A Review of the JP Jones CD

by JP Jones

Copyright 2004
Vision Company Records

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/04
"Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"

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JP Jones has gone acoustic. Granted, this may not rank with such pronouncements as those emanating from the first lunar landing or from the mouths of Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, but this change from his past is a welcome one because it provides listeners both greater accessibility and intimacy to the musical talent and songwriting prowess of this artist.

The proud papa of nine previous releases, Jones' latest contains ten new songs, a relatively obscure traditional tune and a lengthy spoken word piece.

This offering is a mix of the spiritual and philosophical generously applied to the shape-shifting landscape of affiliation, Jones' viewpoint is of one who has seen and experienced maybe too much of what life holds and remains riddled with a quixotic blend of wound, doubt, bewilderment. But that bevy of feelings is obliterated by the aching joy expressed in the last song "To Sleep With You."

Twining Christian themes with a mystifying relationship, "Prophet in His Prime," is the opening cut. Jones sings:
"...forget about the sins you should be pure of
focus on campassion, life is brief...

...if you're one of those who can receive it
praise this holy miracle of grace
love's the only treasure
whether anyone believes it
flickering in every sngle face."
"New World a-Comin'" is early Dylanesque and not just with its guitar and rack harp backing. It's seemingly about nature in revolt but certainly open to more complex interpretations. It could be seen as a possible companion piece to "The Times They Are A Changing."

The story of "Jeremiah," based at least in part on the lamenting Biblical prophet of the same name, is reworked and updated by Jones who has some fun with the verses, especially this one:
"on his way to kingdom come
his wife got the house and children
Jeremiah only got his thumb..."
The "Man Upstairs" could be mistaken for a Greg Brown song, with Jones' delivery and vocals cementing that connection. "So Early Early in the Spring," a spurned love /sailor song, is a curious inclusion, not because of its content, which makes sense in the context of this release's subject matter, but because it is a direct, easy to connect the dots tale.

"To Sleep With You" is the best of all the offerings. Not to be mistaken for the priapismic-driven wishes of many a teenage boy, it is rather a deeply felt homage to the bond of love. Jones sings:
"...In forest deep, in city canyon
no comfort deeper, fierce or true
you are my love and dear companion...

...upon this long and lonesome highway
I call on grace to see me through
whatever troubles may come my way
I lay me down to sleep with you"
For one who just has been unable to connect with JP Jones' previous material, this is a very welcome addition. Acoustic folk fans would do well to check out this release.

Jones accompanies himself here simply on acoustic guitar and rack harp.

Track List:

All songs by JP Jones, except as indicated.

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