The band as they stepped on stage were greeted with a warm cheer and Laurence Jones plugged in his guitar and stepped up to the microphone as we were off to what was going to be a musical Friday night journey of blues delight. The band accompanying Laurence tonight was Finnish drummer Miri Miettinen good to see and hear him back on the drums and completing the rhythm section of this trio was Barry Pethers on Bass.
Laurence is maturing rapidly and every-time I hear him play he is developing and is now creating his own interpretation of the Blues, this is now not so much a power trio as he brings a subtlety to the playing as he adds tone and musical texture to the music he is developing with a smile and passion. Tonight he played a really mature set which was enhanced by his voice which is getting stronger combined with his approach to his guitar producing a more controlled energy, reflecting the experience and knowledge he has gained from playing with some of the great modern guitarist including Walter Trout and more recently Mike Zito whilst recording his latest CD Temptation with special guests Walter Trout and Aynsley Lister and it has certainly paid off.
We were treated tonight with a two stylish sets which were a mix of tracks off his two albums and some stylish Laurence Jones interpretations of some blues classics. Southerly Breeze, is full of blues riffs and licks that makes the guitar sing reflecting the vocals and is delivering blues that is as fresh as a sea breeze. BB Kings, classic The Thrill Has Gone was given some rather special treatment from Laurence making this truly a track that is about Laurence’s skills and not mimicking someone else’s style. Barry on bass added lots of his distinctive percussive style and a rougher contrast to the silky smooth guitar playing of Laurence and at the back Miri ensured the tempo and timing was immaculate and giving the solid backdrop for Laurence to pick up and build from. He developed a great repartee with the audience who were loving every note he played. We were introduced to Soul Swamp River inspired by the rat that ran across his room while recording in Louisiana. This is a confident musician who played tonight a new catchy number Stop Moving the House, with a lyric developed after hearing a story at The Cambridge Rock Festival.
What an entertaining evening, there was no doubt that the audience would have liked Laurence to play on all night, he gave us a longer encore and once again everyone stood and showed their appreciation, sadly though the music for tonight was over. There can be no argument that Laurence Jones and his Band delighted the packed Ballroom tonight and once again demonstrating why there is such a buzz around this young man whenever he picks up his guitars, and you can hear why he was the Young Blues Artist of The Year in the British Blues Awards 2014. The band have a busy schedule and are much in demand and for the next seven days they are off supporting Kenny Wayne Shepherd, which should provide a further opportunity for Laurence to evolve and develop into a top blues artist.
Thank you to Life Leisure Trust – keeping music live and of this quality in Ebbw Vale.