September 26, 2023
JW-Jones – Everything Now | Album Review – Blues Blast Magazine

JW-Jones – Everything Now

Solid Blues Records

11 Tracks – 40 minutes

Canadian blues artist JW-Jones was born in Ottawa in 1981. In 1999, he won the Ottawa Blues Guitar Riff-off, which led to the release of his first album, Defibriallatin in 2000. Over the years he has performed or recorded with numerous blues luminaries including Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Baty, Buddy Guy, Kim Wilson who produced his third album in 2004 and fellow Canadian Colin James among many others. In 2017, his album High Temperature won the Best Self-Produced CD award at the International Blues Challenge and in 2020 he won the Best Guitarist award.

Everything Now consists of all original songs written or co-written by Jones. Jones plays guitar and plays drums on the second track. Producer Gordie “Big Sugar” Johnson plays the keyboards, bass, drums, rhythm guitar, lead guitar on track 11, and does harmony vocals, Co-producer Eric Eggleston also adds rhythm guitar and percussion and some harmony vocals. Numerous guest performers join in on various songs.

The title track opens the album in rousing fashion with a slightly popish song about seeking a true love.  Stanton Moore, drummer for New Orleans band Galactica, guests on the song.  “Keeping Me Up” finds JW with suspicions when “I hear you talking in your sleep” “You are keeping me up”, another popish rock song. He continues to rock out and notes that “Mama’s off the rails again and “Papa’s in the Pen” in a tale of a kid who grew up with dysfunctional parents.

Jimmie Vaughan and JW’s guitar plays off of each other on “Take Your Time” in the first true rock-blues song on the album. In the confessional “To Tell You The Truth (I  Lied”, Jesse O’Brien, who played with Ronnie Hawkins and Richard “King Biscuit Boy” Newell guests on keyboards as JW admits ” I am a blue-collar guy, but my exaggerations are justified” because “I am tongue tied around you”. Next he says “I always thought I was middle class, but I found out I was poor.” “My Luck” “has got to change”.

JW says he is “not sure what keeps me in this town” and “maybe I will forget about you if I try some place new” finally noting that “It’s Not Raining In L.A.” and proclaiming he is “California Dreaming my troubles away”. The Texas Horns (Kaz Kazanoff, John Mills and Al Gomez) join on a story where he thinks about “When You left”.

He notes that “feeding my lines” “Works Every Time” with some nice jazzy guitar runs somewhat reminiscent of George Benson. “You don’t wear silver, but you still shine.” “You are authentic” so “I Choose You” “to make things right.” As noted above, Gordie Johnson takes the lead guitar as JW sings that it is “Good To Be True” on the final song.

The album is certainly pleasant vocally with some excellent guitar sprinkled in, but as noted at the beginning, the songs come off as more pop than blues. It is worth a listen, but if you are seeking blues or even blues -rock, this does not meet my thoughts of the genres.

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