Jones is a consummate guitarist- singer- songwriter- arranger-
performer- band leader. One of the most original artists on the modern
day blues scene, Jones is, in the words ofBlues Revue,
"certainly worthy of greater recognition." The release of his first
recording for Blind Pig Records, Love
Gotcha, should bring him the national and international
acclamation he deserves.
Jones was born in Seattle into a musical family, which moved to Portland
soon afterward. "Yeah, I remember music was everywhere in our house
growing up. My dad was playing Dixieland jazz records and trying to
teach me to play trumpet when I was only five years old. My older
brother played drums and showed me how. Then he took me to his band
rehearsals and had me playing gigs when I was just 13. He took me to see
James Brown in '64. you've got to imagine James in '64- ouch! Then B.B.
King, Buddy Guy, even Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee - all this before I
was out of high school. I was underage and totally mesmerized."
Jones got deep into the blues and was the leader of Portland's most
popular blues bands, Brown Sugar, in the early 7O's. "We got to work
with touring musicians in those days, like Charlie Musselwhite, George
"Harmonica" Smith, the Johnny Otis Show, Big Mama Thornton and Big
Walter Horton. That's how we learned, and that's really when I first
picked up the guitar. A lot of times these people would stay at our
homes and teach us music and history. Some of them have passed now, so I
cherish those memories. S.P. Leary, who was in Muddy Waters band and was
playing drums with Big Walter Horton at the time, leaned over to me as he was
leaving town and said, "Man, I'm getting old. You gotta keep it alive.
It's a struggle sometimes, but if you love it, you keep on struggling.'"
Through the years Jones would continue to hone his craft by performing
with the likes of Albert Collins, Robert Gray, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal,
B.B. King, Dr. John, John Hammond, Etta James, Junior Wells and Buddy
Guy, and many more music legends. In the 80's Jones joined forces with
ex-Robert Cray singer/harp player Curtis Salgado in a band called In Yo'
Face. "That was one fun band! Seemed like we all had the same record
collection. Curtis really pushed me as a guitar player, and when he left
in '85 to join Roomful of Blues I knew it was time to play my music."
Jones knew what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. The Lloyd
Jones Struggle started in 1985 as a vehicle for his songwriting. "I love
a good story. Most of the traditional blues stayed with a shuffle or
slow blues. Being a drummer I keep hearing the rhythm of the words all
broke down funky and swamp-a-fied; nice and relaxed but kind of turned
Jones made two recordings in the late 80's for Criminal Records: The
Lloyd Jones Struggle (1987)
and Small Potatoes (1989).
They won over a dozen local music Awards, as well as acclaim from
national music publications such as Down Beat and Guitar Player, which
in turn led to some extensive touring for the band. In 1993 Jones
released his third album, Lloyd
'Have Mercy' Jones -Live! on
the Burnside Records label. In 1995 Lloyd Jones recorded a highly
acclaimed album for the Audio Quest label, entitled Trouble
Monkey. Blues Revue named it, "not only one of the best albums of
1995, it is one of the best albums of the 1990's," while Robert Cray
called it "the best damn record I've heard in a long time!" Vintage
Guitar Magazine said, "Jones offers vocals that would make Sam and Dave
smile and guitar work Steve Cropper would be proud of" and referred to
his affecting vocals as "gritty as a dirt road and smooth as melting
Lloyd's songwriting was starting to be noticed as well, with Joe Louis
Walker and Gatemouth Brown covering two of his compositions. Jones and
his band have become a mainstay on the West Coast circuit, and have
brought their tasteful, crowd-pleasing brand of music from New Orleans
to Canada to the Caribbean, where Delbert McClinton witnessed a
performance and remarked, "When I heard Lloyd Jones live for the first
time in January 1999, it was like exhaling after holding my breath for
fifteen years." It was such a typically memorable set at the Santa Cruz
Blues Festival that led to Jones' signing by Blind Pig Records. Jones
describes his soulful and intelligent fusion of funk, blues, and R&B as
"storytelling with a Memphis groove."
His latest CD, Love
Gotcha, presents Lloyd's writing at its trenchant best.
His songs have the quality that makes them sound as if they have been
around as blues standards for years or they seem to have fallen out of
some time warp from the golden days of R&B. His approach to the guitar
is both economical and rhythmically sophisticated, with a style that can
be as delicate as it is devastating. And Jones' accomplished guitar and
vocal work are complemented throughout the recording by some of the
funkiest horn-rhythm-organ arrangements around. Blues lovers everywhere
are about to discover what Lloyd Jones' fans already know - one taste of
his beguiling music and you're captivated. Lloyd's