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A Conversation With JW Jones Of HOROJO Trio



The HOROJO Trio is a new band out of Ottawa that came together because of an unexpected jam session of three musicians who magically clicked together. The evolution of the band led them to great heights at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Blues Source Canada interviewed guitarist JW Jones to learn more about the band and their debut release 'Set The Record'.


The following are excerpts edited from that interview.




Ken Wallis

There's a brand-new album out with a new band The HOROJO Trio and the album is called Set The Record and boy did this band set a record. Joining us to tell us all about it is JW Jones. JW thanks for coming on the show.


JW Jones

Thanks for having me Ken.


Ken Wallis

Well tell us all about the band. How did this come about?


JW Jones

Well, it was the year 2018 and what actually happened was my band was playing at a corporate event. It was Ringside For Youth and Jamie (Holmes) and Jeff (Rogers) were playing in a band called Beats ‘n Keys at the after party. The g.m. of the venue said hey, why don't you bring your amp down and throw it up on stage and join the guys and see what you come up with. I said sure, if it's cool with them it's cool with me. Jamie had worked with me before; he toured in my band all over the world and he's on one of the records. And Jeff is just an unbelievable singer, like one of the best on the planet never mind Canada or anywhere else. He's got a timeless voice; he's just ridiculous. So, I sat in, and we were playing B.B. King and Bobby Bland stuff that Jeff sings but he hasn't heard the guitar response that he was hoping for; you know that really educated kind of blues sound. So, when I was doing that and hearing his voice and he was hearing my guitar playing, and Jamie’s holding it all together; it was just a beautiful thing and then the next day we were like wow that was amazing. We played for two hours straight; just jamming in front of a small crowd and then it was like okay we gotta do something with this. That's when things got started.


Ken Wallis

And you guys really made a splash when you went to the International Blues Challenge. Tell us all about that.


JW Jones

What's funny about it is that I said to Jeff soon after we started the band, I said okay, we should talk about this International Blues Challenge thing and he said do you think we have a chance? I was like man with the way you sing we have more than a chance. We went down to Memphis and that was 2020 and the band had barely been together for a year. We had only played a couple shows and so we got together, and we wrote some songs with Dick Cooper from The Cooper Brothers from right here in Ottawa. He had a big hit in the 70s called The Dream Never Dies and so we wrote nine of the 11 songs on the record with him. At the time we had just written a couple so we brought a couple original songs to Memphis and we just kept doing what we do; we just kept playing and a lot of people say you gotta go down there and kiss some you know beep to get anywhere and we didn't do any of that man. We just played our songs, and we just did what we do, and we rehearsed in the hotel room before every show and it seems to have worked out for us.


Ken Wallis

I would think so. A first-place finish as well as the guitarist of the year down there. What a great honor that must have been.


JW Jones

Oh man it's incredible. It's a long list of incredible bands that have won this thing and the guitar players; I know a bunch of the past winners Gabe Stillman, John Del Toro Richardson; a bunch of my friends have won this thing in the past. It's really cool to be part of that family.


Ken Wallis

And there are songs on the album that Steve Strongman helped you with.


JW Jones

Two songs actually. He co-wrote and co-produced two of the songs on the record. One is called Hard As I Can which we made a wicked video for on a rooftop in downtown Ottawa, so everyone listening should go check YouTube and see that. The other is A Little Goes A Long Way which is the second track on the record, a nice bluesy shuffle. We call ourselves Soul Rock And Rhythm And Blues because we're not a traditional blues band and we're not really a Soul R&B band; we're some kind of weird mixture.


Ken Wallis

How did you come about selecting the title of the album?


JW Jones

We were looking at all the song names and one of the song names is Set The Record Straight and it's actually funny because that's one of the song names and then in another song the lyrics say I want to Set The Record Straight. It's like two different ways of saying Set The Record Straight; there's a bit of a theme there. The guys were nervous about it, especially Jamie was nervous about it, sounding like we were kind of too big for our britches, like we're gonna set records but the whole thing is it's not about setting records, it's about explaining something, like let me Set The Record Straight. Then we decided to take it one step further and make it kind of a vinyl feel to it, so that's why the cover has that needle on there with the vinyl. That kind of gives the musical record side of things.


Ken Wallis

And it's great that you guys have signed a record deal.


JW Jones

When The HOROJO Trio made this album we had done nine or ten tracks act at Jukasa Studios and the night before signing with an American company, I sent one more message to Geoff Kulawick at Stony Plain. He hadn't actually replied yet about me sending him music and he's a busy guy and all that stuff, and I said hey we're going to sign with someone else tomorrow morning, so if you have any interest in this at all, just let me know. I got an email right away saying okay we want this album and here's the offer. I was like whoa what just happened; we went from like zero to hero in like three seconds and the offer was so good. In all honesty with the Canadian grants and the way things are, here it was just far more beneficial to work with Stony Plain. We're so glad because the team is just incredible. Now that we've released the record I can see how well-oiled of a machine this is, and they're wonderful people from top to bottom. We're just so pleased to work with them.


Ken Wallis

So what's in store for the summer? You guys gonna do any touring?


JW Jones

We have some great western dates in B.C. and Alberta coming up so people should check the horojotrio.com that's h-o-r-o-j-o-trio.com and check the dates on there. We're playing all over B.C. and Alberta and hoping people come out to see us.


Ken Wallis

Hopefully you'll get a few more gigs in Ontario as the summer starts to unfold. I'd love to come and see you guys play. Again, the album is Set The Record. How can folks get a hold of your album?


JW Jones

Well, the best way is just to go to our website, you can click through there and get it or go to the Stony Plain website. You can stream it. but of course we're in the age where we would like to encourage people to buy music. Stream it on Spotify or Google Music and see if you like it and if you do then pick up a copy. We also have vinyl you can order online which is really cool and of course you can get them from us at our live shows as well.


Ken Wallis

JW it's been great chatting with you, thank you so much for coming on the show.


JW Jones

Always a pleasure , thank you.




Website: horojotrio.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/horojotrio

Instagram: www.instagram.com/horojotrio