There has been something of a quiet renaissance going on with an excellent crop of young, established artists in the blues-rock idiom beginning to come to the fore. In a genre that is led by the ubiquitous blues pied piper Joe Bonamassa, artists such as Samantha Fish, Sari Schorr, Ash Wilson and Mollie Marriott, to name only a few, are the vanguard in this new blues explosion.
But there is one who, with a fair wind and a favourable roll of the musical dice, can break through to a bigger stage and crossover this genre. Now with four albums completed, Laurence Jones is still only in his mid-twenties and playing up a storm of rock blues. With his new album, The Truth, due for release here in March, tonight’s set was an exclusive preview into what can be expected from this release. And judging by the selected songs from it in tonight’s setlist, it’s a corker!
Blessed with fine looks and the finger play of a Clapton/ Hendrix hybrid, it’s no surprise that legendary producer Mike Vernon – producer of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’ “Beano” album – helmed his previous release Take Me High.
Hitting the stage with his well drilled and versatile three-piece band of players, Jones wasted no time by launching into opening track “What Would You Do” from the forthcoming release. A solid slab of vocal and guitar melody with a punch to it that Anthony Joshua would be very proud. Jones, with blue Telecaster to hand, let rip on one of many energetic sweet-toned solos that was a sign of things to come.
Remarkably, it’s only been about four years since Jones began his profile as a live performer; four years well spent in honing his craft and refining his stage presence. As a two time Blues Awards young musician of the year, Jones is maturing as a stage performer with an emotive soloing posture that is a photographers delight. He can also pen a very catchy number as evidenced by the rock-pop crossover of “Keep Me Up All Night” and its earworming plucky riff that really should be a massive beach party hit.
His fantastic tour-de-force guitar attack on “All Along The Watchtower” was almost worthy of Hendrix himself, but a brooding “Thunder In The Sky” took his set by the scruff of the neck and gave it a thorough shakedown, so much that both band and audience were blown away.
Interestingly, tonight’s sold out audience was a healthy mix of young female fans and the slightly older rock connoisseur who recognise a true, red-hot talent.
Time only will tell if The Truth will be Laurence Jones’ breakthrough album into the rock mainstream. But, mark my words, Jones is The Truth and most definitely the real deal.
Words: Paul Davies / Header Photo: © Laurence Harvey
Event Date: 23-Jan-2018