Regular readers will know that we are a sucker for a top notch troubadour. That said, we always like it when said troubadour has a variety of tricks up their sleeve and Small Town Jones definitely falls into that category. Not only do we get strong songwriting but also a range of distinctive vocals, great guitars and some excellent sonic wizardry in the production. The outcome is a record that we are enjoying more and more with each listen. Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to Small Town Jones.
Hi Small Town Jones, how are you, where are you and what’re you doing?
I’m good thanks– currently sat at work – answering your questions as a way of avoiding doing any work! (A much needed distraction.)
Please tell us how the songs for Freight ships came together – is there a narrative thread you see that holds them all together?
I guess the narrative thread that always seems to emerge throughout my albums is the “trying to make sense of it all” in my own over analytical way.
Contemplative, confused, reflective, disillusioned and occasionally settled.
The story behind the making of the album sounds interesting! How did you end up starting in Devon and finishing in the USA?
I live in Devon so it’s my home, I moved here as a teenager with my family from Crawley. I hated the country at first but absolutely love it now and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I ended up in Texas after the producer for Freight ships heard my last album which Peter Bruntnell recorded “Daylight & Stars” which is out under my own name Jim Jones. He called me up and offered to record me in his studio in Amarillo. My good friend and guitarist/accompanist Dave Little came with me and we ended up making some great friends and music. The whole album was recorded live with very few over dubs in 10 days. The whole trip was a fantastic experience for me.
Tell us more about ‘the little box of catastrophes’ in Oxygen?
It’s the depressing, life sucking, mind altering, hypno-box otherwise known as Television.
Oxygen also has a monster guitar solo – all your own work? Is there a big rock fan within Small Town Jones?
This is where Dave Little comes in. He is a phenomenal guitarist and makes sounds with his guitar that I don’t even comprehend at times. He’s a fantastic guy to have around. If you let him go on a song he ends up playing solos like that, perhaps he is a frustrated Rock guitarist?? He is definitely a very thoughtful player and a great songwriter as well.
Was Big Screen Reality inspired by actual events?
Big Screen Reality was my first lyrical collaboration with a guy called Nev Pierce. He is an old friend of mine from my college days and is now the co-editor for “Empire” film magazine. I had sent him a couple of emails, knowing he is good with words, asking for some ideas and he sent me a poem. I loved it and very quickly turned the poem into the lyrics for Big Screen Reality. The idea being that we live our lives out through some kind of fake romantic notion that’s been created by Hollywood, which ultimately leaves us feeling unfulfilled and disillusioned. (I’m a romantic really!!)
Staying on the big screen, what are your favourite movies?
Hard to say what my favourites are as, like music it’s always changing. I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a film that I really loved when I first saw it, as was Lost in Translation. I kind of get drawn in to those slightly melancholic love and loss type films. Napoleon Dynamite always cheers me up and Shawshank Redemption has got to be up there in my top 5. I’m not sure what my friend Nev would think of my selection, perhaps not as classic as he would choose but then that’s his job.
You must be excited to be one of/the first releases on the fledgling ‘At The Helm’ Record label? How did this come about?
I am very excited about “At The Helm”. It all came about because of getting to know Jim Walker who is the promoter behind Brighthelmstone Promotions. I had played a couple of gigs for him in Brighton and loved how positive and motivated he seemed to be. I knew he was managing Hans Chew from New York in the UK and asked if he was up for taking someone else on. He agreed, we started working together, and now “At The Helm” has emerged out of the depths of it all – and it’s great to be on board!
What is coming up next for Small Town Jones?
I’m playing Beautiful Days festival in August and supporting Mark Eitzel in Brighton in September and will be on tour around the UK in October. Then it will be time to start demoing new songs for the next record.
We are well into the festival season, if you could choose 5 bands to headline ‘SmallTownFest’ who would they be?
Small Town Fest now there’s an idea!!! It would probably have to be Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Wilco, Bon Iver and of course my good friend Peter Bruntnell!
Bob Dylan has had some good reviews for his show at Hop Farm. What are your top 3 Dylan records?
Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde and his slightly spiritual diversionary album Slow Train Coming.
Finally, where can people go to find out more about you and your music?