Laurence Jones review…August 28, 2016…

LAURENCE JONES

TAKE ME HIGH

RUF RECORDS 1234

GOT NO PLACE TO GO–SOMETHING’S CHANGED–LIVE IT UP–ADDICTED TO YOUR LOVE–I WILL–THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW–TAKE ME HIGH–DOWN AND BLUE–THE PRICE I PAY–HIGHER GROUND

Guitarist Laurence Jones has won the Young Artist Of The Year from the British Blues Awards in both 2014 and 2015.  His star continues to rise, and his fourth album, just released on Ruf Records, is entitled “Take Me High.”  Consisting of nine originals and one cover, this set also pairs Laurence with legendary producer Mike Vernon–yep, the same man who produced Mayall, Clapton, and Bowie in the Sixties, and countless others since.  He heard young Mr. Jones at a British festival, and knew he had to get him into the studio.

Mike told Laurence to relax and imagine himself back on the festival stage, to re-capture that “live” feel as best he could, and the results are quite dazzling.  The set starts off with two blistering looks at love.  Leading off is the tale of being on a merry-go-round of endless relationships, each leaving you feeling that you’ve “Got No Place To Go.”  Next up is the funky strut of “Something’s Changed,” as Laurence can feel his lover is no longer “the girl I used to know.”

We had a spate of favorites, too.  We enjoy hearing Laurence let loose on his guitar, and several cuts fill that bill.  A song encouraging us all to “Live It Up,” as “life goes by too fast” churns over a lightning-fast groove.  “Down And Blue” is another solid blues-rocker dealing with the struggles of everyday life,  while the story of a wishy-washy lover takes on a Delta feel, thanks to harp from Paul Jones, as Laurence bemoans “The Price I Pay just to say that I got you!”   And, the set closes on a positive vibe, with vocals from Reuben Richards on an energetic read of “Higher Ground.”

Laurence Jones has shown a remarkable maturity well-beyond his years.  Mike Vernon saw that, too, as “Take Me High” began to take shape. This set continues to show just what a blues force he has become!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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