Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones

Gettin' Real

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A deep, youthful and fun-loving attitude pervades the music of Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones and his Texas-based blues. Tacked on to his spare guitar work and easygoing vocal style, Jones makes music all his own, allowing space for two instrumentals, one a pleasant version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?." With his locally based band featuring harmonica player Cheryl Arena and keyboardist John Street, Jr., Jones plays a variety of contemporary blues songs rooted in tradition, and sounds like he's lived life beyond his years. Like Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble," "Struggle" sounds like a perfect anthem for tough times in a funky, choogling Southern pace. "Just Playin' the Blues" comes close to a signature tune in a lighter, honest mood, while the slow, low-down "Hell in My House" is so personalized, it could easily become a classic. Jones also digs the 12-bar style as heard on the worn-out blues of "Negative Talkin'," or "Lonely Times." Sans vocals, "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You" is a swing/shuffle with the instruments telling this cautionary tale, but "Don't Get It Twisted" offers another stern vocal warning in the more standard urban sense, with Street's burning organ emphasizing the point. This is a promising artist and album, proving that roadhouse blues is far from dead, and has new blood to keep the spirits singing.

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