High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

BD: I was delighted when I was sent your latest album High Temperature out Friday 20th October 2017 the follow-up to Belmont Boulevard to review.  But first – let’s go back to the early days

 

BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Ottawa, Ontario?
JWJ:
JWJ: I started out playing drums at 13 years old.  I was into classic rock: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix etc. As I explored their influences, I discovered blues greats like BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters. Then, when I was 15 I saw BB King live in Ottawa. I went to the show as a drummer and left wanting to pick up a guitar.

Growing up in Ottawa, there were a couple of great blues clubs. The Rainbow Bistro is still open, and when I’m in town I play there. Another club, Tucson’s, is closed. I saw tons of great blues bands there when I was younger and became friends with so many of my musical heroes. Most touring blues bands don’t come through Ottawa anymore, other than to perform at the Blues Festival.
When the festival started, it was truly a blues festival. Now it’s more of a general music festival with everyone from Kiss to Lady Gaga. But they still bring in great blues artists like Buddy Guy, Dr John, Luther Allison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds etc.

BD: High Temperature is certainly getting noticed for all the right reasons.  Awards seem to follow your releases including for High Temperature produced by Nashville-based Colin Linden, which recently won “Best Self-Released CD” at the 2017 ‘International Blues Challenge’ (via Blues Foundation in Memphis).

JWJ: It was a huge surprise to be nominated since I had not heard of the category. I thought the International Blues Challenge(IBC) was about performances. I have been a judge at the IBC, which was a great experience. The Ottawa Blues Society approached me saying they wanted to submit High Temperature. Out of 93 entries, I heard I was in the top 5 or 6, which was exciting enough. When they announced that it had won, it was a nice surprise.

BD: Tell us about the making of the album number NINE. BD: The album is full of blues, with the genre being mixed in with other influences including Country, was this due to Nashville-based Colin Linden’s influence?

JWJ: Colin Linden is well-versed in roots music. He was mentored by Howlin’ Wolf, so he has a long history with the blues. He also works on the TV show “Nashville” as the musical director, so he brought a combination of influences to the album.

One song that comes to mind is “Where Do You Think I Was”, which I wrote in drop “D” tuning on guitar at home. I had no idea which way it would go in the studio. When I went in there, the studio musicians played their parts, then vocal harmonies were added. All of a sudden, it sounded like it had a bit of a country tinge to it.
My last two albums were recorded in Nashville with producers. This one with Colin Linden, and my previous album, Belmont Boulevard, with Tom Hambridge. Both producers assumed that the albums would be made using studio musicians. I had to fight to get my own band on a few songs. I believe it is important to have my own touring band on the album because they bring a different approach to the songs. They know blues music well since it is what we play every day on the road.

BD: Does the Title of the album High Temperature have any particular significance?

JWJ: “High Temperature” is a song by Little Walter, which we recorded for the album. I thought it would be a good title for the record because it ties into our live show, which is high energy.

BD: The album is inspirational with the track Who I Am being deeply personal as you share life experiences. Do you find it easy to open up using the power of your lyrics, vocals and guitar?

JWJ: That changed on the last record. Before that, I had not written anything really personal. For Belmont Boulevard, I mentioned to Tom Hambridge that I wanted to write a song about my childhood. He said to do it. Once I did this and got a positive reaction, I felt liberated. So on High Temperature I dug deeper with the song “Who I Am”. It is so moving to get emails from people saying they went through similar experiences. It is a beautiful thing to have your songs appreciated and understood.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. How do you set about writing your music is it words first or sometimes a guitar lick or riff that inspires you?

JWJ: Songs are all individual. Some come all together at once, but that is rare. My brain works in two ways. One side gives me the chord changes, riffs that develop the melody and the other side the words that become the lyric. I then play match-up with the tune to the lyrics to the melodies. It takes a lot of trial and error just have to keep going until it clicks.

 BD: Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?

JWJ: Every song is different. Some come together all at once, but that is rare. In my brain, there are two sides to writing a song. One side is the chord changes and riffs. The other side is the words and lyrics. I then have to match the chords with the lyrics and melody. Sometimes I try a few different ideas with the same lyrics. It takes a lot of trial and error, so I just keep at it until it clicks.

BD: Having toured the U.K. for the first time in 2016, long overdue having heard you and the band play in Swansea. You are back in the U.K. in November. With 17 dates will you be touring with the same band?

JWJ: The band is Laura Greenberg on bass, who was on the first U.K. tour and has been in the band for over five years, and we’ve got a great new drummer, Will Laurin. The UK tour last year was my favourite tour to date. I was nervous about stepping into the unknown, but the response was incredible with people travelling miles to see us on multiple shows. We really started to develop a fan base.

Now we are coming back to new towns and venues. We are taking a risk by renting venues, when we normally get paid to play, so we have to sell tickets in advance. On the positive side, there is a huge potential for growth. I would love to make this a regular tour, so we need to get everybody talking about us on social media and building a buzz for the tour. I loved the British experience and I am looking forward to going back.

BD: With new album and touring do you have any exciting plans for 2018 and beyond?

JWJ: My goal is to keep playing festivals, clubs, and theatres. I am also planning a live record for 2018. The last nine albums have been studio recordings, so it will be a first. People have been asking about a live record for years, so I think it’s about time.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
JWJ:

Drums: Richard Innes
Bass: Larry Taylor / James Jamerson
Guitar: Jimmie Vaughan
Harmonica: Little Walter
Organ: Jimmy Smith
Piano: Chuck Leavell
Vocals: Aretha Franklin / BB King

 

Find out more about JW Jones at – www.jw-jones.com

Read Bluesdoodles Reviews for JW Jones:-

High Temperature –  Review HERE

Beaumont Boulevard –  Review HERE

JW Jones Live in the U.K. HERE

JW Jones 2017 UK Tour Information HERE

 

High Temperature Conversation With JW Jones

 

 

Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana

Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana, Bristol.

Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana

 

 

Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana, Bristol.Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana. Who came outta the swamp? It had to be Big Boy Bloater and the Limits bringing Luxury Hobo to Bristol tonight. Opening the Friday live music delight was Ruzz Evans, flying solo tonight. His rockabilly guitar-fueled the energy. Creating that end of the week vibe. As he showcased numbers form his two albums with some spicy instrumentals.  Ruzz set the scene for Big Boy Bloater with his energetic mix of Rock n’ Roll, Bo Diddley and a twist of Country.

The room was full with a dark and atmospheric upstairs at The Louisiana, Bristol. Nothing subtle about these hard-edges hard-hitting blues. Bog Boy really got the crowd going with his unique interaction with the audience full of smiles, stories and the raising of his can with a hearty cheer.  A real gruff voice with lyrics that were as clear as a bell booming out. The Limits supporting provided a rhythmic base for the melodies of his guitar to fly. Creating a harmonious and heady mix of British R & B.

Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana, Bristol.Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana, Bristol.The drumming was superb from Matt Cowley, with a different drum set creating a distinctive and contemporary sound even with judicious use of a cowbell on the nearest thing to a title track of the current album Luxury Hobo Blues. The bassist Steve Oates add a throaty growl and rhythms that shaped the sound that was being created building the tension. Every note curling around the guitar of Big Boy Bloater.

Big Boy Bloater has a distinctive style. He exudes confidence as he explores the darker side of thinking. Never dampening the mood whether singing about murder or neurosis. This is due in no small part to his easy conversation with the audience sharing insights behind the numbers. With another song from Luxury Hobo. I Got The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me. He instills the gothic horror movie, with tension and the feeling that something is just about to happen. Great song, fantastic vibe live music that excites, intrigues and energises.

Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana, Bristol.

Now he may have a new album out early this year but the heart of the set was five new numbers. Forewarning his fans that another album is around the corner that is if these songs are representative going to be exciting with more Big Boy Bloater stories to be told.

A true story kicked this part of the set-off. Love and betrayal explored on She Didn’t Even Buy a Ticket. The drugs that keep us going are explored on Pills and on Unnaturally Charming a deep and heavy number with the slide that adds to the mood as we look into a murder’s mind. Then a highlight of the evening a wonderful shuffle with The Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle.

Time we were now deep in the clutches of the music. With Rocket Surgery a perfect way of addressing some technology gremlins we moved on to Robot Girlfriend.

Yes, Friday night we were Insanely Happy listening to the music that made you want to dance and smile. Far too soon it was the last song. Few minutes silence and then the encore It Came Outta The Swamp. What a highlight to leave us with. What a night of music to kick-start the weekend.

Now, this is live music and sometimes the band brings gremlins into the venue. Tonight BBB was beset with technology gremlins including his vintage amp deciding it needed a rest. The consummate professional, keeping the vibe going with quips and working through the issues. This did not dim the enthusiasm of the audience. This is live music we like the unexpected. Tonight, everybody went home happy having heard some brilliant contemporary blues-tinged R n’ B.

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Live Music Came Outta The Swamp to Play The Louisiana, Bristol.