CJ Jones & The Spirit Bones
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CJ Jones & The Spirit Bones

Atlanta, GA | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Atlanta, GA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
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"The Best Kind of Hangover Music"

If the Coen Brothers wrote music instead of screenplays, this Odyssey would be the result.
“The Odyssey of Cledus Jeremiah Jones” is the garage-band music your brother played, only well written and well mixed. It’s polished, but it doesn’t lose the gritty and funk.
In this collection, all the Coen characteristics are there — from horror (snakes killing wives!) to mystery (where did that Mexican stash get stashed?) to adventure chasing off religious (“That’s good as all.”).
From old spiritual, to new blues, to prime Prine, you’re gonna travel. This music feels so comfortable, if you’re not too easily distracted by waltzing across so many genres.
It’s dirty. It’s sweaty summer. It’s the best kind of hangover, on a Sunday morning when you resent being dragged to church or told what to do. It’s beer-stained t-shirt to flannel to overalls easy without hard edges.
It’s funny. It’s familiar. You will dance. Precious harmony, jazzy-licky and skillful short riffs take you floating on the river, or chanting in a tent revival.
The sultry first chords of Eagle’s Nest Blues are trippy, but pay attention to the lyrics. Cledus gives us an existential journey, right out of Jefferson Airplane classics, except the chords are better marked. Those blues are followed by “I Got No One.” Ballad of sadness? Nah. In fact, none of the slower, sad tunes from Cledus takes you to a dark side. Rather, we’re transported with a big, fat grin — sultry to back-ass country — emerging with our brothers, who have giggled and guffawed their way through this entire endeavor. By gummy, they had good time making this music.
This band of brothers goes back a-ways. These “children,” if you buy into the premise of a generation keeping Cledus’ parables alive, have a shared voice. We hear their influences: Clapton, Doors, Grateful Dead (the Dead get a nod in “Jesus is Coming”) and old-time. Definitely hitting a comfort zone on the bluesy parts. This music isn’t rushed, and the players aren’t taking themselves too seriously. But you memorize the infectious lyrics as they sway, change, and bring us home in and around mandolin, banjo, guitar, percussion, and a perfectly placed kazoo — what a rare treat that is.
A hands-down favorite? “Jack the Sniffer.” Once you hear it, you’ll understand why lacy panties are fast becoming an unlikely souvenir from Cledus and his children.
C.J. and the Spirit Bones are definitely channeling something, like crazy days that never end in a stream of consciousness haze.
Yeah, they got this. You need to get it, too.

Anne Witschey Adams

The Recorder, Editor (http://www.therecorderonline.com)
Virginia Communications Hall of Fame, Member
President Elect of the Virginia Press Association - Anne Witschey Adams


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

When he’s not teaching Anatomy and Neuroscience at Emory Medical University, Professor Ted Pettus morphs into second self, Cledus Jeremiah Jones, an Appalachian storyteller/songwriter of Pettus’ own creation. The concept album, The Odyssey of Cledus Jeremiah Jones introduces Cledus as a hillbilly prophet passing down verses of spiritual wisdom and insight, the Gospel of Cledus. The legend tells that he was touched by the holy spirits of the Appalachian foothills. Struck by inspiration, his worship was ablaze with holy spirits, clarity, and Appalachian white lightning. His followers were captivated by his pronouncements of spirituality (“It ain’t religion if it ain’t got snakes”) and spirits (“Smoke away my memory, drink away my pain”). The band, CJ Jones and the Spirit Bones keep the tradition alive retelling his stories in song. According to prominent author and Political Scientist, Professor Alan Abramowitz, their original songs “sound like Commander Cody, Mojo Nixon and Hunter S. Thompson had a three-way love child with intellectual edge.”

Ted Pettus has no formal musical training outside of staring at the stage at grateful dead shows and trying to clog every year at the Galax County Fiddlers convention. At age 18 he learned harmonica so he could play with bands without having to go to practice sessions. In his mid-30’s, with the help of friends, a computer program, and a few lessons, he picked up guitar and started writing songs as soon as he learned his 2nd chord. Now, Pettus takes the stage as the front man for CJ jones & the spirit bones. He is an engaging performer with a contagious energy that gets the audience up and grooving. CJ Jones and the Spirit Bones has been  performing throughout North Georgia and Metro Atlanta at venues such as, Universal Joint, Clermont Lounge, Red Light Café, The Earl, Inman Park Festival and Lake Claire Land Trust, among other venues.

Frequenting the live music scene in North Georgia, Pettus found several brilliant musicians put meat on the Spirit Bones:

  • Bobby Andre, drummer, has played in jazz, blues, rock, pop and country bands. He has recorded with several bands including Glenn Phillips and has toured with Billy Joe Royal, Glenn Phillips and Aviva and the Flying Penguins among others.
  • Alan Dynin, keyboards, has performed concerts for the Jazz and World Music Association, the Atlanta Symphony Associates, and many other house concert series. He is one of the more diverse pianists in the Southeast, playing and composing in jazz, Latin, blues and boogie, ragtime, concert classical, gospel, free improvisational, and now… Funkabilly.
  • Craig Rafuse, singer/guitarist, has been performing songs with social significance in 1963 while also playing in dance bands. In addition to the Spirit Bones, he currently appears with Expand Band, Owls and Kahootz.
  • Andy Weiskoff, bassist, has played in rock, blues, and contra bands. His musical epiphany came one day at a traffic light while listening to a Baroque string quartet, when a car playing hip-hop pulled up beside him, and the two musical selections merged seamlessly!

Band Members