It's All About The Music 



photo credit : Karen Mason-Blair

Last month my dear friends at XO Publicity in Oregon sent me a CD in one of their unmistakable foil envelopes which usually contain a new album, some confetti or maybe even a fake spider so I won’t forget the uniqueness of this fabulous company with whom DGT has had the pleasure to do business with for nearly the full ten years we have been at it. I remember telling Kaytea the owner of XO long ago that I just couldn’t possibly review every band that needs publicity but I would feature the ones who she sends me and who really have something different to offer, at least in this writer’s humble opinion. She has never let me down and I am truly sorry for all the great talent and records I listened to that either didn’t make the grade or we just didn’t have the time to talk to or write about them. But relentlessly Kaytea never gave up on me or Damn Good Tunes. She never quit sending me these innovative and eye catching bright reflective envelopes – never worried about cost effectiveness. She does what she is hired to do as a publicity company and she promotes the heck out of the songwriters and bands who she also believes in. Such is the case with this latest music study if you will – the works of Ayron Jones!

When I heard the CD right from the first track I stopped what I was doing and actually sat down and listened to the first three tracks.  I pulled it from the player and set it aside for a day and, knowing I had to make a long drive the next day I did what I love to do - listening to the latest releases XO sends me or at times the CD’s that I have purchased by some of my personal favorites. And by the way my own collection and tastes varies from vintage John Coltrane jazz to Muddy Waters Blues to Adele, Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons and Coldplay and a lot more. Being a working professional guitarist and producer I listen to Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa   and Eric Clapton a lot.  I only mention this part because production values and guitar work when applicable are critical to my tastes. I have listened thoroughly to every guitar line on every record Kaytea and XO have sent me because I gravitate that direction naturally and to the quality of a vocalist of course. I pay attention to lyrics so in order to grab my focus it’s got to meet all of those criteria. And this record by Ayron Jones does just that!

The CD is titled Audio Paint Job and it comes as a complete and all-in beautiful design and artworks rich tri-fold case that is reminiscent of the old days when we had the first round of vinyl where the elaborate art was there to say that inside these paper walls is housed a record you will be talking about for forty years. And they were usually right. To just spend money on fancy artwork and production to show off would make no sense at all if the music wasn’t all it should be.  This record again meets my own personal standards of excellence in every way. The music content, production values and musicianship are some of the highest I have experienced in a number of years and I would like to mention that producer Barrett Martin did a fantastic job helping his artist accomplish their mutual goals of good record making. All who played on or worked around this record from the engineer Catherine Ferrante and mastering which was done by Chris Hanszek, each contributed his or her part as though their lives depended on it or as if it was their own writing and singing at stake.

Ayron’s vocal style varies so much that I had to re-read the credits to see if there were other members of his band who trade off the lead vocal spot. This happens usually because a great singer like Ayron has been around a while and has listened to the best vocalists in the world of music. I couldn’t help but hear a touch of Michael Jackson’s rock voice on the opening track called “Take Me Away “which I am sure was unintentional but when I say someone sounds a little like the King of Pop I mean it in a very sincere way that this singer, Ayron Jones who is definitely a man of his own carries with him the souls of influence of generations. In fact I hear Ayron sing and cannot figure why the world is not pounding on his door. The guitar playing on this record is superbly ever-changing and fresh, innovative though I don’t usually use that word having grown up and stood ten feet in front of Jimi Hendrix at a concert one rainy wet Seattle day at a stadium.  You see, I don’t judge a guitarist on how many licks and riffs, how many thirty-second notes he can fire off. I gauge him on all the comps, the fills and the creative ideas and sounds which he or she will use in the song. Anyone can buy a rack mount sound module and dial up any sound they desire but the trick is to not make it a trick!  Ayron’s guitar playing is interesting and evolving throughout this recording.

There are a total of fourteen songs on this new CD release but I couldn’t possibly review every one though I’ve heard each at least a dozen times and love every single track!  There is though a favorite  which hit me in the gut like a martial arts front kick called “It’s Over When It’s Over “.  A well written sad love-gone-wrong reflection, I almost tear up when I hear the title line against the minor chord progression. Anyone who has loved and lost at love can relate to this theme and Ayron sings his words with the conviction of a master Grammy award winner who has been on the scene for decades.  The music in this song incorporates strings and a looped refrain that will haunt and please, making the listener want to hear it again and again even if they are not feeling the pain.  The next track “Mr. Jones” is a fun one which starts off with some scratch overlays, semi-rapping the words and then building into his frenzied hyper-destructo crazy on fire lead guitar! Song number thirteen “Love Is the Answer “which has powerful lyrics of a broken world, yet this visionary troubadour sings to us a message of hope and peace through a chorus which falls nicely into your head- becoming memorable which after all is the point of writing great songs. This is a record that anyone would be proud to purchase and own for a very long time. I suggest you buy your own copy and watch for an Ayron Jones show in your area. Get him to sign it because he has a big career ahead of him. Audio Paint Job is truly one of the best records I have heard this year and I expect that radio will be warm to Ayron Jones. In conclusion, I can’t wait to see him play these songs in concert!


Bruce Jonn Maier
DGT Founder



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