Award-Winning Canadian Roots Singer/Guitarist JW-Jones Has 'Everything Now' On His New Album
By Eric Alper. Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovich.
Award-winning roots singer/guitarist JW-Jones new solo album, Everything Now, is out now on Solid Blues Records, distributed by Stony Plain. Joining him on the new disc are special guests Jimmie Vaughan, The Texas Horns, Rob McNelley, Stanton Moore and Gordie Johnson of Canadian roots monsters, Big Sugar, among others. JW penned the entire album with fellow Canadian legends Dick Cooper and Johnson (who also produced).
“I am incredibly proud of these songs, and this music,” says Jones. “It is 100% original roots and blues with a variety of grooves, feels, and personal lyrics. This is a snapshot of who I am as a person, and where I am as an artist today.”
Everything Now features some heavyweight instrumental support: the legendary Jimmie Vaughan, The Texas Horns, Rob McNelley, Stanton Moore, Aaron Sterling, and includes unchartered sonic territory for Jones with real strings on the exceptional ‘To Tell You the Truth (I Lied).”
The recordings were produced in Austin, Texas, with multi-platinum-selling artist Gordie Johnson, as well as in Ottawa, Canada, with long-time collaborator Eric Eggleston.
“Gordie and I met the old fashioned way, on Instagram during the pandemic,” relates Jones. “After meeting for lunch many months later in Austin and visiting his studio, I was enamored by his passion and process of creating new music, which led to working together. He’s a total freak talent as a producer, guitarist, singer, bassist, drummer, keyboards – you name it – everyone knows that… but more than that, he’s an incredible guy. He’s got such a chill and wise vibe, and I learned more about how to be a more emotionally- balanced human than I have from just about anyone else. I look up to him in so many ways.”
For JW-Jones, the Everything Now recording sessions highlights are many, starting with Jimmie Vaughan. “Recording with Jimmie Vaughan, my biggest living influence, is a childhood dream come true, and his king-of-cool vibe leaps out of the speakers on the track, ‘Take Your Time.’ “Since I was 15 years old, I’ve dreamed about trading riffs with Jimmie Vaughan, and some 25 years later, that dream came true when Jimmie came over to Gordie’s studio. Talk about a ‘bucket list’? Unbelievable! I am so grateful for his support and generosity. Songs – It’s all about the songs!” adds Jones, whose searing axemanship has been praised in recent years by legendary blues artists Buddy Guy and Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones).
“While there are plenty of burning lead guitar solos on the new album, I wanted to open up and get more personal than ever with the lyrics. From the true story, ‘Papa’s in the Pen,’ to ‘When You Left,’ that I sang with tears rolling down my cheeks about my mother’s passing, these are stories that I feel like I can finally share through my music.”
The Texas Horns are long-time friends and frequent touring buddies. “Texas Horns leader Kaz Kazanoff has been a friend for a couple of decades, since we first played together at the Ottawa Blues Festival in 2002. When we’re in Austin, he opens his home to my entire band, and I’ve always wanted to get The Texas Horns on a record. Since I was already in Austin working with Gordie Johnson, it was easy for Kaz, Al Gomez, and John Mills to visit the studio to record. They brought the perfect feel to the most heartfelt song on the record, ‘When you Left.’ It means so much to me to have The Texas Horns be part of such a special song.
And what can I say about Rob McNelley? He’s a multi-ACM winner of the guitarist of the year, toured with Bob Seger, first-call studio guitarist for Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Buddy Guy, Kingfish, Joe Bonamassa, and many more, and he appeared on my JUNO-nominated Belmont Boulevard record in 2014. During the pandemic, we had a wonderful Zoom video-call to discuss how to create unique rhythm guitar parts for various styles of roots music, and it led to Rob cutting a track for ‘My Luck,’ which I was working on at the time. His tone and feel throughout gave the song a bounce that took it to a totally new level!
Three of the best drummers in the world are also on this album; Aaron Sterling – session drummer to the stars (John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles. Lady A, and many more), Stanton Moore (New Orleans drumming master, and the best drummer I’ve ever seen live, period.), and shuffle king Jason Corbiere (tours with Jimmie Vaughan). I even played drums on a track (‘Keeping Me Up’)!”
JW-Jones has racked up an impressive number of awards and accolades in recent years, both as a solo performer and as a member of Canadian roots group, HOROJO Trio, including the 2020 International Blues Challenge winner as “Best Guitarist,” a JUNO Award nomination, and Billboard Top 10 Blues Artist, during a career that has thus far taken him to 23 countries on four continents. The HOROJO Trio also won the 2020 International Blues Challenge as “Best Band.”
The frequent resident of Billboard magazine’s Top 10 Blues charts and roots radio favorite continues to accelerate his career momentum to new heights, whether as a personally-requested sit-in with the likes of 8-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy, opening for blues-rock icon George Thorogood, or entertaining thrilled audiences in 23 countries and four continents.