Ian Jones – The Evergreens EP
Well, it’s nice to know some singer-songwriters in 2021 still fall into that poignant category of Steve Goodman, Townes van Zandt, David Blue & Eric Andersen. Seattle’s Ian Jones (acoustic guitar) carries that bright torch with wonderful vocal clarity & story songs that are well-constructed.
The Evergreens (Drops Oct 22–Thin Silver Records) 6-cut EP is a collection of primarily acoustically based songs with little showboating & all skill. It’s homegrown lyrically with woven tales & tight melodies.
The title track “Evergreens,” is somewhat reminiscent of John Denver, Danny O’Keefe, Dan Fogelberg & singer-songwriters who explore leaving home & missing your familiar surroundings. This possesses good slide guitar by producer Jesse Siebenberg (who also adds drums/bass/organ/piano/keys/electric guitar/pedal & lap steel guitars/12-string acoustic guitar/harmonium/ electric baritone guitar/BGV/ percussion).
A more poetic personal narrative comes on “Born Again Sinner,” based on a true inspiration from a girl who had been posting about her battle with alcohol, religious beliefs & bad luck & lamented that she was just a “born again sinner.” Heavy stuff for a singer-songwriter but Jones does an admirable job.
His song-cycle dips into politics & politicians (“Liars, Criminals, Beggars & Thieves”) a song that is way too reminiscent melody-wise of a Dylan early classic in the intro moments. Ian admits politics is a nasty career choice & the similarities between the Dylan song can be forgiven if you can appreciate the quality of the tune Ian crafted. It’s well sung & performed, is eerily satisfying though the Dylan flavor ran through it pretty potently. It’s a good song. Perhaps that’s what Mr. Jones (no pun intended) intended.
Ian Jones also reflects (“Hallelujah”) on how fortunate he was to be in his own kitchen cooking when others weren’t as fortunate. Another unique songwriter subject considering how many write about issues, complaints, & never offer solutions. It’s not as powerful as Leonard Cohen’s song of the same title, but Ian’s has its own vital richness. Likable for sure.
The best Jones vocal comes on “Promised Land,” which has a cool country cruise on pedal steel guitar & the melody has a faithful intimate perspective. Even if the country singers ignore this tune the popular Christian singers should cover it. “Last Call,” rolls in with the short rocking propulsion of a Billy Swan. The song is average otherwise but it’s a nice, promising closer to a fine EP with a brief fiery harmonica & Jones proving he could let loose if needed.
Among players: Aaron Embry & Dave Palmer (pianos), & Tom Ball (harmonica). Photo courtesy: Justin Dylan Renney. The 22-minute CD is available @ https://www.ianjonesmusic.com/