The Otis Jones Project
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The Otis Jones Project


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"Review: Otis Jones Project's debut just a sample of good things to come"

Daily Sentinel
Thursday, May 08, 2008

All cultures have it, that perfect, visceral, rapturous musical moment when the earth seems to stop moving and the soul soars. Hippies find it beating on a drum around a camp fire; church ladies prefer to sing songs of praise until the spirit moves them. There's really no wrong way to go about it (as long as it's legal).

Chances are, though, if you spend your formative years in Texas, you're going to stumble across it on a humid evening as some blues band's wah-inflected sound loops, double-helix style, through a giddy, sweaty horde that's turned Lone Star into a sacrament and considers Stevie Ray a saint.

The Otis Jones Project really, really wants to be that band.

Their three-song EP, "Screamin' and Cryin'," which was released Tuesday on Blast Records, is a tasty three-meat plate of Texas groove that shoots straight for the hips. This is good-vibe music, pure and simple; no self-conscious, lo-fi, post-punk gimmicks, just a fat foundation of bass and drums topped off with slick riffs.

The band throws a trump card right out of the gate with "Screamin' and Crying'," a Hendrix-tinged tune that lets each member of the trio show off his strengths (particularly guitarist/vocalist Josh McGee, who can play a blazing solo but knows when to rein it in, which is a knowledge of nuance that can be hard to come by). "With It All The Time" gives a quick nod to a more stripped-down, early-'60s sound before it smothers it in fuzz. The rhythm section steals the show on the closer, "Like This," a ready-made encore that exists solely to make girls dance. And there's nothing wrong with that.

The Otis Jones Project hasn't been around long, but its members have meshed together seamlessly. Drummer Wil Willoughby and McGee met when they were doing studio work for country/rock artist Rocky Tippit and decided they wanted to veer away from the country and move more toward the rock. The pair added Jim Hogle on bass and, a few short months later, they're signed, recorded and ready to roll.

The only complaint about this EP is its brevity, but it works as an appetizer. This is not music that was meant to be listened to through iPod earbuds; buy "Screamin' and Cryin'" to get a taste, and then try to catch a live show. Summer isn't far off, which means hot, sticky blues season is just around the corner.
- Kendal Rogers

"Spirit of Jimi Hendrix channeled, not duplicated, by Texas band"

The Guardian
Friday, May 23, 2008

Editor's note: This column critiques music on a scale of one to five checks: Five is best, one is worst.

There's a three-piece band out of East Texas that call themselves The Otis Jones Project. They released a CD called “Screamin' and Cryin'” (Blast Records) May 6 and sent it to me for a review. I put it in my CD player and thought someone made a mistake -- this had to be a lost Jimi Hendrix track that someone dug up and mistakenly mixed down onto this CD.

But no, there was no mistake. What I heard was the voice of Josh McGee, who was not imitating Hendrix -- he happens to sound like that naturally.

McGee also plays a mean blues/rock guitar. The inflections and tones he creates on his fret board are creative and rich. The notes seem to drip with blues, but it's that rock edge that carries them into a listener's memory.

McGee met drummer Wil Wiloughby in 2007 when they were asked to help with a project for an independent record label. They became friends while working with country/rock artist Rocky Tippet in the studio and on tour. They decided to start their own band so they could play more rock, which is when bassist Jim Hogle was found and added to the line up.

McGee said the band's inspirations are many and varied, but the bottom line is that they want their audiences to enjoy the music and have a great show experience.

“We are doing this for people who just want to have a good time. Our music is a creative mixture of influences that range from the Jimi Hendrix Experience and James Brown to The Talking Heads and Stone Temple Pilots, said McGee.

“We love the kind of music that makes people move and really gets them jumping -- the kind of music where an artist's soul is on display and everybody in the room can dig it. That's what we strive to create for fans.”

In the song “Like This,” each musician shows off a little of their talent, of which they have plenty. It begins with controlled feedback, then adds layers of funky bass lines and glittery cymbal tapping before pouring on the electric rock/blues guitar groove.

Hogle, a veritable fountain of bass licks, adds more flavor to the song than a bottle of Texas barbecue sauce -- tasty!

As the drums pop and punctuate verses, McGee's rocked-out blues vocals begin crooning:

“I don't need no woman to be my friend/Just stick around, we'll be alright in the end.”

A hat tip to some of the sounds of the 60s is manifested in the song “With It All the Time.”

The guitar uses dreamy effects and combines them with a surfer beat. It's the psychedelic 60s meets Beach Blanket Bingo.

With Hogle's excellent bass riffs and Willoughby's solid timing, the song has a strong platform from which McGee launches his rock-powered blues missiles.

In the title track, “Screamin' and Cryin',” McGee's Hendrix-like vocals may be what draws the listener, but the genuine artistry of the song, from its construction to the delivery, is what make it stand apart.

There is no lag time in this song. It rocks straight through with short-lived dramatic pauses that add punch to the melody. McGee's wah effect on his guitar may encourage more Hendrix comparisons, but the music that results is not a copycat number.

This is an all-original song, well written and deftly played, and could be the first radio single for the band.

By the end of the CD, it becomes apparent that these rock/blues gentlemen are experts at their craft and deserve every bit of their newfound recognition and growing fan base.

You have two chances to see The Otis Jones Project perform in their hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas in June. They play the Stonefort St. Jude's benefit show June 7 and the East Texas Motorcycle Enthusiasts ninth annual Blues Fest June 28.

You can get complete show information and find out more about the band at
- Jean Dubiel

"CD Review: The Otis Jones Project – Screamin’ and Cryin’"

Lit Monthly
June 08 Issue

Boogie-rock, funky-blues, jazzy-jam – call it what you will, but it always translates to a good time. The Otis Jones Project’s 3-song EP delivers on all fronts while showing the promise of a huge future. Bassist Jim Hogle runs through trippy bass lines that James Brown would be happy to shake ‘n’ slide to. Wil Willoughby works the drums as if he were three different people, hitting that blues/rock snare on the title track, laying low with the cymbals during “With It All The Time,” or jazzing up the funk on “Like This.” Josh McGee handles the vocals and guitar with that vibe that made Stevie Ray Vaughn so special. The tone is sweet while his plucks and strums are perfectly executed and always tightly woven into all three tracks. While his vocals sound a tiny bit weak in a couple spots on the second track, he proves otherwise on the iPod-musts “Screamin’ and Cryin’” and “Like This.” This EP scores perfect – 3 for 3. Pick it up asap and visit (MB)
- Mark Beneventi


Screamin' and Cryin' EP - Blast Records 2008



You know that feeling you get when you’re listening to a great song for the first time, one that has a ridiculously catchy guitar riff, buttery fat bass, and drums so solid you could build a house on them? You’re listening, having a good time, really digging it; every lick and hook is a pleasant surprise. The notes just keep building until they reach an exhilarating crescendo when, suddenly, there is a slight pause. Everything stops for a second, as if to let you catch your breath, and your mind feels like it might be floating just a little. It’s like that first hill on a roller coaster, that little break before the big drop. You hear a slight hint of feedback building in the background, almost a whisper, the kind of noise that wakes you from a dream. The next thing you know, everything comes crashing back down to earth with the slam of the drums and the screech of an electric guitar, as a tingle passes through your entire body, and the hair on the back of your neck stands up. The Otis Jones Project specializes in creating that feeling.

The Otis Jones Project is a groovy rock trio from Nacogdoches, Texas formed by Josh McGee(guitar/vocals), Wil Willoughby(drums), and Jim Hogle(bass) in late 2007. McGee and Willoughby met while working together as hired studio musicians for a Country/Rock project and became good friends. It was there that the two decided to create their own group with a more rock influenced, groovy electric sound, in the tradition of the legendary bands of the late 1960's and early 1970's, but with a new, more modern flavor added to the mix; “I think of our sound as being somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and The Strokes,” says Josh McGee. Jim Hogle, a long time friend and former band mate of Willoughby’s, was invited to play bass on the new project and, after only a few jam sessions, there were no questions about whether or not the three should pursue a serious project together. Their debut recording, “The Screamin’ and Cryin’ EP”, was released May 6, 2008 on the band's independent label, BLAST Records, and has since been receiving radio play and very positive press reviews in Texas and Louisiana. Currently, the band is enjoying an ever growing fan base and increasing support from their peers in the industry, thanks in large part to their high energy live shows, and their easy-going, down to earth personalities. Josh McGee says of the band, "We created this project out of the need to express ourselves. We play what we feel and we want to share it with our audience. To us nothing compares to playing live; The crowd and the band feed off of each other and when everyone at a show gets so wrapped up in the music that, for a little while, nothing else matters outside of that room, that’s something special. When everyone in the place has the hair on the back of their neck stand up and they get that good tingly feeling all over, we’ve done our job.”

For more info on the band visit