JUNO Award Nominee, Canadian singer/guitarist JW-Jones tours constantly, and is known for his high-energy show that keeps getting hotter!
“JW-Jones is a red hot young Canadian guitar slinger/singer“, says Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge. Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, referred to this Maple Blues Award winner as “one of this country’s top blues guitar stars.” Billboard called JW part of “a new wave of young talent moving onto Canada’s blues stage.”
Jones has released eight albums, performed in nineteen countries and four continents, and averages over one hundred shows per year. Canadian-born Hollywood actor Dan Aykroyd, known for his Blues Brothers persona “Elwood Blues,” has called JW’s group an “amazing blues band.” In early 2015, the legendary Buddy Guy performed with Jones in Chicago, then invited JW to trade riffs with him on two sold-out Canadian dates.
American magazine Blues Revue stated that “Jones’ style is a fluid amalgam of T-Bone Walker’s big, bright chords, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s slashing leads, and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown’s jazzy sting.”
JW was born in Ottawa, Ontario and started playing drums at 13, at that time into Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and classic rock. A few years later, after witnessing a B.B. King performance, he fell in love with the blues and decided to take up the guitar. Soon he was absorbing the influences of artists such as Albert King, Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Jimmie Vaughan, and later, West Coast guitarists Junior Watson and Little Charlie Baty.
He started by garnering three consecutive Maple Blues Award nominations and being invited to perform onstage with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, and Junior Watson. Jones’ second release, Bogart’s Bounce, included performances by singer/harp player Kim Wilson and pianist Gene Taylor of The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Kim Wilson produced JW’s next release, My Kind of Evil, which featured well-known Canadian singer/guitarist Colin James as guest.
In 2006, JW released his fourth album, Kissing in 29 Days, including performances by David “Fathead” Newman, Ray Charles’ main saxophone player for 12 years. In a feature article entitled “JW-Jones — A Rising Star Chases the Sound of Thunder(birds),” Blues Revue magazine stated that “JW-Jones is highly regarded in blues circles.” One of the tracks, “Parasomnia,” appeared on a Guitar World featured CD, Guitar Masters Vol. 2, along with B.B. King, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Carlos Santana.
For his next project JW headed to Memphis’ famed Sun Studios to record with blues legend Hubert Sumlin, the blues guitarist who worked with Howlin’ Wolf for over 20 years and was named one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. The resulting album, Midnight Memphis Sun, was released in 2010 and also featured guest Charlie Musselwhite, who stated that “JW Jones is one of the best guitar players I’ve heard in a long time. He and his band do great tunes with cool arrangements and I love listening to them. They play with taste and fire at the same time.” Jones’ 2012 release, Seventh Hour was the second release in a row to hit #1 on “B.B. King’s Bluesville” on XM Sirius Satellite radio, and led to the band’s opening for B.B. at the Ottawa Bluesfest, and an endorsement deal with Gibson guitars.
Recently Jones was honoured by the Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce by being named one of the “Forty Under 40,” (out of 250 nominations), a salute to the region’s talented entrepreneurs who balance business achievement, professional expertise and community involvement.
His first Blind Pig release, Belmont Boulevard, was produced in Nashville by Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge, who’s helmed projects for Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Susan Tedeschi. JW chose Hambridge to produce because “This CD is all about getting out of my comfort zone musically and lyrically, working with a big producer and creating a high-energy experience that matches our live show, and I knew Tom was the man to make that happen.”
The future does indeed look bright for this upcoming star. Known for his high-energy, crowd-pleasing shows, Jones recently opened tours for the late Johnny Winter and one of his strongest influences, Jimmie Vaughan (about whom JW penned a song on the new album). Now, with his latest recording, he’s excited about reaching an even wider audience. Belmont Boulevard hit #9 on Billboard sales charts in the United States, and was nominated for JUNO and Maple Blues Awards in Canada.
Musicians that tour with Jones (and appear on the new CD); Jamie Holmes (drums) and the heavy grooves of Laura Greenberg (bass) always add a powerful energy to the stage.