Notes from "Live At The Dead Goat Saloon"

      L.A. Jones represents the new generation of Blues guitarists; steeped in the tradition of their legendary
forefathers like Buddy Guy, the Kings and Albert Collins. Respecting that legend yet stretching it at the same time. More than most players of his generation, LA honors those roots, flipping from style to style with the ease of a master craftsman yet with the soul of a timeless artist.
After honing his skills with such legends as Joe Houston, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Rush, Jesse "Wild Bill" Austin, and Eddie Kirkland, L.A. now strikes out on his own with "Live at the Dead Goat Saloon".  Recorded in front of a Blues hungry audience at the Dead Goat Saloon in Salt Lake City in the summer of 1997, this recording shows why LA Jones is a Blues guitarist to be reckoned with.
      Backed by the outstanding rhythm section of Simon Maria and Jamie Reeves, LA bends, slings, pulls, hammers and thrusts his own brand of guitar bravado with an intensity and excitement that transcends the club environment.

    Although an expert interpreter (as shown in some of his previous recorded works), LA shows that he is a formidable writer as well, penning tunes in the same vein as the masters yet imposing his own unique structural and melodic twists and turns. From the hard shuffles of "Stop Now" and "I'm a Loner" to the country-style swing of "She Can't Not Be Satisfied" to the ballad "Pebble In The Sky", LA gives his wry commentary on modern life while maintaining his Blues sensibilities. Musically, you'll especially enjoy "the worlds longest ending" on "Mr. Fixit", turning that song into the tune that refused to die, yet we love every soul wrenching, creative minute of it.
      But what's more, LA has the SOUND. While many players play the notes well, only the greats have that SOUND. It's big, not loud; subtle, not quiet; dynamic, yet controlled. The SOUND dictates where the notes leave off and the true Blues experience begins. And more than any other of the new generation of gunslinger guitar players, LA Jones best typifies that true Blues experience. "I don't do anything else," LA once told me. "I just live to play the Blues." And this is what separates him from the legions of other musicians who merely play it, yet don't live it. This is why listening to this, or any other recording that LA Jones participates in, is the real, honest-to-God, absolutely-for-sure Blues Experience.
      So bask in the experience, because you'll be enjoying this record for years to come.
                                    Bobby Owsinski

Track Listing
1 - I'm A Loner
2 - She Can't Not Be Satisfied
3 - Mr. Fix-It
4 - Stranded
5 - Pebble In The Sky
6 - Stop Now
7 - Long Distance Love

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Pebble In The Sky

Stranded - Live


Review  from Electric Blues
LA Jones & The Blues Messengers  Live At The Dead Goat Saloon  Shattered 1998

                                                Review Published Feb 15, 1999 EB Rating - 4.5

    According to the biography at their website, L.A. Jones & the Blues Messengers have been around for quite a while, playing the blues in roadhouses 20 years or so. In that time they've produced ten or so independent discs, and in 1998 released their first commercially distributed CD, Live at the Dead Goat Saloon. Why it took so long for them to get a CD out into commercial circulation is hard to figure, but I for one am glad they finally got it done. 
    This is your basic, down to business three piece band of guitar, bass and drums. While there are only 7 songs in the set list, the total time for the CD runs over 56 minutes. This obviously means there are some long songs, but L.A. keeps things interesting the vast majority of the time. There is plenty of great blues on this CD. L.A. Jones is quite a study of blues guitar. He plays passages in a wide variety of styles from subtle to frantic, often borrowing from several classic masters, with impressive dexterity and accuracy. Muddy Waters, Albert King, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy all come easily to mind as I listen to this CD.
    There are three straight up blues numbers, Mr. Fix-It, Pebble In The Sky, and Long Distance Love. I'm A Loner and Stop Now are shuffles, and She Can't Not Be Satisfied is kind of a blend of swing/rockabilly. Stranded, my favorite song on the CD, is reminiscent of Buddy Guy on one of his run-away tirades, and would surely make Buddy proud. In the set closer, Long Distance Love, L.A. pays tribute to Albert King. There's no doubt about it, he has Albert's extreme bends, subtle nuances and tone down pat.
    While I have made a point of L.A. Jones' ability to play in the style of others, I don't mean to imply he's merely copying them. He interjects plenty of his own unique stylings, while blending all these sounds together to produce some mighty fine blues. And L.A. skills don't stop on the fretboard. He wrote all the songs in this set except one.
I'll close with one more "no doubt about it". If you are a fan of electric blues guitar, this CD is a must have for your collection. - ElectricBlues, Herm

Review  from Southwest Blues Magazine
     LA Jones: Live at the Dead Goat Saloon (SHA016) LA Jones' Live At The Dead Goat Saloon is a well-executed CD. It captures the live performance of a blues player who obviously wants his audience to hear his own voice but to also enjoy and appreciate other important styles of blues guitar played during the past few decades. For me, a show of this sort is ideal, as is the CD because the listener can just sit back and enjoy a variety of tunes and not just a set of similar sounding songs.
      Like all fine players, LA Jones is a person who has spent a great deal of time listening to the finest electric blues musicians of our age. Names like Albert King, B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Christian, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters come to mind.
      Yet through it all, LA maintains his own feeling and style of playing and does it with a sense of humor. From the opening shuffle "I'm A Loner" through his "Long Distance Call" influenced "Mr. Fix-It" - in which he attempts to set a new record for the world's longest ending to a song - onwards to the end of the CD, the listener gets a full dose of strong technical playing.
      Mixed in with these styles is even an up-tempo jump blues that lets LA show off just how versatile a player he really is. The styles here range from the wailing styles of Muddy Water's slide playing through the percussive attack blues of Albert King to the smooth touch and vibrato oriented style of BB King and on to the swing feel started by folks like Charley Christian and Dranjo Rheinhart.
      But LA isn't just copying these great players. He uses their work as a foundation for a show that celebrates them without indulging in just straight covers of the tunes of those masters. In the midst of all this, he demonstrates abilities on the guitar that are not trivial; I was impressed with his use of harmonics as well as other technical approaches using vibrato bar and his slide playing; Muddy would have enjoyed it, I believe. Good stuff by a very skilled blues musician. This CD moves across a wide range of blues and is definitely worth adding to your collection of up and coming blues artists.
- Jim Wells, Southwest Blues Magazine, Dallas TX