Jenna & The Joneses
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Jenna & The Joneses

Band Blues Funk


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The best kept secret in music


"Like region it's helping, band a welcome mix of sounds"

October 28, 2005

There's something very natural-seeming about Jenna & The Joneses performing at a benefit show for New Orleans musicians. The group members incorporate some Latin flavor in their brand of blues, and New Orleans has always been one of the cultural melting pots of United States.

As a major seaport in the 1800s and early 1900s, New Orleans absorbed the music and styles of Latin America and the Caribbean. The rhythms and instrumentation of the lands blended with the African and European influences that already flavored the area. Bits of the mix came out in New Orleans jazz, but the blues, which developed in the rural Mississippi delta, was not so affected.

Yet Jenna Jefferson, vocalist with Jenna & The Joneses, has a simple explanation on how Latin influences crept into her group. "When you have congas in the band, it sort of leans toward Latin anyway," she says.

The group is one of four acts performing in the "Sharin' the Blues" benefit for the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund. The group is raising money to help musicians who lost their equipment and instruments due to Hurricane Katrina get back on their feet. The event will include an auction, and the entire performance is being recorded and is planned for release on CD.

Jenna & The Joneses first came together by way of local singer Sara Jordan, who was backed up by much of what would become The Joneses.

"Then when she died (in 2001), I filled in on some gigs that she had," says Jefferson.

The musicians were all of a like mind.

"We clicked," says Jefferson. "We're older and have the responsibility that comes with being a little older. You learn to put things in perspective. It's good not to take yourselves too seriously."

Bass player Andy Lewis gathered the musicians together to host the blues jams at Coyote Joe's on Clinton Highway, and the events became a catalyst.

"We wanted to have fun with this, and then the music took on a life of its own," says Jefferson.

Lewis has since left the group, which now consists of keyboardist Mark Caldwell, guitarist Chris Smallcomb, bassist Jon Steele, and drummer/percussionists Charles Crisp and Danny Ledford.

Although the group began with the blues, Latin influences quickly crept in.

"Mark loves how Hispanic/Latin music flows," says Jefferson. "And I've always been a big Latin fan."

Jefferson says she calls Knoxville's local music scene "partly cloudy." Although the level of musicianship is extremely high in town, the number of venues offering live music tends to fluctuate.

"If I go out to dinner, I try to choose places with live music," says Jefferson.

And while Jefferson enjoys playing in the clubs, she relishes performing in listening rooms.

"We played at the Little Chicago Blues Festival at the Down Home in Johnson City. We were just one of the bands finishing up, and we had an incredible response from this packed club," she says. "We got a five-minute standing ovation. It's overwhelming to have that appreciation from people who are really digging what you're doing."

Still, the band keeps the same level of enthusiasm playing in clubs in Knoxville.

"Really, it doesn't matter if you're playing to 10 people, five or 5,000," says Jefferson. "We'd play in a closet. Well, it'd be tough to get the band in there, but I could!"

Copyright 2005, KnoxNews. All Rights Reserved. - Knoxvile News Sentinel

"Local band to sing the blues on Memphis' famous Beale Street"

By BRANDY L. MURRAY/Staff Writer

HARROGATE, Tenn. - Jenna and the Joneses, a bluesy jam band with local roots, will head to Memphis this weekend to represent the Smoky Mountain Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge on Beale Street, the self-proclaimed home of the blues and the birthplace of rock and roll.

The band's lead singer, Jenna Jefferson, lives in Harrogate, but is most at home on stage, behind a microphone and congas. At their send off party on Saturday night at Knoxville's house of blues, Sassy Ann's, Jenna and the Joneses played to an ecstatic and packed house. Jenna thanked the fans that gathered there for all their support, between energetic and sweaty sets. With Jenna and the Joneses, there's a little something for everyone: Dancers, loungers, gatherers and spectators.

On the band's web-site, the gratitude keeps on coming, “We are very excited to announce that we will be representing the Smoky Mountain Blues Society at the 23rd annual International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, TN February 1-3! The IBC is the world's largest gathering of blues bands. As you can imagine, it takes a bit of cash to take an entire band to Memphis for 3 days. And, we would not be going if not for the kindness and generosity of our fans. From the bottom of our collective heart, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to those of you who have contributed to our ‘Off to Memphis' fund.”

From the hype surrounding the festival, it wouldn't be out of line to suspect this event to mark the band's “big break” if they find any success there. As Zac Harmon, 2004 IBC winner put it, “Winning the International Blues Challenge is better than having a $100,000 publicity budget.” According to the festival's web-site, “The IBC has evolved into the nation's biggest and most respected showcase for Blues musicians ready to take their act to the national stage. The IBC is a judged ‘Battle of the Bands' in which competitors take the stage and play a short set for a panel of judges.”

Jenna and the Joneses were recently voted “Knoxville's Best Blues Band,” by readers of the weekly rag, Metro Pulse. They are a six-piece band “comprised of veteran performers from the local music scene, (and) their music is as varied as their membership,” says their web-site.

Jenna and the Joneses claim that the recipe for their band's brand of music includes “down-home blues, straight-up funk and Latin jazz.” One thing that undeniably goes into Jenna and the Joneses' every performance is a whole lot of soul. Enough so that the Smoky Mountain Blues Society should be proud of their pick next week as Jenna heats up her congas down on Beale Street.
BRANDY L. MURRAY, Staff Writer for the Daily News can be reached via e-mail at - Middlesboro Daily News

"Blues festival to benefit children with disabilities"

5/24/2006 Michael Gill

Jenna and The Joneses have earned their designation as "Knoxville's Best Blues Band" by working hard and playing in a wide variety of venues in and around Knoxville, such as Knoxville Civic Auditorium (opening for Spencer Davis Group), Knoxville Museum of Art, and the Rose Center in Morristown. Jenna Jefferson is their effervescent and charismatic lead singer and conga player who somehow manages to be admired by the females in the audience even as the men are all falling in love with her. - Blount County Voice


Frequent Radio Play on WETS-FM, Johnson City, TN
Featured Performer on WETS-FM's one hour long program "Studio One": April 29, 2006
Self-Titled EP: released 2003



A "jam band" at heart, the Joneses are not content simply playing the music. They want to feel the music so that you can feel the music too. Each night is a new experience with this versatile and unpredictable group. You never know what you may get and neither do they! But, one thing is for sure; you will enjoy it as much as they enjoy bringing it to you.

The Joneses are proud to be on their 5th year as the house band of "Coyote Joe's" in Knoxville, Tennessee, where they serve as the host of "Bike Nite & Blues Jam". Each Thursday, some of Knoxville's best musicians, as well as some up and comers, join the Joneses to celebrate the blues in all of it's forms.

The Joneses brand of high energy, blues influenced music has earned them the "Best Blues Band 2006" award by Knoxville Metropulse readers as well as an invitation to compete in the 2007 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. At the IBC, the Joneses were a favorite of musicians, club staff, and the general public. During one set, the Joneses original gospel song, "Feelin' Better" brought the club staff out of the kitchen and took them straight to church, hands raised and clappin'. With this, the band considered their visit to Memphis a success!

Jenna & the Joneses has had the pleasure of performing alongside Stacy Mitchart (12/05), The Spencer Davis Group at the Knoxville Coliseum (6/05), and Big Bill Morganfield (12/04). As well as various local blues festivals.

They are especially proud of their commitment to perform at benefit concerts for everything from public radio, to hurricane relief, to breast cancer awareness.