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Billy Jones
My Hometown
Black & Tan Records

10 songs; 45:28 minutes

Clearly, Billy Jones is an exciting singer, song writer, and guitarist deserving more attention. This second album produced in the Netherlands on the Black & Tan label is a great set of variety: original soul-blues, blues-rock, and funk that honor traditions, but bring something new for today.

Born in 1953 in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Jones’ family owned and operated a blues cafe often hosting Howlin’ Wolf and Bobby “Blue” Bland. Learning guitar as a child, he was considered a prodigy, who developed a voice similar to Prince, and became an understudy to artists such as Little Johnny Taylor and Rufus Thomas.

Seeing himself as part of the new Blues generation, Jones describes his music, “ ain't that same ol' predictable stuff at big corporate labels...But then...what do these 'fat cat' record company guys know about what's happening on the streets right now?”

A perfect example of a contemporary street issue is his powerful indictment of methamphetamine’s destruction in “Crystal.” The tough guitar accentuates the message, “’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

The CD kicks off acoustically with a soul-blues number that can deceive the listener into thinking the entire album will be in this vein. But, by the second number, gears have shifted to tasty electric slide guitar. Then beautiful shimmering guitar chords underlie the love song in the third track. The title track lyrics tell a poignant mix of frustration and hope underscored by an intricate studio mix of instruments.

Jones is an artist worth the investment of your time. How many artists today are really trying to change things with their music?

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker -  Recommended

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