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Laurence Jones: True Blues

Issue #56

Laurence recorded the new album at the old Sony Studios in Miami. It proved to be an amazing opportunity when Top Stop Music, a Grammy award-winning record label, signed Laurence and proposed that he record the album in Florida. “The studio has so much history,” says Laurence. “It has always been a dream of mine to record in America, and I wanted this album to have that USA magic that a lot of my favourite records have.”
Jonathan Graham

Laurence Jones: True Blues

British blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, Laurence Jones released his stellar new studio album 'The Truth' earlier this month, and with a nationwide tour beginning in May, the 25-year old Jones, often labelled as “the future of the blues,” sits down with Gi’s Jonathan Graham for an exclusive interview.

Hailed as “one to watch” by all corners of the music industry, including press, concert and festival booking agents, blues fans and various musicians. Over the past five years, Laurence has really come into his own, and with his new album 'The Truth', he has now developed his own creative skin by writing and performing songs that are distinctive to his unique sound and identity.

Says Laurence, “The direction of this album is one I have always wanted to take, and that's crossover blues, just like my heroes John Mayer, Eric Clapton and even Jimi Hendrix. They managed to really bring the sound of the blues to the masses. This is definitely my favourite album that I have made to date. I can't wait for people to hear The Truth.”

Laurence recorded the new album at the old Sony Studios in Miami. It proved to be an amazing opportunity when Top Stop Music, a Grammy award-winning record label, signed Laurence and proposed that he record the album in Florida. “The studio has so much history,” says Laurence. “It has always been a dream of mine to record in America, and I wanted this album to have that USA magic that a lot of my favourite records have.”

'The Truth' was produced by Gregory Elias, the owner of the record label. Laurence and his band had three weeks of pre-production in Curacao; a Dutch island in the Caribbean in January 2017. Gregory gave Laurence the freedom as an artist to go in the direction that he wanted to. 

“The new album is about the truth,” says Laurence. “Everybody is searching for the truth and for answers. Some people never find it, and some people can see a clear vision. Then others stop searching just as they’re about to discover the answer.  The concept lead me to write a crossover album reflecting on love, life and the reality of what is happening in today's world.”

What sets 'The Truth' apart from your five previous albums?

Explains Laurence, “The songs are more structured in a pop/rock way, all having a verse, chorus and middle 8. I am inspired by all kinds of music; I have mixed my new influences and old influences together to create this album. The vocals for me is what sets this record apart from previous albums. The vocals and story of a song connect emotionally with people. If you combine this with the rawness of the blues guitar that emotion can come across even stronger. It's all about the melodies; people can sing along to all of these songs. Sometimes the simplest things come across more powerful.” 

The new album features ten brand new songs, but which ones are you most looking forward to performing on the upcoming tour in 2018?

“I'm looking forward to playing What Would You Do because it has this infectious groove throughout the song. It has a real-world music feel to it. I think this captured our Miami experience. With all the crazy things happening in the world right now this song is really relevant. The opening lyrics are - ‘What Would You Do if the war was over, what would you do if we were one?’.” 

Tell us about the inspiration for the album?

“My main inspiration was to create catchy songs with guitar solos. I listened to a lot of modern music and keep up to date with what’s in the charts. I just want to hear more guitar in today’s music, and you could say my songs are commercial but with the guitar. My all-time inspiration is Eric Clapton. Everyone’s waiting for the next Eric Clapton. To me, the guitar lines can be as catchy as the vocals and bring out of the message of the song. I love artists that show versatility, and hopefully, this comes across on the new album, The Truth.” 

'The Truth'

  1. What Would You Do
  2. Don’t Let Me Go
  3. Hold Me Close
  4. Keep Me Up At Night
  5. Give Me Your Time
  6. The Truth
  7. Take Me
  8. Gone Away
  9. Can’t Go On Without You
  10. Never Good Enough

Laurence Jones talks us through 'The Truth' track by track.

"What Would You Do"

Do you ever just sit there and think about what life would be like if it was different? This is where the inspiration for this song came from. "What would you do if the war was over?” ... “What would you do if you had all the money?"... "Who would you be?" This was the first song I wrote and recorded for the album. The lyrics represent what is going on in the world today. When I wrote the song, I tried to imagine a parallel universe. It's positive. It also makes you think how different life could be. I wanted the music to reflect on the lyrics and give it a hypnotic groove and feel.

"Don't You Let Me Go"

This song is about relationships and love. This track had the longest journey regarding pre-production and changing the structure. It actually almost didn't make it on the album, but the feel of Miami inspired me to not give up on it, and with the help of my keys player Bennett, we managed to land on the right arrangement and groove. This song is about not giving up on love even when times are hard. There could only be one way to perform this, and that was to be energetic and exciting. The song Into The Night by Carlos Santana is one of my favourites. I wanted to write a pop/rock song with a World Music twist. The music and lyrics are like a relationship, in the way that the song gets more textured and layered the further it goes on. When I wrote the chorus, I could already hear people singing it back to me. It's simple but meaningful. It’s easier for people to sing back something they can relate to. I think a lot of people will have experienced what this song is about.

"Hold Me Close"

This is probably the most emotional and saddest song on the album. I wrote this song in my hotel room in Miami the day before we recorded it. It was the last song we recorded for the album and it helped me see the album really come to life. I wanted to add one more touch to the album and I wanted a personal, emotional song on it. I wanted people to see a side of me they haven't seen before. This song is about falling in love with the wrong person and not being able to break free. Being on the other side of the world made me think about my past and how far away I felt. I had to capture that feeling in the way I felt with a relationship I never got closure on. The lyrics have a Blues feel about them, and they are vulnerable. The music really carries this. This song is all about the vocals and the story of the song. I used metaphors to really paint the picture of the song. "We're walking on fire and burning in flames; we just can’t win or lose when we keep playing these games. Hold me close; you're all I know." The huge drum pattern actually allows the song some space to breathe and really adds to the atmosphere.

"Keep Me Up At Night"

The concept of this song is simple. I wanted to create a pop song with real instruments, the way The Beatles used to write pop songs in the 60's. When you hear this, you will hopefully hear my Eagles and Dire Strait's guitar influences, too. After listening to 60's and 70's music growing up and living with modern music in today's world, for me this song is a pure mixture of my take on pop influences. The title Keep Me Up At Night has more than one meaning. I like it when the listener can interpret a song in different ways.

"Give Me Your Time"

I think everyone loves to rock out. I definitely do. I really wanted to show my love for rock music with this song. The lyrics are about the frustration you can sometimes feel in a difficult relationship and the rock style really helps carry this emotion with a passionate drive and raw energy. The strong, simple guitar riff is backed up by powerful drum pattern that really carries the energy I was looking for. I really enjoyed going for it on the guitar solo on this one. I drew inspiration from the guitar sound on the classic Michael Jackson song Beat It. We had a lot of fun recording this track.

"The Truth"

Everybody wants to know the truth. This song is the concept of the album. Although half of the album is about relationships, the other half is about life, being honest with yourself and searching for the truth. What do you want out of life? What do you want out of a relationship? A career, a home? What really matters? "We're just waiting for the truth." This song has the most unique structure from anything I have written. It starts with a soft arpeggio pattern on the Rhodes piano, and then goes into a strong melodic chorus, followed by a big guitar section and ends the way it started with the Rhodes piano. When we play this one live, I extend the guitar solo and rock out, which provides a real contrast to the delicate verse and chorus.

"Take Me"

Do you ever wish you could go back to a certain important moment in your life, when your action or decision sent you down a path that might not have been the right one? This song is about wanting to go back to the start of a relationship to make it right and to enjoy those times again. This song is very emotional. The piano chords and riff create a basis to carry this emotion, and the strong melodic bass line really adds depth. Layered backing vocals feature on all the songs on the album. It felt right to feature the backing vocals more on this one. Take Me is one of our favourite songs to perform live.

"Gone Away"

Sometimes you just have to walk away from something when you know it's bad. You can find yourself in a situation or relationship that is damaging, but, ultimately, you can take pride in deciding to walk away from it. The verses paint a picture with metaphors while the chorus is the opposite in that it is very to the point. There is a real passionate drive to the song in the music, which really lifts in the chorus. This is one of my personal favourites to perform live. The bass line is really strong and funky and sits so well with the drum groove. The music was inspired by Lenny Kravitz, and Stevie Wonder. I wanted the music to be as strong as the story is and

"Can't Go On Without You"

This track changed quite drastically from a standard blues song that I originally wrote into a more commercial blues song. Our producer Gregory Elias had a real vision for this one. A good producer will bring the best out of an artist and Gregory really helped this song come to life. We talked about the classic songs Ain't No Sunshine and The Thrill Is Gone and wanted to combine the feel of these two songs with the classic blues style but in a modern way. I was inspired to be more expressive with my guitar playing in the solo. It is quite typical of a modern blues song in the way that it is sad and in a minor key, but the tempo and feel is more upbeat. When we play this live, it is a real crowd favourite and always makes people dance. This song actually works in the same way as the overall sound of the album does, in that it combines styles and genres.

"Never Good Enough"

I wrote this song when I was 18. I saved it as I wanted to record it when I was ready and when it would sit in the right album. Lyrically this one is about feeling that no matter what you do it's just "never good enough," be that in work, relationships or just life. Sometimes we feel like we've "been misunderstood". I am quite proud of this song. The chord changes build a tension, perhaps in a way that you might be frustratingly thinking of the past. It has one of my most melodic moments on the guitar. I love guitar solos that people can sing back, as if the guitar is a voice. That was a big part of the sound of the whole album; catchy choruses, catchy guitar riffs, melodic guitar solos and songs that people can relate to and feel close to.

LAURENCE JONES

THE TRUTH 2018 UK TOUR

May 2018

  3 – Manchester - Band on the Wall 

  4 - Leamington Spa - Zephyr Lounge

  5 – Southampton - Talking Heads

10 - Birmingham, - Hare & Hounds

11 – Nottingham - The Bodega

12 – York - Fulford Arms

13 – Newcastle - The Cluny  

For more info, please visit:

www.lawrencejones.co.uk

 

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Issue #56

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