John-Paul Jones Group – Broke In Bridge City
Eugene’s Trick Bag Records – 2021
6 tracks; 32 minutes
John-Paul ‘JP’ Jones’s website describes his music as ‘heavy blues’ and this six-track release certainly lives up to that description with plenty of heavy guitar riffs, not that far away from the music of another John Paul Jones, bassist of Led Zeppelin! Based in Iowa, JP has played around the Midwest since the 1990’s, releasing two CDs just before the Millennium. Since then he has released several live DVDs but this appears to be his first CD release for some years. JP wrote all the songs, with assistance on the lyrics of the opening cut from Paul Hanson. JP sings and plays all guitar and bass parts, the drums are by Chris Barber.
Opening track “Blue Ruin (Right Now)” has some distortion on the bass lines which gives the whole piece a brooding feel, JP laying down some intense guitar work, as he sings of fearing just how we will cope. The title track follows, still heavy but with a rockier rhythm and lashings of wah-wah, JP singing about life amongst the down and outs.
“Ballad Of The Nine” is the longest track, running to over seven minutes. The pace is certainly slower but the guitar work remains intense around a set of lyrics that conveys the story of a couple’s life though the meaning of ‘The Nine’ eluded this reviewer. A wah-wah riff dominates “Better Be Yourself”, the sole track under four minutes. “Blood Sugar Blues” has a jagged rhythm with lots more wah-wah, JP singing about feeling rough on waking up after a heavy night, and the set closes with a great title – “Youth Is Wasted (On The Young)” – which was also the title of one of JP’s earlier releases, so this may be a remake of that song; this version borders on Prog Rock with doom-laden lyrics.
Throughout this album there are lots of heavy guitar riffs that may not appeal to some blues traditionalists, but if your tastes run to the far end of the rock-blues spectrum there will be something of interest here.