K.C. Jones – Queen of the In-Between
This 10-cut LP didn’t grab me as quickly as I thought it would. But as the CD spun more songs of substance began to reveal themselves. K.C. Jones , from Lafayette, LA is indeed a fine vocalist with a quirky tone as exceptional as Iris DeMent & Valerie June but wholly in a class of her own.
Now you’d think these types of voices are too strange but not in Ms. Jones’ case. She often emerges with a beautiful ballad voice with lots of traditional air & she adds style. This, her debut solo LP Queen of the In-Between drops June 18 (Free Dirt Recordings).
While the PR exemplifies her roots of Cajun, Creole, Appalachian music strains I heard little of this in the collection in the truest sense. There’s indeed Louisiana roots music but it’s sufficiently mixed, stirred & simmered into a diversified musical jambalaya.
The psych-twang baritone guitar adds a signature sound, the 60s girl group backup sweetens it, the Hammond B3 anchors it, & her one-of-a-kind voice creates all the flavor you need on songs like these. “I Didn’t Mean It,” & “Fall In Line,” are beauties.
K.C. explores complexities, growth, self-awareness, anxiety, relationships, & heartbreak but does it sparingly with tasty arrangements. The added colorization of her musicians & backup singers contributes a bonus. The tunes provide sensitivity, confidence, & Ms. Jones’s genre-bending roots environment brings the tunes to the surface attractively.
Joined by Chris Stafford (pedal steel/guitars/keys/vocals), Trey Boudreaux (bass), Jim Kolacek (drums/percussion) & Joel Savoy (guitars/vocals & producer). The songs never lose any of their rootsy preservation.
“I’ve Got Time,” is arranged & performed with more commerciality in mind. “Holding Out On Me,” is a cool ballad, powerful, & recorded with expertise. By “Bring the House Down,” the uniqueness of K.C.’s voice falls still between quirky & lovely in a Norah Jones-oriented style. This works perfectly for her – she doesn’t sound like Norah – she just follows with warm, plaintive, sincere, good-natured richness.
“Queen of the In-Between,” continues with the Norah Jones tradition & is an easily accessible tune that’s gently dipped into a successful 60s arrangement with guitar & female backup (not credited on the CD so I wonder if it’s just not K.C. Jones’ voice multi-tracked? I doubt the men could’ve added such vocal charm).
“Stop On the Way,” is a sparkler with its early Beatles-type guitar, & the Hammond B3 surrounding it all. Essentially it’s a good pop song & Jones’ tone has grace & power.
Her approach here is even more solid stylistically. Excellent song. Wonderful vocals. There’s nothing to slight here – it ultimately became a delightful listen. K.C. Jones has a worthy showcase & musicians who make her sound significant. The 42-minute CD is available @ Amazon & https://www.kcjonesmusic.com/