03/12/21 - Oscar Jordan - Vintage Guitar Magazine
On Soft Hard & Loud, Dennis Jones continues to push the boundaries of blues-rock guitar. With lyrics saturated by the cold, hard slap of reality and a love of black musical repertoire, Jones gets down and greasy. It displays the connective tissue between blues, rock, reggae, and R&B. Traditional earmarks intertwine with a unique and fiery thumbprint on guitar. On “Like Sheep,” distorted riffs and heavy rock soloing offset indictments of American ignorance.
Soft Hard & Loud is blues-based black rock. It’s a rollercoaster ride that tackles the themes of love, hate, obsession, and a turbulent social climate. A goldtop Les Paul is Jones’ weapon of choice. From the clean ’60s R&B of “Nothin’ On You” to the crunch of “When I Wake Up,” Jones turns up the intensity. He repurposes a cool rockabilly drum groove and bends it to his will on “Burn The Plantation Down.” It’s an uptempo rockin’ memoir from a slave’s perspective with a pop-punk bridge, sinewy licks, and big double-stop blues bends. The rhythm section kills as they shift grooves effortlessly, but at the album’s core, Dennis Jones loves the blues.
08/26/2021 - Graham Clarke - Blues Bytes
Soft Hard & Loud (Blue Rock Records) is not a typical release from guitarist Dennis Jones, but it is a natural progression. Jones’ new release still features plenty of his fierce blues rock stylings, but these ten tracks mix in more R&B, soul, and funk that on previous albums……it’s always been there, but a bit more so this time around. The end result is an album that expands his musical scope and diversity. Jones is, as always a force of nature on guitar and vocals, and he receives superb support from Cornelius Mims (bass/keys/percussion/co-producer with Jones), Raymond Johnson (drums), with contributions from Bennett Paysinger and Jason Freeman (B3 on one track apiece).
The funk is strong with the album opener, “Revolves Around You,” about a strained relationship with a self-centered lover. One of the highlights of any Dennis Jones album is his songwriting. His lyrical approach avoids the usual clichés about love and relationships and his guitar work is dynamite. “I Love The Blues” is a slow burner that speaks of Jones’ love for the music he plays, featuring Paysinger’s B3 in the background, and “Like Sheep” is a hard-hitting rocker with social overtones, while “Front Door Man” an upbeat blues shuffle, is simply Jones doing what he does best.
“Nothin’ On You” is a smooth old school R&B ballad. Jones does a fine job on vocals for this one, with background vocals from Allison August and Michael Turner. “I Hate Hate” is an encouraging tune wtih reggae and rock overtones, and “Gonna Be Alright” deftly mixes funk and rock with the blues, punctuated with Jones’ fiery fretwork. Speaking of which, “When I Wake Up” is a slow blues that features a positively Hendrixian guitar break that will leave jaws agape. “I’m Not” is another slower tempo track, but in more of a T-Bone Walker mode than the previous track, and the searing closer, “Burn The Plantation Down” is a scathing social justice track.
It seems like I always say that the most recent Dennis Jones release is my favorite of his. Well, I hate to repeat myself, but I think Soft Hard & Loud falls in that category as well. I always look forward to hearing his next release and well, I guess I will do saying that this time around, too. Trust me, folks…..if you haven’t gotten on board the Dennis Jones Bandwagon yet, I highly recommend that you do so, and this album is a fine place to start.
3/1/2021 - Jazz N More. Switzerland Review
Dennis Jones describes himself as being inspired by Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Billy F. Gibbons, but with his power trio he manages to largely avoid the common cliché and bring an independent, lively modernity to the rock-emphasized blues. Thanks to its dynamism and emotionality, the album title "Soft Hard & Loud" is right. The guitarist and singer, who is stationed in California, operates with a lot of funk, soul and reggae elements on his seventh work. With a good dose of originality in the songwriting, with realistic, catchy lyrics and a guitaristic ap¬proach that on the one hand respects the blues tradition and on the other leaves the well-trodden paths, Jones manages to keep the tension consistently high hold. Organists Bennett Paysinger take care of a creamy dab on the guitar cake for each song.
2/12/2021 - Southland Blues - Jim Santella
Southland bluesman Dennis Jones interprets 10 original songs on his latest CD. As the album’s title indicates, this artist can easily change dynamics in a heartbeat and give his audience plenty of action. His fiery guitar and poignant vocals offer much to enjoy. Quiet and slow, as with his “I Love the Blues,” or rock-hard and vibrant, as with his “Gonna Be Alright,” Jones gives it his all. With his veteran trio, the singer/guitarist is at his best. Original songs tend to provide ample room for reflection on the state of society and its problems. Jones’s “Burn the Plantation Down” and his “Like Sheep” point in that direction. His “I Hate Hate” hits right on target, but in general terms; it’s a good lesson to live by, and it’s certainly appropriate for today’s code of ethics. Throughout these reflections of the way things are, Jones’s music continues to embrace with its easy, foot-tapping rhythms and pleasant melodies. The band, augmented with B3 organ or background vocals on three of the session’s numbers, provides Jones with a strong accompaniment for his soloing. The CD is a winner and represents this bluesman and his band at the top of their game.
01/06/2021 - Bluesdoodles (UK) Review
Seventh album started with sessions in early 2020 following his successful European tour; we all know what happened then…the pandemic caused all sorts of challenges for Dennis in seeing this latest work through to fruition. The wonders of technology have meant his vision still happened and the situation the world found itself in even contributed to some of the lyrics and tonalities across the album.
In case you don’t know of Dennis, he has been playing guitar since he was thirteen and cites Page, Hendrix and Gibbons amongst his influences and is always in demand on the blues festival circuit and has toured with luminaries such as Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter. All of these excursions and influences can be heard to inform the ten songs on his latest album which sums up its content with the title: Soft Hard & Loud. You can expect therefore blues of many hues shot through with rock and even a slide into a reggae bounce on one track.
It all starts the complex rhythms of Revolves Around You: it has a deft touch to the guitar that makes me think of solo Tommy Bolin with the staccato chord and pick styles. Vocally he is adept to even when he phases some verses but the highlight is, inevitably, the tasty solos he lays down. The next track, I Love The blues is obviously autobiographical but very relatable to wannabe players like me. It is languid, slow and subtle blues with simple chords illuminating the backing track and the added benefit of some washes of hammond B3 courtesy of guest Bennet Paysinger. The guitar solo is a lovely exercise in using all of the strings and imbuing every note with emotion in a style so brilliantly realised by Gary Moore.
Like Sheep is riffy blues rock with a chord sequence that actually reminds me of Budgie but still fits perfectly with the acerbic lyrics and soloing that I could listen to all day. Front Door Man starts all SRV and keeps going in a great way as Dennis turns around the old blues story of a back doorman to the front! the solo is suitably fiery and fits in perfectly as he extends the phrases across the subsequent verses.
Nothin’ On You moves a little toward R’n’B with a hint of soul as the chord playing illuminates what could have been a little derivative in other hands. Thankfully he delivers countrified solos that made me stay with it and appreciate all the more. I Hate Hate is a great title and the reggae that infuses it actually works well as, once again, I am reminded of the late great Tommy Bolin and his People People song. This is slightly more reggae weighted than that but has a similar deftness of touch on the chord barring…plus the words are bluntly accurate. The solo is glorious but way too short.
Gonna Be Alright is back to the rock side of blues and perhaps illustrates best how tight the trio are – as the bass and drums on this are glued together and to the rhythms…another great solo too. When I Wake Up is the first true glimpse of Dennis’s Hendrix/Winter influences as this weighty blues romp utilises fluid runs over the riff and melody and great use of the wah pedal to emphasise rather than obliterate and that sense is carried into the excellent, original solo. I’m Not may lean on the tropes of Stormy Monday but is still original and damn good with Hammond waves from Jason Freeman backing the guitar solos that should have lasted at least for the whole album!
The final track is a cutting commentary on past (and unfortunately present) times as Burn The Plantation Down wraps the album up with a rocky blues of quality…it is a familiar structure but the guitar is so clever…who gives a shhhh?
This is a strong album from start to finish with the blues running deeply through every track: add to that some excellent guitar playing without histrionics and you get ten songs that are always welcome in this house. Bluesdoodles rating: A Wonderful, 3 doodle pawed album full of varied and accessible blues album for all fan of the blues, not just guitarists like me.
12/22/20 - II Blues - Italy
After the excellent live released a couple of years ago, the guitarist from Maryland, who has been based in Los Angeles for several years, presents his new solo album, which in the title sums up his characteristics. Professional musician for twenty years, Dennis Jones has always managed to combine soft passages with more aggressive and decisive solutions, but always measured. The quality of his compositions emerges immediately from the opening of "Revolves Around You", with a pressing rhythm that captures from the first listen, as well as in the blues rock "Front Door Man", very well constructed along the riff of his guitar, a characteristic that is now defining his style, his solos are an excellent condensation of technique at the service of communication, so much so that he loves to diversify them to give the right expression. We can see this well in two really intense slows, the autobiographical "I Love The Blues" in which Jones tells of his musical growth and training, well supported by the Flammond, which we still find in "I'm Not", recalls us to the memory the famous “Stormy Monday Blues”; we also very much appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of "Nothin 'on You", a rhythm & blues of very high quality. The forced limitation of every activity caused by the pan ¬ demic gave him the opportunity to use the most extended times to concentrate on writing the lyrics, an aspect that emerges particularly in the rock of "Like Sheep" in which he reflects on the current state of the world , as also happens in the reggae of "I Hate Hate". Another piece that remains in mind is “When I Wake Up”, with its groove that recalls with some hints to great guitarists of the past; in all this the support from the close-knit rhythmic of bassist Cornelius Memes and drummer Raymond Johnson emerges magnificently. But the rock soul is always ready to emerge and Dennis clearly demonstrates this in "Gonna Be Alright", with another captivating phrasing or in the final "Burn The Plantation Down" which again tackles snappy social problems. "Soft, Hard & Loud" is another work of great depth, pleasant and convincing in every track, which confirms Dennis Jones as one of the best realities of modern blues rock
12/13/2020 - Blues In The South (UK) Review - Brian Harman.
Originally from Baltimore County Maryland, Dennis who has been a Los Angeles resident for over thirty years now went straight into the Matai studios in Los Angeles after his recent European tour had finished, to craft and record, this, his seventh album of 10 original numbers. Dennis who takes lead vocals and guitar is backed by Cornelius Mims; bass, percussion and keyboards with Raymond Johnson providing drums. Dennis also shares production credits with Cornelius Mims. Work on the album began in February, but was interrupted by the current medical climate, so a winter release was chosen.
Dennis is primarily known as a bluesman with hard rocking tendencies, but his sublime and tender guitar work here is matched with a mellifluous vocal on numbers such as the opener ‘Revolves Around You,’ a tale of complete and utter self-centeredness, that contains an enticingly gentle rhythm delivered by Dennis, his guitar slowly and angrily rises matching the obvious frustration in his voice as he tells the tale. The autobiographical slow blues of ‘I love The Blues,’ allows Dennis to again delightfully stretch out his gentle vocals and lyrically expansive and exquisite guitar work, while a simmering B3 courtesy of Bennett Paysinger lingers hauntingly in the background. On ‘Like Sheep,’ Dennis thrillingly arcs, dives and weaves his raucous guitar into AC/DC territory on the subject of thoughtless conformity. ‘Nothin’ On You,’ is a gentle sweet R&B ballad that has Allison August and Michael Turner delivering gossamer-like backing vocals, while Dennis delivers an equally shimmering vocal that matches his crisp, sparkling guitar. Dennis returns to his hard and heavy trademark guitar playing on ‘When I Wake Up,’ a tale of love, lust and desire, while guitar, bass and drums grind out their raucous musical offering, Dennis provides an a rip-roaring vocal. The epic blues of ‘I’m Not,’ has the trio rising and falling like a ship in a storm, with a burning B3 added for good measure, courtesy of Jason Freeman. The album finishes with the snarling, gnarled ‘Burn The Plantation Down,’ a heavy and hard response to age old, racial ‘Southern Charm.’ Greatly endorsed!
12/22/20 - Metronome - Boston
Born and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland and now based in Los Angeles, California, Dennis Jones began playing guitar at age 13 and never looked back. Citing heavy weight six-string influencers like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Billy Gibbons [ZZ Top], Dennis honed his chops razor sharp while playing guitar with Brian O’Neal and The Bus Boys (“The Boys are Back in Town”) and The Zac Harmon Band before stepping out on his own. These days, boasting an impressive resume that includes 7 CDs and a DVD to his name, Dennis Jones continues to pursue his musical dreams with fierce abandon. With a voice that’s equally as powerful as his guitar work, Jones rolls through 10 well scripted originals that favor blues, funk, R&B, reggae and rock. Opening with the funky groove filled “Revolves Around You,” Jones proves to be a powerhouse triple threat that’s clearly evident from track to track. He’s not a one trick pony either. He runs the gamut in his songwriting and is masterfully capable at embracing the musical vibe through his performance. Radio friendly tunes on Soft Hard & Loud include the revelatory “I Love The Blues,” the Stevie Ray Vaughan infused “Front Door Man,” the blazing fretboard testimony of “Gonna Be Alright,” the bluesy lament of “When I Wake Up” and the timely revolt of “Burn The Plantation Down.” The pandemic has truly shut down the business of live music, but when things open up again (and they will), make sure to catch Dennis Jones and his band when they come to town. [B.M.O.]
12/11/2020 - Blues Matters Review - STEVE YOURGLIVCH
This is Dennis Jones 7th album release and he’s performed across the world at leading festivals, usually with his power trio. The band went straight into recording this album after their last European tour and the road forged tightness shines through. First track Revolves Around You is a bit funky with some interesting rhythmic twists, at the mid-way point Dennis adds some crisp soloing showing what a first-class guitarist he is, no note is wasted. Bennett Payslinger guests on second track I Love The Blues providing Hammond to great effect, he is best known for playing with Beyonce and Snoop Dogg so its nice to hear him in blues mode. The band hit their rock stride on Like Sheep, an observational song about world affairs. Jones plays around with the blues phraseology of Back Door Man on track 4, Front Door Man, a fast paced blues rocker, ‘I ain’t sneakin’ round the back’ state the lyric and this is in your face for sure. Nothin’ On You is more RnB, and is an unashamed love song showing the breadth of Dennis song writing abilities. We even have some reggae on I Hate Hate, a song that could easily have been a cover from Island Records back catalogue but is a Jones original. Back to rock mode for Gonna Be Alright, some super interplay between lead guitar and rhythm section. It’s on When I Wake Up that Dennis allows himself to indulge in some guitar pyrotechnics but never overindulgent and the rhythm guys hold it down to the floor. Penultimate track I’m Not is a slow blues. The band sound like they are having fun on this with Jason Freeman adding tasteful Hammond. Burn The Plantation Down closes the album and is a defiant slab of blues rock. This is a high-quality diverse album from a top-class performer and is highly recommended.
12/9/2020 - Blues Bytes Review - Bill Mitchell
I was vaguely familiar with the name of L.A. blues guitarist / singer Dennis Jones, but even with five previous albums to his credit I somehow have been remiss in checking out his music. That's my loss if his previous stuff is anywhere nearly as good as Soft Hard & Loud (Blue Rock Records). This is "full speed ahead" blues from Jones' power trio, with a few guest artists sprinkled in. The core of the band, besides Jones, consists of Raymond Johnson on drums and Cornelius Memes on bass.
We get one of the album's better cuts right from the start with the quirky blues, "Revolves Around You." It's funky with plenty of effects on Jones' blues guitar riffs. He follows with his own kind of love song, a tribute to his roots in rural Maryland where he learned to appreciate music. It's a slow blues with a strong guitar intro leading into his passionate vocals on "I Love The Blues," with strong B-3 from guest Bennett Paysinger joining in. I'm right with Jones as he laments the fact that way too many people in our society just do what they're told instead of thinking for themselves on the rockin' blues, "Like Sheep." Kind of sounds like our current political environment, right?
Jones proclaims that he's not fearing the "other man" on "Front Door Man," an up-tempo blues mover in which he tells us that he's not going to sneak around to the back door. Instead, he's at the front door asking where he can park his Cadillac. Michael Turner and Allison August join the group with sweet harmony vocals on the pleasant R&B love song, "Nothin' On You," before Jones gets topical (and tropical) on the reggae-ish "I Hate Hate."
We get a couple more special guests on the heavy slow blues, "I'm Not," with Jason Freeman's B-3 complementing Jones' guitar work. Closing the album is an up-tempo blues rocker, "Burn The Plantation Down," with Jones taking us on a frantic ride through his tortured soul.
I'm way overdue in checking out the complete discography of Dennis Jones, but for now Soft Hard & Loud will keep me busy while I listen to it over and over. This one's a keeper.
12/07/20 - Roots Music Report Review
Guitarslinger par excellence Dennis Jones continues to serve up song-centric blues-rock of a consistently high quality and abundant variation. Changes in mood and tempo, and fresh and unexpected bridges contained within conventional patterns keep things interesting as well as providing suitable setups for the LA-based player’s fretboard fireworks. Standouts her include “Revolves Around You”, “I Love The Blues” and “Front Door Man”.
11/23/20 - Rock & Blues Muse Review - By Mike O’Cull
Los Angeles blues guitarist and vocalist Dennis Jones dropped his seventh album as a leader, Soft Hard & Loud, in October of 2020 and the set is as hot as this year has been crazy. Jones is a tasteful powerhouse of a musician who touches on every emotion and comments on current events in his original songs while still being able to rip fiery guitar solos with the best in the scene. His contemporary take on the blues includes funk, rock, and reggae influences that make him unique and identifiable. His personality informs every note and word on Soft Hard & Loud and makes each song an individual world he allows us to visit. Jones co-produced it with his brawny rhythm section of drummer Raymond Johnson and bassist Cornelius Memes and the core of the record is the sound of these three deeply connected musicians sharing brain waves.
Jones is a seasoned player who has logged thousands of hours and road miles practicing his craft. He won the International Blues Competition in Memphis in 2004 as part of Zac Harmon’s Band, opened for important artists like Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, Dick Dale, and the Experience Hendrix Tour, and has gone on tour in Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, and Slovenia. His guitar work is informed by Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Billy Gibbons and gets injected into songs that allow him to take those foundational sounds to places and levels that reach beyond simple classic rock emulation. His music is thoroughly modern but Jones’ mix of vintage knowledge underneath it also makes it timeless and emotional. He’s one of the freshest blues artists out there right now and has what it takes to get big.
Jones starts the record with the funky “Revolves Around You,” which tells an honest story about a stressful relationship with a narcissistic partner. The track is dynamic, bold, and features some outstanding and atypical lead guitar playing that immediately gives Jones the aura of an innovator. He doesn’t lean on genre cliches but creates new melodies that point towards his own vision of how things should be. Prepare to be instantly hooked. “I Love The Blues” is a lowdown and slow Albert King-ish song that relates Jones’ feelings about what he does. His guitar magic here is quieter but no less impressive than his more blazing solos and his vocals easily handle the heavy lifting that makes this one fly.
Jones starts hitting harder on “Like Sheep.” It’s a gritty rock song that asks a lot of heavy questions about people and society that are thought-provoking and relevant. The groove is hard and funky and Jones laces power chords and slinky lead lines through it like a master. He flirts with a Ben Harper-esque vibe around the edges of this one but ultimately holds position in his own lane. “Front Door Man” is an upbeat shuffle with a taste of Jimi to it. Jones lays down some intense blues licks over a driving pocket and easily lights up the sky.
“I Hate Hate” is a reggae track that finds Jones delivering more social commentary. “I hate hate but I don’t hate you” he sings, using the song to speak positive ideas about race and unity that are particularly important to hear in our present highly divided condition. Jones spits truth fearlessly over a bottomless beat and opens his heart to us all. “Burn The Plantation Down” takes a more aggressive approach to social justice and puts Jones’ anger and frustration at center stage. His unflinching lyrics and tough guitar work leave no doubt as to where he stands. It’s the best song on the album and closes these sessions out with a strong statement. Dennis Jones is an absolute beast of a musician and songwriter and Soft Hard & Loud will claim a space in your rotation after a single listen. Be cool and let it happen.
11/14/20 —Tahoe Onstage Review - Tim Parsons
Dennis Jones’ records have always been rock and/or blues. With the release of “Soft Hard & Loud,” add jazz and reggae to the mix.
Such versatility is possible with a tight band and Jones’ touring and studio trios are one and the same. Raymond Johnson plays drums and Cornelius Memes, who co-produced the album with Jones, plays bass.
As with all seven of his albums, which he started busting out in 2003, Jones wrote each song on “Soft Hard & Loud,” a most apt description of the sounds. And like fellow guitar greats Coco Montoya, Jack White and Tab Benoit, Jones is a former drummer. His percussion erudition doubtless helps him create so many great songs. Jones is an undisputed guitar virtuoso, but the song is everything to him.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite from the 10 gems on this record, which quickly hit No. 1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Chart.
A hard-rocking anthemic tune, “Like Sheep” is charting as a single: “Is your brain on vacation? Why is everybody half-asleep? You just do what your told. Like sheep.”
The tumult and tragedy of 2020 has inspired a lot of wide-awake music across all genres. The most notable here is “Burn The Plantation Down.” In the Jim Crow days, poor whites, which included the police, where the greatest enemy to black sharecroppers. The plantation owners were the protectors who preferred the sharecroppers work than to die. In his song, Jones points out that plantation owners and the police now work in unison in what remains a caste system, and he offers a solution.
Another strong message comes with the aforementioned reggae song, “I Hate Hate.” This reminds me of when the Rolling Stones decided to make a country song, “Dead Flowers,” and it was perfect. The same applies here. Jones proves to be irie with the reggae. The rhythm section of Memes and Johnson is brilliant and Jones is a wonderful singer.
“Gonna Be Alright” is another song that revels in the rhythm, and Jones rocks on a Stratocaster like he’s Jimi Hendrix.
Of there softer side, there’s the jazzy “I love the Blues” and “Nothin’ On You,” the latter includes backing vocals by Allison August and Michael Turner.
The song that might most stick in a listener’s head is “When I Wake Up,” in which Jones champions a single-minded focus for love and trancey groove. The album title could work for this song, too.
“Soft Hard & Loud” is another feather in Dennis Jones’ bandstand fedora.
11/04/20 - Making A Scene Review - Richard Ludmerer
Dennis Jones hails from the rural town of Monkton, Maryland. His grandfather played an acoustic guitar and a thirteen-year-old Jones received his first guitar on Christmas Day. At the age of sixteen he was already in a cover band playing rock n’ roll. He joined the military when he was eighteen and while stationed in Germany, played in various bands, and witnessed some great concerts including Rufus Thomas and Rory Gallagher. Jones got married and moved to Los Angeles but later got divorced. He worked as an elevator technician and moonlighted in bands at night. When Jones got laid off he decided to pursue music full time. Jones played with Zac Harman before forming his own band in the early 1990’s. Jones recorded his debut “Falling Up” in 2003; and followed up with 2005’s “Passion For The Blues” with Harmon guesting on one track. Jones’ last album was 2018’s live “WE 3”.
This is Jones’ seventh album overall. The Dennis Jones Band includes co-producer Jones, guitar and lead vocals; co-producer Cornelius Mims, bass, keys, percussion and backing vocals; and Raymond Johnson, drums. Additional musicians include Bennett Paysinger or Jason Freeman, Hammond B-3; and background vocalists Allison August and Michael Turner. The album was recorded at the Matai Studios in Los Angeles.
All of the songs are written and arranged by Jones. The album’s title denotes songs that range from the soft and intimate, to the harder and louder blues rock, that Jones is noted for. The varying tempos reveal a songwriting skill that I had not previously recognized.
Jones opens with his sweet rhythm guitar on “you think that everything, Revolves Around You” before taking several definitive guitar solos. “I Love The Blues” is slower and an autobiographical snapshot that reveals his depth as a songwriter, and he follows with a dramatic solo while Paysinger is featured on the B-3.
On “Like Sheep” Jones sings of the current state of mind that exists today “just do what your told, like sheep”. Jones’ responds to Willie Dixon’s “Back Door Man”, first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1962, with “Front Door Man”, his rhythm guitar pushing the tune forward, as he sings “I’m at your front door baby, where can I park my black Cadillac, I’m not afraid of your man, I ain’t sneaking around the back”.
My two favorites follow. On “Nothin’ On You” Jones sings “the hottest girl in town, got nothin’ on you… no diamonds and no pearls, ain’t a woman in this world, got nothin’ on you” while his solo and the sweet background, from vocalists August and Turner, complete the production. The topical “I Hate, Hate”, with its reggae beat, features some great bass from Mims as Jones sings “you think your better than me, but I don’t hate you”.
Jones plays harder and louder on both “Gonna Be Alright”; and on “When I Wake Up” with the lyric “I just want to be lying next to you”. “I’m Not” features Freeman sitting in on the B-3 and turns into an extended jam. Jones closes with another of my favorites, “Burn The Plantation Down”, a topical rebuke on Southern Culture.
Jones mixes his signature blues-rock with some great songwriting. I am surprised and thrilled with how much I like this album. This is the best I ever heard from Dennis Jones
11/02/20 - Soundguardian (Croatia) Review - Blues Corner
When I got this album two weeks ago, I first thanked in my mind the main promoter of Betsie Brown Memphis ’ Blind Raccoon , who once again expertly chose an album to send to this side of the globe. I am a really happy man to work with people like this.
Dennis Jones is a guitarist who I believe has not yet gained too many fans here in Croatia. However, in neighboring Slovenia, Dennis Jones has already established himself, and, of course, this is not my first encounter with him and his music.
After his five studio albums, three of which I have already promoted, and his concert album, now I am again the first in Croatia to present this really interesting musician and his band.
The album “Soft Hard & Loud” was released on October 16 by Blue Rock Records with a radio promotion by Blind Raccoon .
Upon returning from another successful European tour with his “power trio,” the guitarist
Dennis Jones threw himself into studio work and indulged in composing songs for his seventh studio album. It all started in February this year, but this disease has disrupted everything everywhere and everyone. Of course, Dennis is no exception, he just had to adapt and start working badly on new materials. In doing so, he had the wholehearted support of his killer rhythm section, Raymond Johnson on drums and bassist Cornelius Memes. They all co-produced the album and invited four top musicians, true masters of Hammond B3 Bennett Paysinger and Jason Freeman, singer Michael Turner and singer Allison August. All together they made this album special with constant and uninterrupted bonds towards ascending and strong and incredibly expressive rock n ’blues.
Dennis Jones was born in Baltimore, and his first love was drumming, only to turn to guitar at 13 years old. Soon, in just two years, he had his own band and the music he loved was played by Rolači, The Who, Bob Dylan.
Given his new passion for guitar, it is undeniable that Hendrix, Winter and Jimmy Page made an impact. But that was not the end of the story; to finally form his musical expression Dennis implements in him the inspired performance of blues masters BB, Albert and Freddie King with obvious elements of R&B, performed very wholeheartedly by Al Green, James Brown, but also those musicians who acted in within the framework of that famous sound, the so-called "Motown sound".
From 1977 to 1980, Dennis resided in Europe, in Germany, playing with various bands; In 1985, he came to Los Angeles and founded Blackhead, before opting for rock n 'blues with his Dennis Jones Band in the 1990s.
With his previous studio albums, Dennis clearly defines the direction in which he wants to act, so each new album is a logical gradation for the better, especially when it comes to his stylistic and musical form.
Dennis Jones is well aware that as a trio they have to sound very good. There is really no possibility of any "scams". Namely, when it comes to the classic rock-blues trio, everything is immediately obvious and you can immediately hear whether you are at home or not. Dennis and the band with their inspired gig strongly show and prove that they have no problems at all. In fact!
His blues is something new on the blues scene and also his album “Soft Hard & Loud” will be a real surprise for everyone who will listen to him. Energetic, subtle, inspired, distinctive, but special and dynamic - that's how we can describe what we hear.
In general, all we can hear and get from this trio is energetic blues / rock, which obviously draws its references from traditional blues, but also adds its own modern atmosphere, as well as some other musical influences and connections.
The album "Soft Hard & Loud" brings us 10 songs and they are all the work of the most talented musician Dennis Jones. Therefore, Dennis and the band sound like completely playful musicians, for whom nothing is a problem in the gig.
It’s hard not to mention once again as Jimi Hendrix’s main role model, but to whom is he not a role model when it comes to guitars? So the story goes further, as is the order, the album is dominated by Jones' guitar, which in some fragments irresistibly resembles Jimi, but it's only fragmentary, because it's crystal clear to everyone that Dennis has his original and distinctive guitar manuscript on which he worked a lot. and it still works, which is certainly to be commended. And here's how others experience it, like Rick J Bowen: "Another fine effort from a hard-working showman and his team."
Dennis Jones' album "Soft Hard & Loud" is truly a real and true gift to fans. Equally it is a very sincere sign of gratitude to all those who have supported and are supporting Dennis Jones and his band for over 17 years.
For me personally, there is no doubt: this album is truly an inspired refreshment on the blues scene. Everyone who is looking for a different approach, refreshment, a new and above all distinctive and inspired piece of music, has come to their own. Don't hesitate for a second, but get your copy of this great album as soon as possible!
At the very end, here is Dennis Jones' message: “I've been watching and listening to people for years who believe whatever the government says is true. They believe whatever their favorite news station says is true. They think whatever their favorite politician says is true. It's not! ”
11/01/20 - Blues Again (France) Review - Gilles Blampain
Funky blues, powerful rock and soul are part of this recording which does not generate melancholy. We are transported by a hellish beat, Dennis Jones shows a beautiful dynamic with a flamboyant side made of tasty guitar solos where he puts tension and warmth but he also knows how to create some more cozy moments. He turns out to be an expert on groove and while he claims the influences of Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Billy Gibbons, he has a style of his own made of searing and catchy riffs and has a voice that knows how to pass with ease. softness to harsher tones as underlined by the album title. Raymond Johnson on drums and Cornelius Mims on bass provide a muscular rhythm section and the presence of two guest masters of the Hammond B3, Bennett Paysinger on 'I Love The Blues ', and Jason Freeman on ' I'm Not ' add more to this production, also include vocalists Michael Turner and Allison August who added sweet harmonies on the fifth track ' I Hate The Hate ' to the reggae accents. For this new CD Dennis Jones signs 10 original compositions. Intense and original, the whole does not lack breath, it is square, efficient, full of energy and good vibrations.
11/27/20 - Historias del Blues Colombia Review - https://historiasdelblues.com/2020/11/27/dennis-jones-soft-hard-loud-blue-rock-records-2020/
Guitarist Dennis Jones presents his seventh album entitled " Soft, hard & loud ", a name that encompasses what we are going to find in this work.
Indeed, Jones, along with Raymond Johnson on drums and Cornelius Memes on bass, offer a collection of 10 original songs with all the power to take the listener through a seesaw of hard, soft and strong sounds.
All the songs were composed by Dennis Jones and in many of them he shows his previous experience as a drummer, since the rhythm prevails above all. Likewise, he puts a lot of his personal life and what is happening today to shape the lyrics.
Musically, there is a lot of blues, funk , rock and soul , with a specific reggae song, “ Gonna be alright ”. You can hear the influences of Jimmy Page, Albert King (" I love the blues ") and Jimi Hendrix (" Like sheep "), artists whose sounds shaped the Dennis Jones style .
" Soft, hard & loud " began recording in February of this year but, for reasons we all know, the sessions had to be continued remotely. Either way, you can see the cohesion that the trio has thanks to the many years of working together.
Dennis Jones he stands as one of the best contemporary blues guitarists and continues to rewrite the history of the blues power-trio, staying very true to his guitar and his reputation as a composer, full of clever and true lyrics.
10/30/20 - Rootstime (Netherlands & Belgium) Review
Singer-songwriter, producer and guitarist Dennis Jones is from Baltimore, Maryland, where he played in various blues bands as a teenager. His musical influences are Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Albert King, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Guitar Shorty. Jones lived in Europe for a while, but moved to Los Angeles, California in the mid-1980s, where he performed, among other things, as a guitarist in Zac Harmon's band. He founded the Debbis Jones Band in the mid 1990s. In 2005 he released his second studio album "Passion for the Blues" on his own Blue Rock Records label. This is followed by "Pleasure and Pain" (2009) and "My Kinda Blues" (2012). Since debuting in 2003 with "Falling Up", Jones won the 2004 IBC as part of Zac Harmon's band.
“Another energetic set of high-powered blues funky rock and super charged soul…”
There is a sequel to Jones' sixth album "Both Sides of the Track" (2016). After all, Dennis Jones went to the studio with ten songs of his own - “another energetic set of powerful blues, funky rock and super charged soul” - and a rhythm section consisting of co-producer Cornelius Mims (bass) and Raymond Johnson (drums). There they got the support of some “extra” musicians like B3 organists Bennett Paysinger (Beyoncé, Snoop Dog, Demi Lovato) & Jason Freeman and background vocalists Allison August & Michael Turner.
You can already hear that Jones himself wanted to become a drummer in the catchy rhythms in the opener “Revolves Around You”. In the autobiographical quiet song “I Love the Blues” (with Bennett Paysinger behind the B3 organ), Jones talks about his childhood in rural Maryland where his family fully supported his musical ambitions. On the biting rocker “Like Sheep” he plays a decrepit Les Paul, plugged directly into the amp, in order to fire a riff and give his judgment on the current state of the world. Howlin 'Wolf's “Back Door Man” from 1960 inspired him to write the shuffle “Front Door Man,” in which he begs his lady to make him her number one lover. In “Nothin 'On You” ”Jones then becomes romantic and praises (in the background along with the backing vocals) the virtues of his favorite lady, which many probably already did before him. Reggae is often associated with rebellion. Jones tries in “I Hate Hate” to stir something positive with statements such as: “all come together now and, love one another now…”. Then follow his instructions in “Gonna Be Alright” and, afterwards, will you hear from Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy in “When I Wake Up” as he shakes the wah-wahs out of his lit guitar? Jones (with Jason Freeman behind the B3 organ) takes his musical freedom in the slow blues “I'm Not” with several chord changes and, sparing most of his fear for the finale. In “Burn the Plantation Down”, he once again gets the most out of his guitar in casting out the demons, in a slave struggling to free himself and the family.
Dennis Jones again answers the expectations of the rocking, always hard-working guitar man with bluesy roots with "Soft Hard & Loud".
DENNIS JONES – SOFT HARD & LOUD www.rootstime.be
10/24/20 - Midwest Records Review DENNIS JONES/Soft Hard & Loud:
The blues rocking power trio leading gun slinger comes in with album 7, a sizzling set of not more of the same. Using the pandemic downtime to sharpen up the material he started out with, his focus is like a laser. Completely tight throughout with some delightful accents that go beyond the trio, Jones is smoking throughout and never lets you down. A winner throughout.
10/20/20 - BluesBlues (UK) Review
Soft, Hard & Loud is the seventh album from LA based Blues powerhouse guitarist Dennis Jones and the title of the album references his power trio who can produce all three in one song. Revolves Around You is a bouncy opener with guitar notes picked out like raindrops on a metal roof and with added wah-wah and other pedals. When you pick away at it, it’s ultimately a fine Blues with a guitarist of some note. A good start. I Love The Blues is a classy, smooth Blues where he talks about his own upbringing in Maryland. His mellow voice harks back to his childhood and growing up in a family that was supportive of musical leanings. There are echoes of the late great Gary Moore in the styling of the song and there’s a telling contribution from Bennett Paysinger on Hammond B-3. Like Sheep was released as a single and the heavy Blues Rock is the perfect foil for Jones’ barbed view of today’s affairs. He’s following in a long line of exceptional guitarists in this field and Jones can certainly hold his own. The song is driven along by the classy rhythm section of Raymond Johnson on drums and Cornelius Memes on bass. This guy’s not for coming around the back entrance, he’s coming straight through your front door as stated in the classic Blues theme of infidelity on Front Door Man. This is a fast Blues with Jones’ fingers flashing like lightning. He continues to explore the genres with the sultry Soul/R&B of Nothin’ On You. Classy backing vocals from Michael Turner and Allison August along with unfussy guitar from Jones compliment the song, which is a romantic note to his favorite lady.
I Hate Hate is very laudable and very relevant nowadays. Filled with Reggae beats and clean lines as he works the fretboard on another opinion driven track. The band bursts back into life with funky sounds on Gonna Be Alright. Jones’ guitar is seamless and peerless at times. The pounding and flamboyant slow Blues of When I Wake Up highlights his gritty vocal and as mentioned elsewhere this is a trait of the band as a whole. They can be soft and mellow in parts and loud and gritty in others. Dennis releases a frenzy of string bending notes towards the end. I’m Not is a slow sophisticated Blues with a familiar theme “I’m not a doctor baby but I can sure cure what’s ailing you” you get the drift. We even get some extra Hammond B-3 from Jason Freeman on this one. The strong guitar breaks show a technically gifted player but also one who plays from the heart. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix and it’s not hard to see why. He closes with Burn The Plantation Down and it’s a finish that I approve of; fast-paced Blues Rock. We can all understand the sentiment here as Dennis delivers an angst ridden scolding. He does enough vocally throughout the album but the guitar is the star and is always likely to be.