Finding the balance between tradition, fun
Arkansas' Rich Jones' debut release is a strong collection of traditional acoustic blues.
For starters, he plays as mean a National steel guitar as you'll hear. Jones both picks and plays slide, shows imagination in his solos, and uses enough variety in his material so that every song sounds fresh.
His song selection is top-notch, with songs from Washboard Sam (Bill Broonzy's half-brother), Robert Jr. Lockwood and Spider John, as well as some tradition-oriented originals that are as strong as the standards he covers.
But this album is no museum-piece collection of dust-covered standards; Jones plays with exuberance and humor, giving this recording a nice balance between accessibility and tradition.
The only drawback to this album is Jones' vocals. High and thin, they serve more to distract from his fine picking than to complement it.
But the power of his guitar playing is enough to outweigh the vocals, and makes this a very listenable collection of traditional acoustic blues.
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