British blues rock guitarist Laurence Jones brings his band to Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Tuesday, November 26, on the back of his first album to carry his own name.
Laurence Jones Band was released by Top Stop Music via Sony at the end of September.
“The album has had a really good reaction,” Laurence says. “We have had some really good reviews, which is great because the album was a little bit of a change in direction.
“The last album was more cross-over and a lot more mainstream. We got a lot of radio play in Holland and we really broke it there. But now this album is a lot more back to my roots. It has still got a mainstream edge to it, but it has got more of my blues guitar playing, the sound that we have been developing.”
And it is that back-to-his-roots aspect that explains the album title.
“When I first started, when I turned professional at 17 and got my first record deal at 18, I used to be in a band called the Laurence Jones Band… and that’s something I wanted to go back to, that 60s thing of calling an album after the band. For me the concept behind the album is that there is no computerised stuff on the album. It is all played exactly as you would hear it live.”
Laurence counts Hendrix among his influences and also Clapton: “I really got into Eric Clapton’s song-writing. If you listen to the album, probably the biggest influence on it is Eric Clapton.
“He just writes real songs. He knows how to write a love song and pull on the emotions and the heart strings. And he is not a guitarist that will just wail all over it and solo all over the whole track. He is very tasteful.”
Laurence started out on the classical guitar.
“I did all my grades on that, but I just got to the stage where I didn’t want to read sheet music anymore.
“I wanted to improvise. My dad started taking me to blues clubs, and I taught myself blues guitar.”
But the classical foundation has proved important: “I play a lot with my fingers and it is there in my technique. I would have been a very different guitarist. The influence of classical is there. I should play a few more acoustic tracks in the set. That would be a new thing for me. It adds a different dynamic.”
For the current album, Laurence wrote around 50 to 60 songs which were then whittled down to 18 with the producer and then whittled down further to 12.
“I think it is down to the producer really. Sometimes you get a little bit too attached to the songs so it is good to have a different view on them.”
Of those that were discarded there are probably only two or three, maybe four, that Laurence will go back to.
“It is a bit brutal, but I think you have got to move on.”
As for content: “I have tried to be quite positive on this album. I wrote a song for my mum who has been through quite a hard time. And there are good messages on there like everything is going to be alright. There is a lot of stuff on there as well about relationships… but there is something positive about it all. I think I know how to have a laugh and to put a smile on people’s faces!
“But it can be very stressful. People think being in a band is like living the life of Riley, but there is a lot of hard work.
You get real highs, but you also get real lows. But I am quite a positive person really!”
Tickets from Ropetackle on http://ropetacklecentre.co.uk.