Justin Jones @ 9:30 Club

Justin Jones

My first impression of Justin Jones is that he – like this concert review – is the guy who shows up late to the party. Jones, a Virginia/D.C. singer-songwriter who is the first signed to 9:30 Records, a new label launched by 9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz, casually walked on stage to tune his guitar and begin his RSVP and VIP-only record release party on Thursday 45 minutes after the 8 p.m. set time. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The alt-country everyman has taken his time, spending much of the past decade recording music and touring small venues with his backing band, The Driving Rain, before releasing The Little Fox EP. I also should have expected Jones’s patience in allowing soulful and gritty tracks like “The Gutter” to develop. Much of Jones’s rustic Americana delves into introspective moments, but his experience has clearly helped him refine his skill in songwriting and give every song a purpose.

By the end of Jones’s release party set, I was becoming a believer. It may have been alt-country rocker moments in “Razor Blades” that had the consistently chattering crowd’s attention or Jones’s welcome-addition-to-the-party, witty comic relief (“This is the perfect city for terrorist jokes”). Or maybe it was watching from 10 feet away the folk underdog close his eyes, strum away, and dig deep for every bit of soul song after song. There were certainly lulls in the set, but even the borderline indulgent moments felt authentic and meaningful. Jones might not be in a hurry for success, but with consistent performances and releases, it might be coming his way.

Justin Jones – “Little Fox” [MP3]

[Photo courtesy of Anna Scialli, Brightest Young Things.]

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