We know Zeno Jones from garage blues rock duo Cold Beverage, with whom he released the recommended LP Hot Wax last year. In 2011, he’d already put out a traditional, self-titled country blues album, and now he’s once again taking the spotlight on his own: on his electrified delta blues Stonewater Music EP, you’ll hear his raw vocals, as well as his howling guitar, old suitcase drum and rusty tambourine.
Last November, the skilled guitarist won Louisville’s Regional Qualifier for the International Blues Challenge, with some studio time as a reward. That led to eight songs, all recorded in a single live take, that have been brought together on this mini album. Understandably, the tunes are more stripped down and rock a little less hard without Cold Beverage’s powerhouse drummer Rodney B. (active here as producer), but they’re no less intense. This is heartfelt blues/roots music from a born musician who writes some pretty good songs in the traditional way – his originals can compete with his covers of John Lee Hooker’s Burning Hell and Joost Abbel’s To The Moon – and who also knows how to play them convincingly.
In the end, Zeno Jones didn’t win the competition in Memphis – Eric Ramsey was victorious in the solo/duo division, The Wacky Jugs was chosen as the best band – but luckily we can enjoy his sound: the Stonewater Music EP is out now digitally and on CD (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp