For all the right reasons Canadian guitarist JW-Jones’ new album Belmont Boulevard may be considered his breakthrough into major US markets.
Working with noted Grammy winning producer/songwriter/drummer Tom Hambridge the pair have fashioned an album that is modern sounding without losing it’s traditional core.
The first track Love Times Ten blasts out of the speakers with gritty guitars, solid vocals and a big American R & B/ Rock sound.
From there, things go Louisiana way when JW whips up the Bobby Charles classic Watch Your Step, before delving into what sounds like Memphis meets Canada on Blue Jean Jacket, snapping out a killer guitar solo on the coda.
Elsewhere, Thank You owes a lot to the Fabulous Thunderbirds mid 80’s sound and What Would Jimmie Do completes the homage to Jimmie Vaughan.
Cocaine Boy is very experimental and introspective and may throw listeners for a loop, while Magic West Side Boogie is an instrumental guitar workout half Bo Diddley/half Jimmy Thackery riffarama.
The flip of those two songs is the Hambridge penned If It Feels This Good Tomorrow. It features a gorgeous Jones vocal and is easily the album’s most radio friendly cut.
Elsewhere Jones modernizes Buddy Guy’s What’s Inside You with stand out Hammond B-3 work from Reese Wynans and gets a good snap your head groove going on his own Never Worth It.
Breaking into a huge US market where diverse stars like Tommy Castro, Damon Fowler and Roy Rogers draw huge is not easy.
JW-Jones has always had the dedication and the chops. This album gets him a winning hand and he is likely to bet on it!
This excellent cd will be available Oct 14th in the US and Oct 7th in Canada.
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and singer-songwriter with Canadian blues rock/roots artists THE SHAFTMEN
John is a free-lance journalist with Sun Media and you can check out John’s roots/blues radio show here