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Laurence Jones at Hare & Hounds, Birmingham - Interview

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Blues star tours the UK with new album
Next year is going to be one to remember for British blues rock guitarist/ singer-songwriter Laurence Jones. The 25-year-old will release his fifth studio album, The Truth, on March 9, 2018, with a UK tour to promote it taking place in May. He and his band - Bennet Holland (keyboards), Phil Wilson (drums) and Greg Smith (bass) - play the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham, on May 10. They also play a special show at London's Borderline on January 23.

Laurence Jones, The Truth, Hare & Hounds Kings Heath Birmingham, Blues, Guitar
Blues: Laurence Jones (pic: Christie Goodwin)


Born in Liverpool and brought up in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, Laurence has been hailed as "the future of the blues". His albums Thunder In The Sky (2012), Temptation (2014), What's It Gonna Be (2015) and Take Me High (2016) were all critically acclaimed and sold a total of more than 50,000 copies.

His new album was recorded at the old Sony Studios in Miami.

Laurence Jones, The Truth, Hare & Hounds Kings Heath Birmingham, Blues, Guitar

"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 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 Jones, The Truth, Hare & Hounds Kings Heath Birmingham, Blues, Guitar
Freedom: Laurence Jones (pic: Christie Goodwin)


Producer Gregory Elias gave Laurence the freedom 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. This concept led me to write a crossover album reflecting on love, life and the reality of what is happening in today's world."

Laurence continues: "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. For me, it's the vocals that sets this record apart from my 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."

Laurence Jones, The Truth, Hare & Hounds Kings Heath Birmingham, Blues, Guitar
Inspired: Laurence Jones (pic: Christie Goodwin)


Which songs from the album is Laurence looking forward to performing on his 2018 tour?

"I'm looking forward to playing What Would You Do because it has this infectious grove 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?'.

"The second track is Take Me. It shows a more sensitive side to what I can do. It's a ballad and having more ballads on this album is a challenge I like to take on. I also love playing the guitar solo on this song which I extend live and gradually build it up."

The track Give Me Your Time is being released as a single.

''I really wanted to show my love for rock music with this song,'' Laurence says. ''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 a 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.''



So what inspired the album as a whole?

"My main inspiration was to create catchy songs with guitar solos. I listened to a lot of modern music and kept 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 Truth."

Laurence Jones, The Truth, Hare & Hounds Kings Heath Birmingham, Blues, Guitar
Venue: Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham


Laurence Jones 2018 UK tour dates:

January 23: Borderline, London;
May 3: Band on the Wall, Manchester;
May 4: Zephyr Lounge, Leamington Spa;
May 5: Talking Heads, Southampton;
May 10: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham;
May 11: The Bodega, Nottingham;
May 12: Fulford Arms, York;
May 13: The Cluny, Newcastle.
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Why? The 'future of blues music' in concert
When: Touring from May 3, 2018. Playing Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, on May 10, 2018. The London Borderline gig is on January 23, 2018.
Phone: 0844 478 0898
Where: Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Cost: 15 plus fees
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