J. P. Jones, Ashes (Vision Company Records) - Say hello to singer/songwriter J. P. Jones. With his Nashville-meets-roots sound, J. P. is an engaging performer.
On Ashes, J. P. is backed by a formidable band, including Everett Brown on accordion and mandola, Mike Fishman on banjo, Ed Laperle and Kurt Meyer on bass, Vinnie Pasternak on fiddles, Drew Wanacht on drums, and Steve Tavares on assorted percussion (including gong, congas and claves).
Now age 50, Jones' first album was the self-titled, John Paul Jones(1972). While Jones has shared bills with such notables as Bonnie Raitt and Little Feat, 18 years would go by before J.P.'s self-produced follow-up, Voluntown (1990).
Jones now makes his home in Newport, Rhode Island, and married his long-time "soul mate," visual artist, Kerstin Zettmar in 1998. The 1990's were a productive period for J.P., as he released five CDs, including three CDs of all-original material in a 15-month space.
Says J. P. (quoting Robert Johnson), "God is out of the box. This isn't good news if we like our religion organized. And it won't be good news much longer for people who have only learned how to cash in on it. Forget about the millennium."
Yet J. P. is not all dark. When he and his band start cooking, on songs like "What Took Ya So Long" and "Don't Feel Guilty," the result is a polished sound that resembles Bob Dylan circa Oh Mercy.
Now in his second half-century, Jones has mellowed. Says J. P., "The other day, the phrase 'you gotta stay hungry' occurred to me. All of a sudden, that looked like complete insanity to me. My interests are in the world around me . . . It's a bigger world that what I have and what I don't have. I am interested in other people's dreams."
And while J. P. has a voice that reminds me of Mark Knopfler here's a note to everyone who wants to include somber, acoustic-based confessionals on their album: don't do it (see tracks 5-8). These tracks may work on stage, but an album needs a beat and a swing. Even guys as hip as Nick Lowe can't pull it off. Remember the words of Monty Python: "It's like those miserable Psalms: they're so depressing."
That criticism aside, Ashes has rewarding stretches. For more information, contact:
- Randy Krbechek © 2001