Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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Laurence Jones: Thunder In The Sky (Proper Records)

Laurence Jones: Thunder In The Sky CD



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UK release date 11.06.2012

The young guns of the blues guitar are popping up around the UK thick and fast. Oli Brown leading the charge, with Virgil McMahon, Alex McKown and Chantel McGregor coming up behind.

Ample proof that instead of hanging around on street corners frightening old ladies and drinking White Lightening from the corner shop, these lads (and some lasses) have spent many days and nights shut away in a bedroom with a Stratâ, a practice amp and piles of SRV CDs, ignoring homework obligations.

Some have delved further into the roots of the blues and picked up licks from the likes of the three kings; BB, Albert and Freddie et al.

Hot prospect 19-year-old Laurence Jones is clearly a big Stevie Ray and Jimi fan, but he has far more than that going for him on his impressive new CD. I can hear the attack of Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan and Lonnie Mack, plus the bite of Rory and much more in his licks.

Just two covers on this 10-track offering. The song-writing is promising, and it is encouraging he does write his own stuff, but it needs development. This is raw talent and a decent statement of intent. Overall the vocals do not match up to the slickness and skill of the playing, but I have heard worse. (Guitar fans will usually forgive anything if thereâs a cracking axe man on board though.)

But with time, experience and the right producer behind him, this young man from the home of the Bard is going places. Now a full time musician on the blues circuit, and support slots to bigger names under his belt, with his band Ali Hetherington (bass, vocals) and Mikey Dean-Smith (drums) providing solid backing.

A brave move to tackle such an iconic song as BBâs âThe Thrill Is Gone,â but he pulls it off nicely in his own style, and not a copy-cat version. Strat' versus Gibson. A lovely version of the old classic âPut A Spell On Me,â a favourite in his live set. Track three: âToo Goodâ has an infectious groove and one of the strongest songs here (The Hoax territory perhaps.) Only one slow blues offered: the title track. The rest all pacy runs, and it would have been nice to have been given a bit more light and shade between playing all over all nine tracks, and leaving space on more slower stuff.

The closer features a smattering of slide, thereâs organ on a couple, but it is mainly the forceful power trio and Laurence showing what he can do.

I am not so focused only about what he can do now, as compared to what he is capable of and likely to do in the future; the potential is huge.

Oh, for those out there bandying Oli Brownâs name about when they hear Laurence, heâs nothing like OB; who is further over toward an American /Joe Bonamassa loud arena rock sound than young LJ.

Good news that the future of the blues is healthy and in safe hands methinks. Room for all of âem.

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