Review: JW-Jones – Seventh Hour
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
JW-Jones – Seventh Hour
(CrossCut Records: CCD 11104)
It’s hard to believe 12 years have now passed since Ottawa-based JW-Jones first album, “Defibrillatin'”, and here is his seventh release, aptly-titled “Seventh Hour”, and as with all his other recordings, again out on CrossCut Records in Europe. Whereas the past albums have featured ‘blues royalty’ such as Kim Wilson, Junior Watson, Charlie Musselwhite, and more, this time it’s an altogether more totally Canadian affair, with his regular band and associates on board.
Recorded at JW’s home in Ottawa the ten tracks are all originals, bar just two choice covers. JW-Jones impeccable guitar shines through again, and his voice has become stronger with each release. The music is a mix of classic blues stylings, often with a soulful feel, and inspired by his heroes such as Little Milton, BB King, Jimmie Vaughan and Ronnie Earl, but given a modern twist by Jones and his fine musicians.
Proceedings start in fine style with the soulful strut of “Ain’t Gonna Beg”, which is followed by the excellent “Let It Go”, where, apart from the lovely guitar work, long-time keyboard player, Jesse Whiteley is prominent . . . indeed his contributions on Hammond organ and piano are superb throughout. The other ‘core’ musicians are the rhythm section of Jeff Asselin (drums) and Marc Decho (upright and electric bass).
Jones’s guitar roars on the uptempo “In A Song”, with some blistering soloing and passionate vocal, again underpinned by Whiteley’s keyboards. “You Got Caught” is one of three co-writes with Tim Wynne-Jones and has a dark, Howlin’ Wolf feel to it . . . not surprising perhaps as the late, great Hubert Sumlin was another huge influence, and actually guested on the last album, “Midnight Memphis Sun”.
Jones’s own “All Over Again” has a Southern soul, Memphis-groove to it; and it is followed by the country/rockabilly stormer, “Heartbreaker”, driven along by the rhythm section and Jeremy Wakefield’s steel guitar. Little Milton’s “I’m Tryin'” is another standout, with a glorious Albert Collins-tinged guitar intro, and the tune swings along in fine style, again embellished by Whiteley’s sparkling piano.
This most enjoyable release ends in great fashion with a romp through the Sun rockabilly classic, “So Long I’m Gone”, penned by the late legendary producer Sam Phillips, and the ‘Big O’ himself, Roy Orbison. JW-Jones lays on the rocking guitar in a Chuck Berry manner, with Jeremy Wakefield again guesting on steel guitar . . . an uplifting end indeed!
Jones has never made it to the UK and it would be great to see that happen . . . I was lucky enough to catch him in the intimate surroundings of an upstairs room in a Dublin pub back in 2006 and it was a fine night . . . let’s hope he gets over to see us soon!