The JW-Jones Blues Band,
My Kind of Evil
(Northern Blues, 2004)

JW-Jones is not a quiet musician. He's making real noise on this newest album of his with the help of Kim Wilson and Colin James. Though these passionate blues men each do two vocal numbers, JW-Jones holds his own as he sings out 10 of his own original blues ballads.

Singing aside, it's the guitar playing that's making the most noise. Sparks are flying, strings are cracking and souls are melting when Jones puts it down. Wilson must have noticed early because he joined up as the producer for this one.

Colin James joined forces with the team on the tracks "What You Do to Me' and "You've Got Me Where You Want Me." Wilson took off on "I Don't Know' and "Blue Monday" and laid back on the harmonica for a few. The mainstays are Nathan Morris on upright and electric bass and Bill Brennan on drums, and Geoff Daye lays it out on piano and organ. Roxanne Potvin give a hand on back-up vocals and the Wind Chill Factor come in with the horns: Brian Asselin, Steve Trecarten, Frank Scanga and Rick Ragno.

Altogether the result is a clean-cut, crystal-clear mixture of sweet, sweet blues, admittedly with some heavy-handed but interesting lyrics. But that's blues. No problem. There's a bit of rockin' blues, swingin' blues and poppish blues, and it's all aimed toward trouble. Of course that's another word for women, and JW-Jones is singing to the women all the way through this.

I like the music but I don't think it's what most women would consider sexy (just in case you're listening, guys). It could be what men think is sexy. I imagine kind of a raucous jive or swing with skirts twirling and lifting, at times a little pole dancing, and then for good measure some spectacular hip strutting. Sexy in a way, I guess. Maybe I'm just past my prime and need a transfusion.

But hey, this is an album of music that totally expresses a youthful stirring of the senses and the crazy sentiments that surge with the excitement of youth, the heady feeling of connecting with a woman, and the heavy head and heart after too much shameless indulgence. Ah yes, it's so sad on "Blue Monday." If only we were always so young at heart.

My Kind of Evil is the most exciting, pulsating collection of blues happening in North America in a long time. Cut No. 1, "Shake That Mess," is an old-sounding original and No. 3, "Ain't Gonna Lie," has a newer country-rock-blues flavour. Each cut on the album totes JW-Jones' forceful guitar style to the fore and it doesn't get any better than "Cheating Woman" and "Nothing on Me."

There's a lot of movement, a lot of dance rhythms to get up and shake with, but I warn you ladies, if you find this in your stocking, it's coming at you from another side. Smile folks, it's all in fun, and this album is a good way to get a start on it. Blues, women and trouble, all in one little package. Find it, play it, try it, you'll like it.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 29 January 2005

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