MP3 JP Jones - Jeremiah
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12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, SPOKEN WORD: Audiobook
Accompanying himself only on guitar and rack harp JP Jones is back with his 10th CD release on Vision Company Records. Featuring ten originals, one traditional song and the mythic spoken word piece Abu, Jeremiah is at once a return to Jones' roots and a radical affirmation of the artist's relationship with God.
As a young man Jones received a Fundamentalist Christian education at Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA (and earned a BA degree in music composition from Amherst College in Massachusetts). His previous album titles include Angels on the Road, Back to Jerusalem, Salvation Street and Life and Death, but Jones doesn't write Christian music. "There is a place in all of us where we transcend our regional/religious factionalism and are redeemed in our celebration of life. Reconciling these differences, that sometimes seem so huge, so important, so intractable, offers a vision that completes an otherwise impoverished view of what it means to be human," says Jones.
Recorded in January 2004 in his one-bedroom Newport, RI apartment, the songs on Jeremiah cover a broad spectrum of human emotion and circumstance and come from all corners of the songwriter's 30-plus year career. So Early, Early In the Spring is a traditional song that has been in JP's repertoire since he first heard the Judy Collins version and learned to play acoustic guitar in the late 1960s. Still Life, a previously unrecorded song, dates to the early 1970s. The disc's signature tracks, Prophet in his Prime and Jeremiah were written in the months preceding recording. Working with a PARIS digital audio workstation Jones recorded and mixed all tracks himself. There are no overdubs.
For more information on JP Jones' CD releases on Vision Company Records please visit the https://www.tradebit.com website.
With nine CD releases under his belt, JP Jones is Rhode Island's most prolific indie recording artist. Best known for his folk-influenced songwriting, Jones' recorded work has been compared to that of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Greg Brown.
As a performer who's been at it more than 30 years he's shared bills with a diverse and prominent musical cast that includes Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King and Little Feat (just to name a few). He's played house concerts and civic arenas, outdoor festivals, bars and coffeehouses. He gigs, today, both as a solo artist and with back up band Rite Tite. He's got a following and fans who regularly collect his records. Still, it's at moments when Jones has an opportunity to give back that he seems most comfortable.
"The other day the phrase, 'you gotta stay hungry' occurred to me," says Jones. "All of a sudden, that looked like complete insanity to me. You flip it around on its head and say, when you're really, really full, that's when you've got something to offer to somebody else. That's what's happening in my life as I get older. All of these things are coming together so that I'm feeling more full and complete. My interest's in the world around me, and my writing and everything I'm doing artistically reflects that." As he sees it, "It's a bigger world than what I have and what I don't have...I'm interested in other people's dreams."
JP was born in Wakefield, Rhode Island, in 1949. He tried and failed to learn the piano from teachers in his home town of Springfield, Mass, and eventually taught himself note by note memorizing the soloist's part of Sergei Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto. He graduated from Wilbraham Academy on scholarship and then went to Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA -- a fundamentalist Christian education took, or didn't take, depending on your point of view, and after three semesters he went on to Holyoke Community College, finally receiving his B.A. from Amherst College, again on scholarship. A self-described late-bloomer, he began writing songs in his late teens, taught himself guitar by playing records at half speed, formed a band, survived the break-up, and suddenly found himself with recording offers from Atlantic and Columbia before he was out of college.
"To be alive is a great privilege. To be in a position to do the work you love to do is nothing less than a state of grace," says Jones. He should know. JP recorded that first album for CBS' Columbia/Windfall label in 1972 ("A student work as far as I'm concerned," says Jones). The album was a commercial failure and his career was caught in the crossfire as the relationship between Columbia and Windfall became acrimonious and ended in lawsuit. "They told me at the time that nothing I ever wrote would be produced," say Jones. "Meanwhile they refused to release me from my contract asserting their right of ownership of everything I wrote for the term of the deal. I was unable to write anything for the next five years. Fortunately on the day after the contract expired I was able to write about 100 songs."
Cut adrift in the late 70's, Jones pursued a second major label deal by submitting demo tapes and playing New York City showcase gigs at clubs like Folk City and CBGBs. It was during this time that he caught the eye of producers John Hammond Sr. (Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan) and Ed Freeman (Tim Hardin, Don McLean). Hammond visited Jones at home and offered to take him into the studio. Freeman and Jones collaborated on an additional set of demos. Neither relationship produced a second album.
By the early 1980s it was becoming clear to Jones that his future in music was probably going to be as an independent artist. He fronted the New York City based folk/rock band John Train (who took their name in tribute to the Phil Ochs pseudonym) and released and promoted two independently produced rock singles. Over the next decade he supported himself by taking a day job as a commercial artist while continuing to write songs and do open mic solo gigs at clubs he'd headlined just a few years before.
Everything changed in the 1990s. Jones moved back to New England and in a series of small steps he began to reconnect as a performer with the local folk circuit. He took coffeehouse gigs and had live performances featured on compilation CDs in support of such non-profit projects as the WWUH Folk Next Door fund-raisers, the Rhode Island Songwriters Association's 12 Steps of Christmas and the Hope Center of Providence's Our Invincible Summer. Digital technology brought down the cost of recording and duplicating, and made making high quality records easy and relatively affordable. Jones dug in.
100's of songs and 10 CD's later, the cornerstone of Jones restless spiritual searching and artistic ambition appears to have culminated in his working motto: I'm here to serve.
John Paul Jones (Columbia/Windfall) LP, 1973, Johhny Go Lightly b/w It'll All Blow Over 7" single, 1980, Don't Feel Guilty b/w Wendy 12" single, 1982, Voluntown CD, 1991, Broken Open CD, 1994, Bard CD, 1997, Angels on the Road CD, 1998, Broken Open - remixed and remastered CD, 1999, Ashes CD, 1999, Back to Jerusalem CD, 2000, Salvation Street CD, 2001, Life and Death CD, 2003, Jeremiah CD, 2004
"When all is said and done, there are maybe a score of songwriters today who combine deep insight into the human psyche with a broad grasp of history, religion, literature, American mythology & landscape - plus a real genius for writing both words and melodies. Only a score are ambitious in the sense that they constantly challenge themselves and their audiences, rejecting the chance to make a facile point or tug the sentimental heartstring. These are our poets, voices raw from prophecy and the rigors of love. JP Jones ought to be counted among them." - Hugh Blumenfeld, https://www.tradebit.com
"JP Jones writes with an intensity and vision that transcends the sound... Jones has a way with words, and he nails them, hammers them, and stretches them, but never minces them." - Rich Warren, Sing Out!
"JP Jones has excelled where many others have missed the mark: Thoughtful, spiritually grounded music that tells stories rather than thumps bibles. If you're into Jack Johnson, John Hiatt, or Darden Smith, check out this CD, JP's onto something." - Bill Conner, KNBT New Braunfels, Texas
"One of the best songwriters in the indie world." - Jan Best, Independent Songwriter Web Magazine
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