I rarely pay attention to record company promo blurbs because, more often than not, their only intent is to shamelessly peddle a product. But even a card-carrying cynic like myself has to admit that Blue Wave head honcho Greg Spencer (who also produced this disc) knows whereof he speaks when he claims that what sets this blues album light years apart from the rest of the pack, aside from Jony James’ exemplary guitar playing with his telepathically tight band, are Jony’s original song compositions.
Then again, anytime you see a blues album with a pseudo-psychedelic Alphonse Mucha cover, chances are you’re going to get something more than just your usual standard set of 12-bar workouts. So it comes as no surprise to hear Jony James eschew the dreaded shuffle and approach the blues as if they were invented yesterday and in need of a serious retooling today.
And if that means daring to be different by adding a bit of organ-fueled R&B funk to the mix to spice things up (“Come Back Home”), then so be it. Because what makes In This World such a fresh offering is the paradoxical fact that it swings (“Time Flies”) with the kind of funky old-fashioned groove (“Voices”) that you used to regularly hear back in the ’70s (“I Don’t Know Love”).
And don’t think I don’t know what you’re thinking, either. Hell, I miss Hendrix too. And yeah, he sure was great in his day, wasn’t he? But that was 35 long years ago. And look where he is now.
So stop living in the past! Take off that copy of Nine To The Universe and listen to Jony’s panoramic “Don’t Let It Blow Your Mind” instead. Because there’s a new experience in town, and his name is Jony James.
E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.