Laurence Jones What's It Gonna Be on 180g LP
All or nothing. For Laurence Jones, it's an easy choice. In recent times, the hotshot British bandleader has barely stopped for breath. There's been the release of 2014's all-conquering second album, Temptation. The triumphant Blues Caravan tour that saw him raise roofs across Europe. The auspicious nod to represent his country at this year's European Blues Challenge, and the prospect if his performance at the Albert Hall for Lead Belly Fest in June. At this juncture, a less passionate artist might cool their heels and count their royalties. No chance. Savior of the British blues scene is not a position for part-timers, and in 2015, Laurence is back with his stunning third album, What's It Gonna Be.
What's It Gonna Be. Now there's a question. If you've followed the 23-year old's journey so far, from his roots as the hottest guitar gunslinger in Stratford-upon-Avon, through his 2012 breakout with Thunder In The Sky, to his rise with Ruf Records, you might have an inkling of the qualities that will be found on this third album. There's gonna be white-hot fretwork. Vocals with power and soul! Songwriting that grabs you by the collar! What's It Gonna Be gives you all of the above. But it gives you more, too, pushing the bandleader's talent further than ever before.
The album sessions might have gone down at the Headline Music Studios in Cambridge, but as a career-long road-warrior whose songwriting antenna is always up, Laurence was channeling inspiration from across the planet when he started tracking in January 2015. "Last year," he explains of the album's backstory, "I had the experience of touring around Europe with the Ruf Records Blues Caravan. I got to explore ten different countries and I enjoyed conversations, laughter, smiles and tears with some wonderful people. This album is a collection of emotions and memories from that time."
The road doesn't just provide inspiration. As a direct result of that frantic tour diary, Laurence's musical performances have never been sharper than on What's It Gonna Be, as he locks in with the core band of bassist/co-producer Roger Inniss, drummer Miri Miettinen, keys men Jools Grudgings and Lewis Stephens, and backing vocalist SJ Mortimer. Plus a pair of VIP guest vocalists, in the form of New York belter and Ruf labelmate Dana Fuchs, who runs riot on a cover of "Can't Get Enough," and Sandi Thom, who brings chills and thrills to her duet with Laurence on "Don't Look Back."