Stone Jack Jones


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Journeyman Stone Jack Jones' second album, Bluefolk, seems to be attempting to combine the two aspects of its name into some new version of folk-blues. Roger Moutenot, who produced the disc and released it on his Fictitious Records label, seems to have meant to concoct a sound that could lend authenticity to Jones' meandering tunes by recalling scratchy old folk and blues records. At least, that is the most favorable way of interpreting the sound, which includes lots of found percussion, as if someone were wandering through a junk shop tapping on random objects. This is similar to the Mitchell Froom/Tchad Blake school of production that marred so many singer/songwriter albums in the '90s, although it aspires unsuccessfully to evoke Tom Waits' more aggressive sound collages on his Island Records albums. Moutenot's method is more passive-aggressive; along with the odd percussion, there are slow, dragging tempos, as most of the instruments (largely overdubbed by Jones and Moutenot) sound like they're being played by people who were woken up out of a deep sleep to do so. And on top of this shifting mess of sound is Jones the singer, whose nearly buried vocals sound like a sedated Lucinda Williams, not only in the broad rural accent, but also in timbre; occasionally, he is joined by Patty Griffin, her voice swathed in watery echo. Spending this much space in a review on the surface of the music seems justified by the way the sound of the record dominates it. Jones' actual compositions make much less of an impression than the production; when they do poke through, they sound like they'd be more impressive if they could be discerned more easily in the clutter.

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