Saturday, October 18, 2014

JW-Jones - Belmont Boulevard

2014 – Blind Pig Records
By Phillip Smith; Oct 18, 2014

After listening to this fascinating recording, which artfully blends country music and rockabilly with the blues, it’s no surprise to discover Canadian bluesman JW-Jones recorded his eighth and most recent album, Belmont Boulevard, in Nashville, Tennessee.  Enlisting Grammy winner, Tom Hambridge to co-write and produce seems to have paid off very well. 

Jones gets the adrenaline pumping while covering Bobby Parker’s “Watch Your Step”.  Putting his own cool spin on the song, he cleverly throws a lot of ‘twang’ into it, giving it a retro country sound.  The intro immediately made me think of Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses”.  Another expertly performed cover tackled by Jones is Buddy Guy’s “What’s Inside of You”.  Some of his most serious and finest guitar playing is exhibited on this track.  This song is pure blues.  Jones’ guitar sounds so sweet as it co-mingles with the keyboards handled by Reese Wymans.

“Don’t Be Ashamed”, interestingly blends blues with surf rock.  Haunting guitar riffs, pulsating organ attacks, and a spectacular guitar solo, make this a favorite.  “Magic West Side Boogie” is phenomenal.  With guitar playing reminiscent of Jim Heath of Reverend Horton Heat, Jones delivers the goods, as does Jamie Holmes who plays the hell out of the drums.

Jones sets a swampy psychedelic mood with “Cocaine Boy”, which he understandably saves for last.  This gonzo treat is delivered via tinny and echoey vocals sung atop a slow-basted bass line.  Guitar licks enter the song, like screams in a haunted house, making this track quite a wild listen. 

This album has a way of captivating the listener, and not letting go. 


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