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CW Jones is one of those unique souls you come across every so often in music. His approach to his music is at once both serious and relaxed, with a persona that is able to captivate a whole audience from the moment he plays his first note. I have had the pleasure of seeing him perform a few times and that is the only way to describe his audience: captivated.
Fusing a whole range of styles to create a sound that can only be his, Jones has gathered some what of a cult following since he first appeared on a Button Eyes project back in 2015. Armed with his acoustic six-string and backed by his own label Bone Dry Records, Jones is primed to hit the UK scene with a sound not really heard before on these shores.
I was lucky enough to catch up with him recently and we spoke about his roots, his work with Button Eyes and his plans for the future.
Your style is quite hard to define; how you would you best describe it?
“I would say it is organic, ever-evolving and a labour of love. It’s a mix of blues, jazz, reggae and folk. There are a lot of influences that all play a part in the sound you hear.”
How did you first come to meet with Rory (Rag’N’Bone Man)?
“I’d met Rory and his girlfriend at a show in Brixton. I was a fan and I guess he liked what I did. He shared a video of a Charles Manson cover I’d shot with a friend and it kind of popped off. It opened up loads of doors for me, I definitely owe a lot of that dude; he did a lot for the scene in general.”
And was that how you came to work with the Button Eyes gang?
“Yes, absolutely. I was a huge fan of Button Eyes before getting the chance to work with Lewis (184). For me Simple Days is some of his and Rag ’n’ Bone Man’s best work. It instantly struck a chord with me.”
I know from speaking with you previously that you are a strong believer in the power of positive energy & positivity in general. How does that hold up when you’re working with a genre like blues?
“It’s ironic and kind of funny you ask that actually. That’s kind of where my idea for the Button Eyes song, Please Don’t Take My Blues originated. It was the sentiment that if I was going to be happy, how was I going to be able to sing the blues? Anyway… that song actually ended up being about Valium. I’m not short of subject matter! Some of my songs have become sweeter, but I’ll always emote a lot of feelings into these songs. And remember, blues can be bittersweet too.”
When do you first remember being interested in music? What are your first musical memories?
“I know I’ve always sung. I know my parents used to sit me and my siblings in front of the hi-fi instead of the TV. I always loved the music my old man listened to, but yeah, i dunno really. I suppose singing in a nativity play or something? [laughs]”
Who were you earliest influences, when you first realized you wanted to write songs?
“I didn’t really start songwriting until I was around 18. My main influences are all huge voices though. People like Peter Green, Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, Eric Burdon… there are loads.”
‘If I Die (Before I’m Old)’ by CW Jones for Brapp HD
I understand you’re working on your EP at the moment, is that your first proper solo release?
“Yeah, man. It’s my first solo release, my first guitar release and the first Bone Dry Records release. I can’t wait!”
And what can we expect from the project?
“It’s a live EP recorded with a blues musician from Newcastle called Joe Strouzer. To link up with him was mad. He was leaving for New Orleans for spring, but I got him in the lab just in time to play harmonica on six tracks, including a couple of improvised pieces. It’s not an album by any means, but it’s definitely a taste of the direction I’m going in.”
Have you chosen a favourite producer to work with, or will we be hearing a few different people behind the boards?
“Lewis, better known as 184! The sound he’s created for Button Eyes is unique. I dunno, I’ve never heard anything like it. That’s my favourite place to work, but I’ve got material with a few producers from the past couples of years that’s all still unreleased. I’m not sure when that will all drop, but it’ll be 2017.”
Your creative process I’m guessing was a lot more organic when it was just you and your guitar; how much does it change when you start recording in an actual studio with engineers & stuff?
“It depends if you catch a vibe in the studio. You can perform best in any situation, at any time; it’s just about catching a vibe.”
In an ideal world, where do you see and your music in five years?
“Pressing a lot of records and playing decent sized shows. I’m optimistic. Music is a journey that gets constantly weirder. Once you get the buzz from them surreal moments, it’s kind of hard to not keep doing what you’re doing.”
Any words of advice for newcomers to the game?
“Spread love and make music that heals YOU. Play infinite gigs to yourself. Listen to your own tunes on repeat straight after you’ve recorded them and ingrain them in your memory. Lay off the drugs, if you’re talented at what you do; just leave your house once in a while and see what ludicrous situations you end up in.”
You can hear more from CW jones at brapp.tv/u/cwjones and support him here: