Modern blues with James Jones Trio


One of the hardest things to do for musicians is to get discovered. Before that moment, the life of a musician is filled with cramped places, low budgets, and cross-country tours by van, shows every night just to pay the bills and eat each day. James Jones Trio of Danville, Illinois may have experienced this in the past, but they deserve much more. 

Two weeks ago, the first annual Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival took place in Danville, Illinois. String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, and Tedeschi Trucks Band all fit the bill along with Moon Hooch, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Danville’s own James Jones Trio, and various others. 

After their first major festival appearance and the release of their debut album “Tuned In,” the future looks bright for the trio. James Jones leads the band on electric guitar and vocals with Mitchell Killough on bass and Aaron Bouslog on drums. Each member has mastered his instrument for blues rock of the modern era. Killough mimics funk and blues influences on bass while Jones is wailing blues guitar, providing an excellent juxtaposition that is met with funky rock drums from Bouslog. Each song on the debut presents the creativity and ability these three have.

The album begins with an acoustic blues tune titled ‘Born A Rebel.’ Guitar is accompanied with minimal percussion throughout the song and is met by Jones’ voice that sounds almost too perfect for the genre. Immediately after ‘Rebel,’ the trio goes right into the hard stuff, the real hard blues. The single, ‘Standing On My Own,’ begins the breakdown where each track rocks out more than the last. Guitar solos, funky bass, syncopated drums, and a soothing voice make up many of the songs, but each one is an original gem.

At the album’s end, you’ll find the best tracks on the album. Instrumentally, they surpass the first half of the album on shear energy. Starting with ‘Mitchell’s Groove,’ the album takes a turn and the song begins with a long instrumental. The song’s overall feel is smooth and, as stated in the title, groovy. The ‘Groove’ continues jamming right into ‘No Good,’ where Jones proclaims his love for a woman who left him brokenhearted. The jam slows down at the beginning of ‘Picks and Strings,’ but is pumped right back up with smooth instrumentals before heading into blues dance number ‘The Next Town.’

Of all the albums that come into WGRE, James Jones Trio is truly unique. No band is playing blues nowadays like the Danville trio. Performing at Phases, releasing their debut, and spending a summer touring, James Jones Trio put in the ground work for a successful year. I can’t wait to see where they go. For now, keep an eye out for them on WGRE.