September 15, 2011

Glenn Jones - The Wanting

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 this release.
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 on Vimeo.

Glenn Jones Tour Dates:
Sep 24   Philadelphia, PA         Johnny Brenda's w/Meg Baird
Sep 25   New York, NY     West Park Presbyterian Church
Oct 14   Boston, MA       The Fourth Wall Project
Oct 16   Chicago, IL      The Hideout
Oct 17   Iowa City, IA    The Mill
Oct 18   Dubuque, IA      Monk's
Oct 19   Bloomington, IN Russian Recording
Oct 20   Lexington, KY    Collexion
Oct 21   Louisville, KY   TBA
Oct 22   Knoxville, TN    TBA
Oct 23   Asheville, NC    Harvest Records
Oct 24   West Columbia, SC        Conundrum Music Hall
Oct 25   Atlanta, GA      TBA
Oct 26   Atlanta, GA      TBA
Oct 27   Chapel Hill, NC The Nightlight
Oct 28   Charlottesville, VA      TBA
Oct 29   Washington, DC   TBA
Oct 30   Baltimore, MD    TBA
Nov 1    Brooklyn, NY     Zebulon
Nov 3    Easthampton, MA Flywheel
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.

1 comment:

  1. The Wanting is just a beautiful record, that shows Glenn's evolvement as a musician. It's his best record so far, great stuff. Also, mind the 17 minutes extravaganza with Chris Corsano in the end of the record, that closes the 4th side of the double LP.

    Oh yea, and the guitars sound is simply beautiful, he has the beat guitar touch , a true master