What does it sound like?:
Mr Jones comes across a really nice man. He wears a lovely suit, he has a long forehead but his hair is fetching and his guitar is strapped high. He looks very happy, yet he plays The Blues. He plays it very well. I bet in an eyes-closed test, he could easily be mistaken for B.B. King or Buddy Guy. His band are impressive too. When they stretch out, usually towards the end of a song, together, they can cook up a fire.
In terms of Blues authenticity, he has three issues, his voice, his white privilege and his songwriting. In terms of general popularity, all three are probably to his advantage. He tackles the first two on Who I Am, an autobiographical song, in which we learn his father was a deadbeat, his mother a drug user and that it was his grandfather that rescued him. He also acknowledges that his sweet voice lacks smoke and whisky (his favoured drink appears to be gin) but, correctly, points out that that never did Jimmy Reid any harm. His lyrics do include the usual Blues tropes, woman done left me and so on, but the tunes and the arrangements are bright and fresh and cheerful. Hot-shot Nasville producer, Colin Linden, will have to take some responsibility for the glossy sheen that has removed some of the misery you’d hope for in a Blues album. Too often, the songs verge on Pop. High Temperature is clearly screaming for attention from the mainstream.
There are far more highs than lows on High Temperature. Everybody involved is having the time of their lives. It is especially engaging when JW duels with organist Kevin McKendree. There is no doubting JW’s guitar playing skills nor that of his band. Check it out.
What does it all *mean*?
In 2017, there are some outstanding young guitarists around. JW’s record company believes in him and there is a UK tour starting next month.
Goes well with…
A clean shirt and a gin and tonic.
Might suit people who like…
Evocative guitar playing, Popular Blues, 461 era Eric or the hit singles of the Peter Green Fleetwood Mac.