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Dennis Jones - My Kinda Blues CD

Blue Rock Records


CD: 13 tracks; 53 minutes

Dennis Jones was brought up in Baltimore County, Maryland and first picked up a guitar at age 13. He lists among his influences not just the “Three K’s” as he calls B.B., Albert, and Freddie but also the “Three J’s” as in Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter and surprisingly, Jimmy Page. His songwriting is informed by hard times and hard living he has seen, experienced and avoided. Dennis formed his eponymous band in 1996 but in 2004 won the International Blues Competition held annually in Memphis as a member of Zac Harmon’s band. Dennis’ new album My Kinda Blues on Blue Rock Records is his fourth since his debut Falling Up in 2003.

After the first listen, it was clear Dennis Jones has carved out a piece of the post-Stevie Ray blues environment. He has a thick tone from Fender guitars and over-driven amps, he kicks up dust on full throttle shuffles, melds rock and blues influences seamlessly and isn’t afraid to acknowledge the influence of Jimi Hendrix on the blues. What separates him from a pack of imitators is his writing. Not only is the music spirited and inventive, but with his words he gambles on relating to modern problems, trends, and expectations. He avoids clichés and he has the guts to say what a lot of people are thinking. His voice is confident; a little rough around the edges, but mostly smooth and his delivery takes ownership of the words. He means what he plays and says.

My Kinda Blues starts off with the social commentary of “Jesus Or The Bottle” which includes newscast snippets and is ostensibly about preachers and televangelists but really comes down to what guides you and how you allow it to affect your life. Jesus can be as bad as the bottle and both give you crutches to lean on when you should be walking upright on your own. Maybe it’s a song about responsibility. Maybe it’s a song about hypocrites. Whatever the case, it rocks a stuttering riff all the way to confession. “Text Us Girl” looks at the impersonal aspects of personal relationships in cyberspace. Instead of being physically connected the protagonists are separated by satellites and cell phones when they could just be seeing and feeling each other in person.

“Best I Can” is about dedication to his craft at the expense of his personal relationship. He’s on the road, playing music that comes from within, and he doesn’t just want to play it; he has to. His other half doesn’t understand the drive, the need, or the feral desire. Naturally he misses home too and all the while he has in the back of his mind the needs of his family and he’s doing the best he can. You can tell he has experienced all these feelings, and the song and his playing are emotional releases of the pent-up frustration of the balancing act.

Kenny Neal guests on vocals and harmonica on the acoustically driven “Same Train” and Guitar Shorty gets on board for a pair of hair-raising solos on “You Took My Baby.” Thankfully you don’t have to guess which ones are Shorty. The liner notes kindly direct your ears to the right channel. More artists should let the listener know what channel to find the guests. “They Say” is about the media and how the messages manipulate us if we let them. Again, Jones shows he is a free thinker; an intellectual voice for reason, observation and the questioning of all the answers provided for our own good.

Live At The Temecula Theater DVD

While the CD is a hot plate full of blues, the DVD Live At Temecula Theater is a barnburner from start to finish. The trio of musicians parallels the CD with Jones, bassist Sam Correa and drummer Michael Turner bringing their kind of blues to the stage with high energy, confidence and swagger. The live set features music from all of Jones’ CD releases and features his laser point focus on issues like drug abuse on “Kill The Pain”, knowing when enough is enough on “I’m Good,” self-respect and confidence on “Big Black Cat” and getting your act together on “Brand New Day.”

Jones alternates between a Les Paul and a Strat – guitars favored by 2 of the 3 J’s – and plays for all he’s worth. Correa and Turner keep up with him at every twist and turn displaying their affinity for playing music together. They are a tight band that looks and sounds like they are having fun. They never heard of a thin tone; this is a trio that knows how to fill out the sound and maximize the potential of their instruments. They are tight but loose which just about the best tribute they could give to an influence like Jimmy Page. They bring blues and rock together on Live At The Temecula Theater for a day of reckoning neither will soon forget.

Overall, Jones seems like a self-confident, self-aware man who has created his own destiny and openly disdains those who lack self-respect and pride. He seems to be above the pettiness of modern life and implores others to do so as well. Blue Rock Records is his creation. He writes, sings, and plays his songs. He brings his message to the people. He is a positive role model in a world of bad habits, late nights, and carnal sins. Dennis Jones and his band have earned a spot in your CD player, your play list, and your Pandora channels. It’s up to you to make sure he gets there. You might just find it’s your kinda blues too.

Reviewer Jim Kanavy is the greatest guitar player in his house. He has been reviewing albums in his head for 30 years and in print since 2008, and is deeply committed to keeping the blues alive and thriving. For more information visit

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