Young blues guitarists come and go but every so often one stands out from the crowd and makes heads turn, a young Laurence Jones burst onto the scene with his debut album ‘Thunder In The Sky’ and since then has picked up accolade after accolade and put his name firmly on the blues scene.
Since the release of his latest album ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ he has won ‘Best New Blues Artist’ and, on top of this, the rest of his band – Roger Innis and Miri Miettinen – have also picked up awards from the Blues Matters poll.
Currently out on an extensive UK and Europe wide tour – which includes two nights at the prestigious Carnegie Hall as part of the worldwide Lead Belly Festival series of concerts - tonight it’s an up close and personal show at The Tunnels.
Support tonight comes from local artist Victoria Klewin who with her band perform a great set that mixed blues and soul with a few funky jazzy edges.
Aretha Franklin’s ‘Take Another Piece’ gave Victoria chance to show the power and control of her voice and a James Brown-inspired piece gave the band chance to let loose with the horns section. A great way to start the night and get the crowd in the groove.
A decent crowd filled the room in the very intimate Tunnels surroundings as Laurence and the band kicked off with the hard hitting blues rock of ‘What’s It Gonna Be’, title track from the new album followed by the swingier ‘Touch The Moonlight’ .
As ever, watching the interaction between Laurence and Roger Innis, it’s clear how much they enjoy playing together, indeed Laurence did mention that what started off as a session band ended up being his current line-up.
Mixing it up with some amazing covers shows off the diversity of their playing, from the pure blues of BB King’s ‘The Thrill Has Gone’ to the rockier sound of ‘All Along The Watch tower’ Laurence demonstrated why he has drawn attention in recent years : great playing, great vocals and stage presence.
Indeed a quote from Laurence himself really sums up his live performances, “You’ve got to
feel the blues, rather than just play it. The thing about the blues is it can take your mind off anything. Nothing else matters when you are on stage playing.”
The night ends with a powerful version of William Harris’ ‘Bullfrog Blues’ which he dedicated to his fellow musician Larry Miller who is recovering after suffering a stroke a few months ago. A fitting way to end a great night of blues/rock from a young man showing that all the attention and awards are well deserved.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
What’s It Gonna Be (title track of the new album), Touch Your Moonlight,Don’t Need No Reason, Good Morning Bluers, The Thrill Has Gone, All Along The Watchtower, have You Ever Loved A Woman, Evil, Whisper In the Wind, Fall From The Sky, Bullfrog Blues
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