top of page

Albums | Laurence Jones - Bad Luck & The Blues



'De redder van de blues', 'De nieuwe Joe Bonamassa', ... je kent de superlatieven wel waarmee labels en pr-bureaus hun nieuwe vondsten overladen en de wereld uitsturen. Trap in die marketing val en je wordt bijna steeds ontgoocheld. Kijk doorheen die slogans en je staat meer open voor wat je hoort én ontdekt best leuke nieuwe bands en artiesten.

Een andere kop dekt dan wel weer zowat de hele lading van Jones' nieuwe album: hard hitting blues rock gebracht door een power trio. Want jawel, de blues die Jones en zijn 2 metgezellen brengen knalt oerend hard door de speakers.


De album opener en titelnummer zet meteen de toon: geen 12-bar blues of één of andere melige variant, neen, zoek het meer richting een Ian Moore uit de Modernday Folklore periode (1995) of, verder terug in de tijd een, een stevige Frank Marino, vooral de gelaagde zang bij momenten. Meer recent durf ik vergelijken met bepaalde songs van Gary Clark Jr. (Numb o.a.) en jawel, zelfs Joe Bonamassa wanneer die Texas blues uit de snaren perst.

Jones gaat echter nog een stukje harder tewerk dan de vernoemde voorbeelden. Tussen de stevige riffs weeft hij menig machtig solomoment. De drums knallen hardrockgewijs en de basgitaar legt een betondikke onderlaag. Het album dendert in feite gedurende zes songs lekker voort, wisselend tussen midtempo en meer slepende nummers. Pas bij Take Control heb ik het gevoel dat er een dipje komt en ik het ondertussen allemaal wel gehoord heb en misschien naar iets meer nuance snak. De man geeft echter aan dat een ballad helemaal niet zou passen in deze collectie. Wie ben ik dan om zijn keuze in twijfel te trekken. Luister ik eerst naar de laatste drie nummers dan is er helemaal niets aan de hand en heb ik hetzelfde gevoel dat ik bij de eerste reeks heb.

Een gebrek aan wat finesse en een eventueel rustpunt leiden mogelijks naar wat overkill. Wie echter zijn blues vooral oerend hard wil, die kan Bad Luck & The Blues blindelings aanschaffen.


Releasedatum: 25 augustus 2023


facebook


luister




















lees


Laurence Jones, the multi-award-winning guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter born in Liverpool, releases his seventh studio album via Marshall Records on August 25. ‘Bad Luck &The Blues’ is the first to feature Jones in a power trio since his 2012 critically acclaimed debut album ‘Thunder In The Sky’ which hailed Jones as the ‘future of the blues’. Over the last decade and a half, Jones has mastered his craft playing live to sold out audiences across the UK, The Netherlands, France & Germany. Going back to his roots with his power-trio’ sound. This keyboard-free permutation allows Jones the perfect platform to celebrate his love of the electric guitar. Sure enough, ‘Bad Luck & The Blues’ is a ripping-hard hitting blues rock album. Featuring Jack Alexander Timmis (Bass) & Ash Sheehan (Drums)


Jones released his previous record, ‘Destination Unknown’, a mere ten months ago. Conceived as the world was shut down in quarantine, Laurence described the results as a “British rock crossover album”, taking his blues-based sound to more song-based areas and declaring: “I’d like to enter the rock world a little bit more.” ‘Bad Luck & The Blues’ takes that goal and amplifies it tenfold.


“Lockdown changed everything,” he explains. “I had started my career in a power-trio and gradually moved away from that. Going back to those roots was an itch that I’d wanted to scratch for ages. I took things as far as I could with ‘Destination Unknown’ – its overall sound and the band I had – and whatever I did next had to be more energetic and come from me. Two of my biggest heroes were Gary Moore and Jimi Hendrix, and that’s the direction I wanted to go in, along with some more contemporary influences such as The Black Keys & Jack White. But my main point of reference on this album was Robin Trower. I had been a fan for years, but I used lockdown to sink myself into his playing style and the tone he used.”


Jones cites New Year’s Eve of 2022. “I made it a resolution of mine; that’s why the line-up changed so quickly before the next tour,” he remembers. “I always follow my gut feeling with the music and where it takes me at that time in my life”. Jones continues “I’ve never been afraid to push musical boundaries, but this record felt easy & natural when I was writing and recording”.


Anyone presuming to know exactly what to expect from a Laurence Jones album by now, think again. And don’t bother waiting around for a ballad because from the opening strains of its rollockin’ title track to sign-off cut You’re Not Alone via ‘Don’t You Leave Me This Way’, an unmistakable nod to Trower, it never arrives.


“Everyone expects my albums to include at least one ballad, maybe more, but this time it didn’t feel right to have one,” Jones continues. “This is a very different record for me. With less instrumentation the sound really breathes, and that makes the whole thing heavier.”


A lengthy and successful British tour as special guests of Status Quo in 2022 only galvanised Jones’ determination to push the music into harder-edged territory. “Seeing how Quo put on a show definitely affected the energy levels I sought,” he comments, grinning: “There aren’t many ballads in their set-list either.”

Apart from Quo, the guitarist has shared stages with Sir Van Morrison, Sir Ringo Starr, the late Jeff Beck and Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa, Wishbone Ash, Glenn Hughes and Vintage Trouble among many others. In 2017, Buddy Guy, who once likened Laurence to “a young Eric Clapton”, invited the youngster to join him onstage at the Holland International Blues Festival before of an audience of 15,000. Jones has also appeared at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Royal Albert Hall in London and New York’s Carnegie Hall.


“The album was written over the Christmas period where I had 3 weeks off” Jones recalls. “I wanted to have 95% of the album written before I came to the band this time as I knew exactly what direction I wanted to go in, I then met with the band and had only 2 half days of running the songs I wrote. It instantly locked in, and we all felt free playing the new songs…”


Having strummed a guitar from the age of seven – 23 years ago – Jones went on to pick up just about every blues award going. He won Young Artist of The Year at the British Blues Awards for three consecutive years (2014-’16). A decade ago, Classic Rock magazine hailed him as “the future of the blues”. But having turned thirty in 2022, Laurence is aware that being viewed as the future of *anything* only lasts for so long.


Now Laurence Jones holds all the aces. Having toured every nook and cranny of the UK since he was a teenager, the guitarist has cultivated a faithful and patient audience. ‘Bad Luck & The Blues’ is a second album for Marshall Records, the imprint owned by the celebrated amplifier manufacturing company. After faring so well last time, Marshall’s UK boss Steve Tannett renewed trust in Laurence with the responsibility for its production, bringing the trio to the label’s Milton Keynes HQ and re-employing a celebrated but now familiar piece of hardware – the mixing desk used by The Rolling Stones on their album ‘Tattoo You’.


“Apart from the band line-up the circumstances were exactly the same,” Jones comments. “Adam Beer and Olly Brightman returned as the studio engineers and we also used Chris Sheldon, the legendary mixer, once again, though what he did with this album is very different to the last one. Chris really dipped into his work with bands like the Foo Fighters, bringing it a polished sound.” The album was mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios by Christian Wright (Jack Bruce, Robin Trower, Ten Years After).


Having signed to a new booking agency, Neil O’Brien Entertainment, who also represent Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart, Jones will be appearing at several major blues rock summer festivals across The Netherlands, France & The UK along with headline tours planned for 2023. For more information visit laurencejonesmusic.com/shows


The past few years have seen Jones progress steadily from the small blues clubs he started out in to become a headline act in regional theatres. In certain areas of mainland Europe, such as the Netherlands where he scored a Top 40 hit with ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ and has featured on national TV several times, including on the show Voetball Inside, things are moving faster still. ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ was ranked in the Top 2000 all-time songs of Holland. In 2017 Jones won European guitarist of the year and was presented the award after his show at Ribs and Blues festival in The Netherlands. He returns this summer to headline the event.


“My fans have stuck with me through thick and thin and the occasional change of direction. Numbers are increasing everywhere. The tour with Quo has made me a bit more rock friendly, I suppose. But the fans know one thing for sure – they will never see the same show twice. That’s what keeps them coming back.”


A realistic definition of success, he believes, is to keep on making records and continue to make music that inspires & connects with the fans “having the blues at the deep core of my song writing and guitar playing”.


“A few of these songs relate to those experiences,” he affirms. “For a touring musician it can be very hard. So much travelling brings a lot of struggles, and there are times when I feel the blues. The late nights bring fatigue; I get cramps. It’s easy to get dehydrated. I’ve a strict diet which can be very difficult to follow on the road. Luckily, there’s now a new treatment – an injection I give myself every eight weeks – and that made me more fatigued than ever. But I never let my fans down. I’ve cancelled maybe six or seven gigs in my entire career.


As an ambassador for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, the charity dedicated to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease, Jones refuses to let his condition stop him. The video for the first single ‘Lonely Road’ sees Jones acknowledging his personal struggles and daily trials, while keeping two hands on the wheel, and his sights dead set on the horizon ahead.


“All the same, I’ve never felt more confident in the songs I’ve written,” Jones states in conclusion. “This album has a fixed and solid direction, and Marshall have given me full creative control. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this next part of my journey takes me.”



bottom of page