In front of the music: listen to Laurie Jones’ “Dark Horse” while turning up the volume
Singer-songwriter Laurie Jones, born in Lubec and currently based in Saco, released one hell of an album on October 22. “Dark Horse”, his seventh, includes nine rock solid tracks.
âThat Summerâ starts things off on a bright note as she sings the proverbial golden days of summer youth with the car radio screaming. While there is also angst in the lyrics, the song mentions Talking Heads and nods to Stevie Nicks with the line “Ride the edge of 17, that summer I wear your jeans out”.
“Light Side” is a rock tune of 1000 watts in which she somehow manages to slip the word “supercalifragilist”. âCome on now and put on your favorite records,â Jones invites, the voice flaming.
“Dazed” is a slower, bittersweet account of a relationship that has gone through rough times. âIt had to be, it would make people believe. That’s all I need, a glimpse of your face leaves me dizzy, âsings Jones.
The rest of the album shines with Jones’ powerful yet gorgeous vocals on songs like “Good Man” and, most importantly, “No Hell”. As soon as you get to the end of the nearest “Dark Horse”, “Letting Go”, you’ll find yourself throwing everything back for another round. This album wants volume, so be sure to crank it up just rather than putting it in the background. Trust me on this.
The name of the album didn’t come to Jones until she was done making it and recalled a dream of a dark horse who had followed her home and comforted her. She told others who worked on the album.
âWe talked about it for a long time and the impact it had on my writing,â she said. The horse imagery came to light again while Jones was writing the song “Good Man”. It also reminded me of his late father, who was a fan of the black horse analogy. âThis record is a dark horse, I’m a dark horse, an unexpected underdog, a fighter, a winner and an unlikely contender who just might knock you out,â Jones explained.
Jones said âGood Manâ was close to his heart because it’s the song that changes the tone of the album. âIt’s sweet and it gets right to the point. It’s a warning that things are going to get complicated, âJones said. âRunning away from your little lies. The truth could hurt you and me too, âJones says in the song. And this is indeed the mess where the album goes next with “No Hell”, another remarkable track that is moody and daring.
“Dark Horse” ends with “Letting Go”, which made Jones cry when she recorded the vocals. âThis whole experience has been like a long therapy session, and getting to this level, with the team I have, has taken a lot of confidence in me,â said Jones, who hopes listeners can sense the vulnerability. and the rawness of his songs. For my part, certainly.
Jones told me that her songwriting process varies, but because “Dark Horse” was primarily written during the pandemic during the worst of what she called the “stay put” period, Jones went on. often woke up with melodies in my head.
âMy writing time was 4:40 am consistently. I heard a melody, then words, and I would get up and write it down. Sometimes she would pick up her guitar before dawn to work on chord models. âEither way, it’s essential that I get my recording device out, because I’m so afraid of losing the melody or the lines.
Jones has been singing for as long as she can remember. She started playing electric guitar at the age of 9 and took lessons from Down East guitar legend Harvey Cox. Songwriting came later when she performed in a rock band as a teenager. “I felt I could write better songs than I heard on commercial pop radio and what all of my male mates were asking me to play.” During these years, Jones turned more to artists like David Bowie and Joan Jett. âI didn’t want to play Lynyrd Skynyrd!
Jones said she is really proud of “Dark Horse” and hopes people get along and see each other in the songs and that it takes a heavy burden. âLife is beautiful and messy, and being able to make music with good people has been an absolute joy,â she said.
Jones dedicated the album to his parents and, in fact, his mother passed away a few days after the track “That Summer” was released in September. “This part really sucks and makes it so bittersweet to me,” said Jones, who added there was reason to be happy too, as she celebrates six years of sobriety this month. .
“Dark Horse” is available on streaming platforms, iTunes, in Bull Moose stores and at lauriejonesmsuic.com. Recorded and mastered at Halo Studios in Windham, it was co-produced by Darren Elder and Mehuman Ernst and was conceived and mixed by Kevin Billingslea.
Musical contributors are Elder on percussion, Billingslea on guitars and bass, Jake Wertman on drums, Torin Jones on acoustic guitar, Glen Kavin on keyboards and strings, and Amy Gauthier on backing vocals.
Jones will perform an acoustic show at the Blue in Portland on Sunday which will also be available to stream. This will be her first live show in person since 2019, and while she told me she’s freaking out about it, I have a feeling she’s going to get it right. I know I’ll be there.
5 p.m. Sunday. Blue, 650A Congress St., Portland. portcityblue.com
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