The boy wonder of modern blues has teamed up with the world-renowned producer who birthed the 60s boom. No wonder we’re rubbing our hands with glee at the prospect of Take Me High: a new album that sees Laurence Jones working with Mike ‘Beano’ Vernon. Released on July 22 through Ruf Records, this collaboration has been a long time coming. “Ever since I signed in 2014,” the bandleader tells The Blues, “I’ve wanted Mike to produce my album. I wasn’t going to let anyone stop that. I got his number from somewhere, called him and said, ‘Come on, let’s do this, man. What are we messing about at?’”
As Jones reveals in next issue’s exclusive interview, the clincher came when Vernon watched him play a festival set last summer. By January, the pair had headed into the Headline Music Studio in Cambridge to track an album that captured the energy of a live performance. “Everyone does the copy-and-paste thing now,” says Jones. “And anyone can record in their bedroom and go on GarageBand or Pro Tools or whatever. Y’know, anyone can make a record now. But I don’t think anyone can make an old-school record, the old way, with a proper band and nothing to hide behind.”
Based on our (unmastered) advance copy – look out for a full review in the next issue – the new album features
Jones’ strongest vocals to date, plus a varied lyric sheet that covers everything from the tragic death of a childhood friend (Live It Up) to an observation of an ageing rock star chasing arm-candy (The Price I Pay). “I see that a lot on the road,” he says. “A famous older guy with a very young girlfriend.”
Jones’s searing guitar work, meanwhile, was enough to impress the veteran producer, who has previously worked with everyone from Eric Clapton to Peter Green. “He’s a very, very good player,” Vernon tells us. “This album is
a real smack in the face, when you listen to it. It’s full-on…”
Take Me High is out July 22 on Ruf Records. Laurence Jones’ UK tour starts on November 10 in Brighton.