The 'Scapes
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The 'Scapes

Johnson City, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Johnson City, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Local Singer Songwriter to Release Album, Play Down Home"

On Thursday, local singer-songwriter Ben Jones will be releasing his new rock album “Viewfinder” with a performance at Down Home. Jones, a veteran of the local music scene with the acoustic band Uncle Boogie, returns to the stage with a rock sound and new backing band.
“The focus of the new music is still on strong song writing and melody, in fact, many of these songs could also work in a folkier setting,” Jones said. “However, the tracks on the album utilize electric guitars, drums and bass to add more sonic depth to the music.”
“Viewfinder,” which contains 11 original songs, was a collaborative effort between Jones and former Blue Cheese front man Charlie Scalf.
“Charlie was crucial in making this record sound like it needed to sound. I had heard some of the music he had recorded at his studio, the Digital Dump, and knew we could make a quality rock record,” Jones said.
The record shows the wide range of influences in Jones’ repertoire. From the guitar-driven rockers, to the country-tinged songs to the always-interesting lyrics, it is not always easy to put labels on what he does. But that is what makes him worth seeing.
His music is as diverse as the changing seasons in this Southern mountain town that raised him.
The show will start at 9 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $6.
More information can be found at or
- the Johnson City Press

"Loafer Q & A with Ben Jones"

by Michael Clark

Thursday, March 16, local musician Ben Jones will return to the Down Home for the first time since last June, when he released his first solo Americana rock album, Viewfinder.

Since that time Jones has been touring in support of the record at folk and rock venues all over the region from West Virginia down to South Carolina. Also, Jones has been receiving airplay on some great regional radio stations such as WNCW in North Carolina, WDVX in Knoxville, and WETS here in the Tri-Cities.

“The response from the out-of-town audiences has been remarkable, especially since some of the shows I have played without the band. It is encouraging to think that perhaps some of these songs stand on their own as good songs regardless of whether they are being rocked out or stripped down,” Jones says.

“The Band” has come to be known as “The Experience” and includes local musicians Nathan Emmert on bass guitar and Chris Vittetoe on drums.
“I really enjoy the shows with The Experience,” says Jones. “It allows me to let loose a little more on electric guitar and have more fun letting the songs breathe a little. Those guys are fun to play with and it helps that they are great musicians.”

Another high compliment to Viewfinder came from the great North Carolina Piedmont blues musician Jon Shain, a great songwriter and longtime hero of Jones.
“He said the record sounds like an ambitious mix of Son Volt and Ray Davies of the Kinks.”
Not bad company to be compared to.

The show starts at 9 p.m. at Down Home, 300 W. Main St. Johnson City. Also, the band will be doing a live radio spot on 89.5 WETS FM at 3 p.m. the same day.
For more info, visit

We talked to Ben - via e-mail - last week, and here’s our little Q & A:

LOAFER: Ok, so you’re from East Tennessee - so what’s this thing about Oregon?

BEN JONES: The pacific NW has always held this draw for me. I’ve spent a little bit of time out there and it is just an amazing place and the people are good. However, the references to Oregon in the songs are more figurative. In the song “Oregon”, Oregon is a metaphor for this unreachable place where a breaking up couple is planning to reunite. It works when played on the East Coast because Oregon is so far away from here. If I were to play that song in southern Washington state, it wouldn’t work as well. It would be like playing a song called, “Rogersville” here. The song “Oregon Trail” is more about the road and traveling and references the computer game of the same name we used to play in middle school.

LOAFER: There’s mention of Scott Miller, Son Volt, Dave Matthews in your press info regarding influences, and I hear a lot of Michael Stipe, Rick Danko, Neil Young - I guess we all use reference points based on our own experiences. Who do you feel most influences what you do; and if you had to describe this hot new record by Ben Jones, who would you use to describe it to a friend?

BEN JONES: To me the words are the thing. Musically, I’m OK that I’m a mix of influences. The Son Volt comparisons have come from many independent sources, and I wouldn’t disagree with them. Lyrically, Vic Chesnutt has been an influence in that oftentimes, he comes out of left field with a line you couldn’t predict. One of my main objectives is to get listeners to wake up and really think about what they are doing with their lives and what’s really important. I am constantly self analyzing and seeing my own insignificance in the grand scheme.

LOAFER: It’s hard to get an organic sound on a record where the artist plays most of the instruments; too many overdubs are required that tends to polish the product. How did you accomplish it?

BEN JONES: Two words. Charlie Scalf. He owns the Digital Dump Recording Studio in Boone’s Creek. I bought his record “The Way The World Works” on a whim one day at Dad’s CDs. For a local recording, I thought the drums sounded amazing. I had made a record with a group called Uncle Boogie a couple of years back. We recorded in Blowing Rock NC and the drums were lacking in quality. I felt that was what made a difference in the overall quality of the record. Charlie was into what I was doing when I first started recording. I was a singer/songwriter wanting to make a rock record. Charlie has been doing rock for a long time.

LOAFER: Independent promotion of an independent record is very difficult, but - thanks to the net - not impossible. What internet tools - mySpace, CDBaby, etc. - have worked best for you, and what sites haven’t?

BEN JONES: It’s been a learning process that I feel I am still scratching the surface of. I am not independent by choice. I just made a record I needed to make and because of the good feedback I’m getting, I’m looking to get some professional help. Wait... that didn’t come out right.
I have a website that has been good for the people that know I’m there. CDbaby is such an excellent site. The other day I sold a CD in the Netherlands through CDbaby. MySpace is again, good for people that know you are there. For all the stuff you personally have to do to ship your stuff on Amazon, you may as well draw a paycheck from them.

LOAFER: How has the reaction to your music been on your tours - especially the ones far-flung from the Tri-Cities?

BEN JONES: Really good. Surprisingly good. One time I was camping at Table Rock in NC and I played for some friends until all hours of the night. About 3 in the morning this guy walked out of the woods and said, “You play really well, but it’s really late and I can’t sleep.” The next day we were rock climbing and I heard at least four different people talking about this guy that kept them up all night, but they all were admitting to their friends that he was really good. So, it has been that kind of reaction at the different venues. Even if it’s a coffee shop and I’m interrupting their game of chess, they usually admit they like it.

LOAFER: How much has growing up in this region affected your music - do you feel related to the music heritage, or does it matter to you in the grand scheme of things?

BEN JONES: It has been a huge influence on me personally and musically. My old band with Sam Quinn of the everybodyfields was a group that could’ve been called bluegrass if we had been better musicians. I played banjo some in that group and we certainly did some Appalachian style vocal harmonies. I also think there is a lack of pretentiousness in this region. If nothing else, I hope people can see my music as honest and real. I think the southern Appalachian comes through naturally. I don’t want to write about plowing with a mule if I’ve never done it. Some people are really good at writing through the eyes of other people. I am not one of them.

LOAFER: What’s next for Ben Jones with spring and summer approaching - tours, recording, etc.?

BEN JONES: Yeah, touring will be a priority. I’ve sort of slowed down since winter, but I think I’ll be playing much more locally this summer with my band. I’ve got four songs I am planning to base the next record on. I have recorded three of those in very basic forms already. One of them is available for listening on the website ( entitled, “The Sound a Cello Makes.”
The other two new songs should be on there soon. I’m really looking forward to getting something new out.
- the Loafer Entertainment Magazine

"Ben Jones to Play Dilworth Playhouse"

"Tennessee songwriter Ben Jones channels Son Volt and adds a rugged vocal style" - the Charlotte Observer


Ben Jones, Viewfinder LP (2005)
The 'Scapes,Refrigerator Magnets LP (2007)



The 'Scapes are an Americana rock band from the quaint, yet musically fertile hills of East Tennessee.

Formed in late 2006, The 'Scapes feature the songwriting of singer Ben Jones, who had already been gaining regional attention for his 2005 solo release, Viewfinder, an album of songs about searching for meaning as a twentysomething in post modern America. The sound of that record has been described as a "pleasant cross between Son Volt and Ray Davies of the Kinks" by respected North Carolina folk blues musician Jon Shain.

The 'Scapes represent a further development of that sound due to the presence of a classically trained pianist and an electric guitar virtuoso who has no preconceived notion of what Americana music "should" sound like.

The band released a new record, Refrigerator Magnets, summer of 2007. This release features thought provoking songs such as What America Sold, which deals with unwittingly buying in to the American dream, and Now, which urges the listener to wake up to his surroundings, as well as less serious rockers like The Days When You Were Mine, a taunting open letter to an ex-girlfriend.

The musical background of each member contributes to the deceptively eclectic sound of The 'Scapes. Ben played banjo in the bluegrass influenced group Uncle Boogie, which also included Sam Quinn of The Everybodyfields. Amy Gugliotta, an incredible piano and accordion player has a masters in degree in music performance, and even performed at Carnegie Hall in New York accompanying a choir there. Brandon Queen has played guitar in Ska and Rock bands in the past. Andrew Gibbens plays drums with an expressive, conversationaly approach and has added his talents to recordings by artists such as Listener. All four member sing, adding the element of vocal harmony to the sound when called for.

Following 2 years of regular performing in some of the South's finer venues in Atlanta, Charlotte, Johnson City, Asheville, and Knoxville, the group went on a hiatus as Ben and Amy moved to California. They have returned to East Tennessee to resume their pursuit of what great songs, solid musicianship, and dedication to one's first love can do for roots/Americana music.

The 'Scapes are a group first and foremost, proving time and again the idea that the whole is better than the sum of its parts. The 'Scapes share a love for each other and a respect for each other's musical input. Considering everyone's pedigree, that usually isn't a difficult task.

If you like your music with depth and honesty, listen with care.