If you’re looking to liven up your workout soundtrack, Bad Luck & The Blues will get that heart rate up. If you’ve past the days of working out, you might need a blood pressure cuff handy. Bad Luck & The Blues is the 8th release by British born Laurence Jones and it’s definitely more rock than blues. Jones produced the album and recorded it at The Marshall Studio. It was mixed by Chris Sheldon (Jeff Beck, Foo Fighters, King King). Christian Wright (Jack Bruce, Robin Trower, Ten Years After) mastered the 10 tracks at the iconic Abbey Road Studios. Jones has said “Two of my biggest heroes were Gary Moore and Jimi Hendrix, and that’s the direction I wanted to go in, along with some more contemporary influences such as Queens of The Stone Age, Jack White, and Royal Blood. My main point of reference on this album was Robin Trower. I had been a fan for years, but I used lockdown to sink myself into his playing style and the tone he used.” Upon reading this after hearing the album, all one can do is nod in acknowledgement. That is if you can nod after head banging your way through Bad Luck & The Blues!
Like many of his peers in this younger generation of torch-carrying blues rockers, Jones started young raiding his father’s vinyl collection. Split by The Groundhogs was his favorite spin even though its release in 1971 preceded his birth by more than two decades. He started learning classic guitar at the age of 7, began practicing religiously on a Gibson, and fronted his own band, Free Beer by his mid-teens. By 17, Jones had his own power trio playing the blues. Jones then chose his path to forgo college at the University of Birmingham and tour with Johnny Winter and Walter Trout. He signed his first recording contract in 2012 and released his debut album Thunder in the Sky. Touring to promote the album saw Jones share the stage with Royal Southern Brotherhood, Wishbone Ash and another boyhood hero, Tony McPhee of The Groundhogs.
A shadow crept into his bright future that year as he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He has been battling with its effects ever since. His warrior spirit surfaces as he channels his inner Hendrix throughout the album with aggressive riffs and solos. He shares the struggle lyrically on “Lonely Road” and “Out in the Distance”. “Lonely Road” teased the album’s August 25 release as the first single and video. The album’s title track “Bad Luck & The Blues” serves as the anthemic opening track with ‘I want to be free for the rest my days – bad luck, nothing to lose’ as the first words we hear. “You’re Not Alone” offers encouragement for ‘sometimes I feel so low’ with more of that pervasive 70’s heavy guitar sound.
Not only did Jones not let Crohn’s slow him down, he pushed onward and began collecting accolades winning British Blues Awards Young Artist of the Year 2014–2016, European Blues Awards Best Guitarist in 2015, and Guitarist of the Year British Blues Awards 2016. During that time Jones released two more albums with Temptation in 2014 and What’s It Gonna Be in 2015. Three albums in and Jones already had a healthy list of contributors on his credits, including Mike Zito, Johnny Sansone, Aynsley Lister and Walter Trout. His 2017 release The Truth ranked 15 on Pop Magazine’s Best Albums of 2017.
Bad Luck & The Blues represents a retro effort by Jones as he returns to the power trio sound of his earlier works. As Jones states – New Year’s Eve of 2022. “I made it a resolution of mine; that’s why the line-up changed so quickly before the next tour,” he recalls. He retained bassist Jack Alexander Timmis (Virgil & The Accelerators) and added drummer Ash Sheehan (Glenn Hughes, Tony Iommi, The Twang) to bring this to life. “You only live once. I have Crohn’s disease, so I never take anything for granted. You should live every day like it’s your last.” He backs that up with some 80’s metal riffs in “Take Control”. The Trower influence is most prominent on the album’s 4th track, “Don’t You Leave Me This Way”. Darker more somber moods surface in the Sabbath-esque “I’m Gone”.
About Bad Luck & The Blues, Jones states “I started my career in a power-trio, and gradually moved away from that. Going back to those roots was an itch that I’d wanted to scratch for ages.” Consider it scratched to near perfection. Bad Luck & The Blues may be a 2023 release, but it has a 1973 heavy blues rock semi-psychedelic sound….in a very, very, good way!
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Lonely Road
– Bad Luck & The Blues
– I’m Gone
– Don’t You leave Me This Way
The Big Hit
– Bad Luck & The Blues
Buy the album: Amazon