Jay Clark and the Jones
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Jay Clark and the Jones

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Scene Magazine Review, London, Ontario.
Category: Music
Jay Clark and the Jones
Blue Cholera.
(Death of Cash)

Toronto's Jay Clark and the Jones made the two-hour trip to London to record their third CD under the roof of Andy Magoffin and the result was another gem of a recording from the House of Miracles. Whether it was the countless cases of Labatt Blue or the karmic influences of that house on Wellington, the results are pretty darn fine, with one great rootsy track after another. Not a weak song in the bunch and some truly outstanding ones starting with River Street Bridge which sounds like Tom Petty being backed by the Band. Other favourites include Distance Love with its heartbreaking backing vocals and Don't Wanna Leave It a lurching honky tonk waltz. Great tunes, great playing and a great vibe.- Dave Clarke.

Performance- A, Production- A

- Scene Magazine, London Ontario


Jay Clark And The Jones
Blue Cholera (Death of Cash)
CARLA GILLIS
Toronto’s Jay Clark and the Jones have kicked around for a decade, and there’s a heaviness about the songs on their third full-length that seems to show it. Jay Clark Reid and Ian Philp take turns singing lead. The Philp-sung tunes are breathy and gritty, Clark Reid’s friendlier and lighter, with a casual Jim Cuddy/Tom Petty vibe, but both at times sound defeated. “Never played Massey Hall,” Clark Reid croons on Company.

Recorded at London’s House of Miracles, Blue Cholera takes few musical chances and drags in the middle. But bookending the nine-song disc are the two best songs, Last To Know and Sevens, on which a trumpet, handclaps and guest vocals by Pamela Brennan make appearances.

Top track: Last To Know - Now Magazine, Toronto.


Jay Clark and the Jones - Blue Cholera (Death of Cash)

Soul singer Ray Charles once described his roots as “what he’d dug up from his childhood, musical roots buried in the deepest soil.” This mantra can be applied to Toronto’s Jay Clark and the Jones, who stay faithful to their roots on their third full-length album Blue Cholera. The album is an earthy combination of North American folk rock legends Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Gordon Lightfoot.

Yet Jay Clark and the Jones are no throwback band, pandering to the over-sixty demographic with kitsch redressings of classic sounds. Nor are they a nostalgia outfit, unashamedly gnawing at the corpses of their predecessors (does anyone remember The Darkness?). Rather, this nine-song collection is a wonderful conflation of past and present—an album both faithful to its influences and relevant to the present day, an amalgam which often fails similar projects. Here the combination is tasteful, attractive, and ultimately pleasing.

The album’s best tracks are, without a doubt, the spirited opener “Last to Know” and its successor “Don’t Wanna Leave It.” While this pair constitutes the most upbeat part of the album, fans will want to listen on for the wistful moments that come later. The slow, pensive atmosphere of “Ghosts” and “Neighbours” evoke the quiet seclusion of a Sunday afternoon, or the tortuous placation that accompanies a bad breakup.

In the end, Blue Cholera is an exceptional project that reaches out to roots lovers and contemporary indie-pop fans alike. Anyone inclined towards either of these sounds should give this one a spin. - The Varsity, University of Toronto.


It’s no secret that roots music has picked up steam in the last few years. Repetitive synths have given way to long bended steel notes and spot on harmonies, but as is often the case when a genre becomes the flavor of the month, the sincerity and purity is usually lost. Too many people trying to claim the talent of Van Zandt, The Band or Willie as their musical Rosetta Stone and now we are being force fed the autumn browns and oranges through a musical fire hose.

Jay Clark and the Jones on the other hand, probably grew up listening to Petty, Lightfoot and CCR and just never stopped. It’s been 5 years since they last hit the studio and they are probably as shocked as anyone to find that pop laced roots records they love are now more popular than rip rock and pop punk. That dedication and love of roots music is evident to anyone who listens to Blue Cholera. The songs display a maturity that gives the band credibility and shows the band understands and appreciates the elements needed to pay tribute to the acts that came before them – like the subtle nod to Sloop John B on Anastasia. They don’t try to force sepia toned organs or twang-y lap steel in where it doesn’t belong and never try to crowd the honest emotions Clark Reid presents.

No, instead of countless harmonies and muddled textures the band (with help from Andy Magoffin) pulls back the layers nicely – like when the ivories float off into the distance on River Street Bridge - and let Blue Cholera float by on an airy breeze, even when the hurt hits the hardest. It’s become cliché to talk about back porch jam sessions and friends jamming to the sounds they love, but on rollicking numbers like Distance Love that’s exactly the vibe they give off. That free form style lets them playfully add horns on Last To Know or toss in a little reggae-tinged upstrum on Company without losing the integrity of their sound.

There are some hiccups – the beginning of Distance Love and parts of Anastasia drag a bit – but at the end of the day that almost works out better. Jay Clark and the Jones play songs that sound like your past and if they were too perfect, they’d seem out of place. But when they all come together – like when the harmonies, hand claps and fiddle lift the terrific closer, Sevens - you wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything in the world. - Herohill.com


Two earlier efforts from these Toronto, ON-based roots rockers (Grenville County Blues and Home Fires Burning) scored national CBC and campus play, and Blue Cholera deserves equal exposure. The presence of two singers/songwriters/guitarists in the group (Jay Clark Reid and Ian Philp) is a clear strength, while such able accompanists as drummer Sean Dignan (Suckerpunch), bassist Bobby Spencer, keyboardist Jack Breakfast and multi-instrumentalist Andy Magoffin make strong contributions. Magoffin co-produced and recorded this at his renowned House of Miracles studio, with predictably fine results. Blue Rodeo are an undeniable reference/comparison point on songs like "Anastasia" and full-blooded closing track "Sevens," and there is a similarly strong and accessible melodic sense at work throughout the band. The album's somewhat dark title refers, in Reid's words, to "the end of the working class and simpler times." His group's social commentary is certainly timely, as in the references to Research in Motion and the "let's hang those zombies on Wall Street" line in "Neighbours," but there is nothing bleak or depressing about their sound. This is a solid achievement. - Exclaim


Discography

2000- Who Shot Jay Clark and the Jones (EP)
2002- Grenville County Blues
2004- Home Fires Burning
2009- Blue Cholera

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Bio

Jay Clark and the Jones is a five-piece independent band from Toronto. Their music is true North American music and stands four square in a line from the Byrds through Bruce Springsteen; Otis Redding to Tom Petty, Lightfoot, Dylan and beyond. It conjures the Ventura and Trans-Canada Highways, convertibles and the wide-open spaces at the Heartland of the continent in equal measure.

Led by songwriters/guitarists Jay Clark Reid and Ian Philp, with Sean Dignan on drums (Dodge Fiasco, Suckerpunch), Chris Staig on bass (Taxi Chain) and indie composer/multi instrumentalist Jack Breakfast (piano, organ), they have been weaving stories of life, love and loss for nearly a decade.

Jay Clark and the Jones new and third disc Blue Cholera (February 17, 2009 release), an album exploring themes of faith, social breakdown and gentrification, was recorded by musician/producer Andy Magoffin at The House of Miracles studio in London, Ontario (Two Minute Miracles, The Hidden Cameras, The Constantines and Jim Guthrie).

Jay Clark and the Jones have previously released two full-length albums; Grenville County Blues (2002) and Home Fires Burning (2004). Both recordings received play on CBC, commercial and college radio in Canada and Home Fires Burning charted nation wide and was featured as #37 in the top 50 albums of 2004 at CKCU FM, Ottawa.

In 2002, Jay Clark and the Jones played the ‘Math Band’ in the CanStage production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof, directed by Martha Henry (a fan), and in 2003, they appeared on the Food Network as special guests of the Manic Organic Antony John.

The band has shared the stage with such acts as Chris Hillman of the Flying Burrito Bros, Elliott Brood, Justin Rutledge, The Chickens, Pearlene, Loomer, Jim Bryson, Southside Johnny and the Jukes, Greenfield Main, Wayne Omaha and the Sunparlour Players.

Jay (originally from Kinston, Ontario) hosted one of Toronto's premiere songwriter nights: The Open Wound at Mitzi's Sister in the Parkdale area (2000-2002), and now programs music for the annual Sorauren Park Festival and the Local Pub on Roncesvalles Avenue in the city’s west-end.

Ian Philp moved to Toronto from Sarnia, Ontario in 1997 and with pal Martin Lees, Ian formed the seminal garage rock band The Johns, releasing two albums to critical acclaim. Philp then met Reid and his compositions proved so strong, they were included in all of Jay Clark and the Jones releases.

“Take a dollop of folk, add a spoonful of amplifier, soak in whiskey and you've got the swagger and good rock sense of these alt country darlings.” – Vitamindaily.com.

“Jay Clark Reid testifies with raw, passionate and world-weary lyrics and vocals... He conjures up a whole landscape and lifestyle in the space of a verse...A fine album. 8/10” – Americana U.K.

“Jay Clark and the Jones are contenders... the songwriting of Reid and Philp has matured with both having become adept at writing convincing tear-jerkers.” – Exclaim.

“Jay Clark Reid emotes great passion.” – Birdmansound.com.

“Echoes of Grievous Angels, Blue Rodeo and Andrew Cash. Reid paints compelling portraits of the continent’s rugged terrain and the effect on the people who experience it.” – Exclaim.