I love it when an artist dares
to open their release with a
cut that probably isn’t the first choice of the marketing department. Not that we of the guitar soli are exactly
worried about that or even have a marketing department. Glenn Jones opens his new release with “A
Snapshot of Mom, Scotland
1957.” And it’s all we’ve come to expect
of Jones and his eclectic tunings and complex compositions. Complex, beautiful and perfect for opening
You might wonder what you are in for in the first minute of
“The Great Pacific Northwest” but it turns out to be one of the most
traditional American Primitive songs on the effort. Now here it might be interesting to discuss
the fact that I am differentiating traditional
AP from…well, what? From what Glenn
Jones has done with the style to make it his own. But back to the song, it has a very
comfortable, familiar feel to the melody.
It just grabs me and pulls me in.
Now let’s talk about the banjo tunes. My first impulse is to compare them to the
last release, BBQ Bob and see what kind of direction Jones seems to be
navigating. It is kind of cool that he
is exploring this instrument and letting us steal a look at the process as he
works through an instrument that he admits he doesn’t play in any of the
traditional styles. Hmmm, sounds like
the root of American Primitive to me!
Self taught. So…the compositions
seem to be in the same vein on both efforts but the main thing I notice is the
technique is smoother, more subtlety applied here and there. I think what stands out most about these
pieces is the simplicity. Jones has
stated that he does not approach the instrument from a traditional angle, but
what I think is readily apparent is that he also isn’t composing on the level
of sophistication that approaches that of his guitar compositions. These aren’t mysterious tunes. They’re attractive in a plain and simple way,
like that freckled girl with the dirty blonde hair. If you are enjoying the banjo tunes, be sure
to pick up the MP3 of “Even to Win is to Fail
,” the double A-side release with
the Black Twig Pickers. There are a
couple duplicate titles (alternate takes, though) with this release but it’s
not the banjo tunes.
You might find this an odd tangent but I love the song
titles on this release. Sometimes guys
just try too hard at the title thing but these are really working for me.
Only one slide piece for this release and it’s a beauty. Twice as long as the split release track. This is the slide piece by Jones that I’ve
always wanted, I just didn’t know it. “Even
to Win is to Fail” speaks to me. Yes,
yes it does.
“Of Its Own Kind” has that same great classic AP feel. Is it weird that I find the rattling of the
low strings a beautiful thing? It just
sounds so thoroughly in the moment. And
that can’t be dismissed these days as the small but talented field of
guitarists composing pieces for solo guitar continues to expand it’s difficult
to set yourself apart. Jones does a
fine job in continuing to lead the way.
Hey, here’s a video of the song, let’s watch it!
I defy you to watch this video and not run to your guitar
and start playing! Can’t be done.
Glenn Jones - Of Its Own Kind
from Thrill Jockey Records
Sep 24 Philadelphia, PA
Johnny Brenda's w/Meg Baird
Sep 25 New York, NY
Oct 14 Boston, MA
The Fourth Wall Project
Oct 16 Chicago, IL
Oct 17 Iowa City, IA
Oct 18 Dubuque, IA
Oct 19 Bloomington, IN
Oct 20 Lexington, KY
Oct 21 Louisville
Oct 23 Asheville, NC
Oct 24 West Columbia,
Oct 27 Chapel Hill
, NC The
Oct 28 Charlottesville
Oct 29 Washington, DC TBA
Nov 1 Brooklyn,
Nov 3 Easthampton,
Nov 5 State College, PA
Schlow Centre Region Library
Call me crazy but I think you might want to look at buying this here record. RECORD? Why yes, there actually IS a piece of vinyl for your platter. Get it at Thrill Jockey
Want to give the whole thing a preview? Don't trust me, eh? Go on, you can stream it at Thrill Jockey.