On Soft Hard & Loud, Dennis Jones continues to push the boundaries of blues-rock guitar. With lyrics saturated by the cold, hard slap of reality and a love of black musical repertoire, Jones gets down and greasy. It displays the connective tissue between blues, rock, reggae, and R&B. Traditional earmarks intertwine with a unique and fiery thumbprint on guitar. On “Like Sheep,” distorted riffs and heavy rock soloing offset indictments of American ignorance.
Soft Hard & Loud is blues-based black rock. It’s a rollercoaster ride that tackles the themes of love, hate, obsession, and a turbulent social climate. A goldtop Les Paul is Jones’ weapon of choice. From the clean ’60s R&B of “Nothin’ On You” to the crunch of “When I Wake Up,” Jones turns up the intensity. He repurposes a cool rockabilly drum groove and bends it to his will on “Burn The Plantation Down.” It’s an uptempo rockin’ memoir from a slave’s perspective with a pop-punk bridge, sinewy licks, and big double-stop blues bends.
The rhythm section kills as they shift grooves effortlessly, but at the album’s core, Dennis Jones loves the blues.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.