Laurence Jones has a new album, the self titled “Laurence Jones Band” set for a release date on Friday 27th September 2019 on Top Stop Music via Sony and it is an interesting departure for an artist perhaps best known to his audience as a “Blues guitarist”.
When reviewing albums, you are always hoping to find the one among the many similar sounding ones that for some reason stands out, and at the moment for me, this is the one. There is something about this album that just takes me back in time to the 1970s/80s and that “soulful funk-feel” to many of the songs here, but there is still that Blues element in there. This is, to be clear, not Laurence Jones going backwards and doing a “retro-feel” period album, but I suspect simply a contemporary musician who has discovered on their own the feel of this period and added their own contemporary take on things. The result is a 12 track album that shifts between musical genres as easily as it does time-frames.
At the moment, there are a lot of very good blues musicians and bands out there, and for the most part, they are chasing the sounds of “the Blues Legends of Yesteryears”, and all too often without the feeling behind the words and music that “The Blues” really is, so it is refreshing to come across a new album that is following its own musical paths. The 12 songs on this album all have one thing in common – they explore emotions, feelings and personal hopes and beliefs, and give us an insight into the writer behind these very well crafted songs. Yes, there is of course some interesting guitar work here, but it is not at the cost of the emotions of the words, this has not been sacrificed for yet another display of guitar virtuosity. A good musician knows when not to play an unrequired note, and Laurence Jones obviously understands the fact that “less is often more” in music.
Probably the “Bluesiest” song here is “Beautiful Place”, a song about someone having a difficult time with depression and telling them that the place they are in is only a stepping stone on the road of life to better times. Keeping with this very Blues feel is a version of The Beatles’ classic “Day Tripper” and the promo information describes this one as “Stevie Ray Vaughn meets The Beatles”, and it works. It also reminds me of just what a good “R & B” band The Beatles were when they wanted to be.
This album is the culmination of over two years’ work, and that time and care on this project shows in the songs and the production values on this album. This feels fresh and new whilst at the same time keeping enough of the sounds of earlier Blues/R & B/Funk & Soul classics and each of the twelve songs here is here for a reason, not just to fill space on the album.
Laurence Jones has a talent for expressing emotions in song, and this is an album where you really need to listen to his words, and so often you will find yourself saying “been there, understand that song well”. Often though, the simplest of songs can be the most interesting, and the last song on this album, “The Love” is one of those songs; finding that economy of words when writing is difficult to do, and this is a good example of how to do it.
LAURENCE JONES BAND
1. Everything's Gonna Be Alright
2. Wipe Those Tears Dry
3. I'm waiting
6. Quite Like You
7. Long Long Lonely Ride
8. Beautiful Place
9. Low Down
10. Day Tripper
11. Heart Is On Fire
12. The Love
Review by Tom King