Goin' Places

By Chrissy Steinbock — Fri, 26/09/2014 - 08:44

These days Ottawa’s own world-class blues guitar-slinger/singer JW Jones is a hard man to get a hold of, and it’s no wonder.  Jones is set to release his 8th album, Belmont Boulevard which he recorded down in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Susan Tedeschi). The new album also marks a career milestone for Jones as his first release on Blind Pig Records, a notable blues label in the U.S. This Saturday night you’re invited to hear what Jones has been up to lately as he and his band take the stage at the Rainbow Bistro for Belmont Boulevard’s CD release party in a show that also celebrates the Rainbow’s 30th anniversary. I got in touch with Jones over e-mail to ask some questions about the making of the album, the upcoming tour and what we can expect to hear on the new record.

For those of you, who have not yet been acquainted with JW Jones, allow a moment for an introduction. JW Jones is one of Ottawa’s hardest working musicians. He’s toured around the world, opened for B.B. King and collaborated with some of the best blues musicians alive, including Little Charlie Baty, Junior Watson, Charlie Musselwhite and Hubert. As Jones says, “The only way to be successful in the music business is to be busy, all-the-time.”

The new album is named for the address of Sound Emporium Studios on Belmont Boulevard in Nashville where it was recorded. As Jones explains, “It was such a great experience in this studio, and such a gorgeous street, with the sun shining every day we were in town.  I had to bottle that feeling somehow, and Belmont Boulevard makes me smile.” As for what to expect with the new record Jones says “This CD is all about getting out of my comfort zone musically and lyrically, working with a big producer and creating a high-energy experience that matches our live show, and I knew Tom was the man to make that happen.” As for the songwriting on the album, Jones took a fresh approach to that as well, drawing on parts of his past that he’s never before exposed in his work. “Digging deep into some very serious personal stories from my past and turning them into songs has been liberating and part of the healing process,
 says Jones. “I hope these songs resonate with listeners that have been through similar experiences.” From the sounds of it, Belmont Boulevard promises a winning mix of honest songwriting and hard hitting blues.

Catching the show Saturday night gives you the chance to hear the new songs ahead of the official Canadian release date on October 7th. An even better reason to check it out, though, is simply the show itself. Sure, Jones’ guitar playing is hot and the band is tight, but what really makes JW stand out is his electrifying showmanship. It seems that no matter when or where I’ve seen him play the energy was right from first song to finish. When I asked him about what goes into crafting his live show he says, “I have always been most excited by the old 50s and 60s players that would make things interesting visually. One of my favourite artists ever, Little Charlie Baty (Little Charlie and the Nightcats) had a ton of tricks with his band that kept the audience engaged, and over the years we developed our own ideas to do the same. I used to switch from guitar to drums for fun, but then we took it up a notch when we had the bassist move over to the guitar and the drummer to the bass.” But that’s only one of the tricks Jones has cooked up for his show Saturday. You’ll just have to come out to see the rest.

After Saturday night’s show JW and band are hitting the road for a huge North-American tour which will bring their electrifying blues from Minneapolis to Vancouver, California to Texas, Arizona to Missouri, and even all the way down to Key West, Florida.

Belmont Boulevard is officially released in Canada on October 7th. You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, as well as in finer record stores everywhere.

CD release party for “Belmont Boulevard” and the Rainbow’s 30th anniversary celebration
Saturday September 27 @ 9:30 pm
$15.00 at the door (One-time offer of $25 includes new CD)
Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St

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