Gone Away’ is a massive slab of Blues with a huge wash of keyboards and very heavy rhythm. I can see it being a real live fave.
The album closes on a sweet slow Blues, ‘Never Good Enough’ and shows that he can still write a fine tune, one that captures the ear and shows his subtler guitar skills.
If you sign up for this album expecting nothing but searing Blues/rock it probably won’t be what you are looking for. This is definitely the output of a musician in progress, developing his skills and moving forward. He still looks ridiculously young but there is a clear growth in evidence here.