Dennis Jones’ fifth album elevates his craft to new heights as he juxtaposes an arsenal of blues, rock, and funk with visceral production values. The genre is contemporary blues, and Jones plays serious guitar with the heart of a bluesman and the soul of a Baptist minister.
The songs run the gamut from broken hearts and bad choices, to unrequited love. Searing guitar solos sting like napalm as Jones’ rhythm section propels him to greater inspiration. Drummer Raymond Johnson and bassist Dale Black provide copious stank, fire, and groove.
On “Nobody’s Slave,” Jones manhandles tumescent wah tones with aggressively deft phrasing, while “The Machine” is a Uni-Vibe exhibition played over a tortured slow blues.
Acoustic guitar gives the album range and texture on “Skin And Bone,” “Lonely Joint,” and “What.” There’s also plenty of traditional blues, but Jones breaks free, performing without the typical clichéd reverence, particularly on “Shines On You” with its poignant lyrics.
The standout cut is “I Can’t Stop,” where Jones pushes the blues forward with unpredictable rhythms and arranging.
Jones is a charismatic performer that you should keep your eye on.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’16 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.