Growing up in the 60’s, Rowland Jones first fell in love with the blues when he heard John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, the legendary Beano album, and he still has his original mono copy framed on the wall! ‘I was stunned and wanted to know where this music came from. We used to get LP’s of Robert Johnson and Big Bill Bronzy out of the public library and then there were the great blues tours with five or six top acts on one bill! We were so privileged!’ said Jones.
Over the years Jones has played with rock bands, big bands, folk-rock bands and even toured with bands like Limmie and the Family Cookin’ and The Exciters, but his heart was still in the blues. Jones explains ‘It was 2007, Lesley and I had just got married and decided to go and live in Italy and I said I wanted to get back into the Blues, I was asked to audition for a band and only realised when I got there, that they expected me, as the only English speaker, to be singer and frontman aswell…so that’s what I became!’ So, began seven years of gigging in Italy, in bars, clubs and festivals from Bergamo and Verona in the North, to Calabria and Sicily in the South.
In 2014, Jones moved back to Manchester and the following year he recorded ‘You Give Me The Blues’ with Chris CJ Hillman (Billy Bragg Band) on pedal steel and Dobro, and Mark Lewis on bass, which ‘Blues Matters!’ described as ‘an album crammed with acoustic blues’. His 2016 EP ‘Still The Blues’ with the same team was equally well received by ‘Blues Matters!’. ‘Pure blues expertly written and performed’. After some time, gigging with Hillman and time spent in the States, his 2017 offering was a bit different. With the addition of a drummer Paul Burgess (10cc, Chris Farlowe, Marring Barre) and producer, multi-instrumetnalist, Nigel Stonier (Waterboys, Strawbs, Joan Baez) the result was an album of ‘Soulful Americana’ which has been receiving regular airplay in the US, South Africa and Poland.
‘My current project is band to basics, probably recording just guitar and voice. As long as i’m still writing and performing, i’m happy, I mean, what’s not to like about that!’ says Jones with a smile. ‘I’ve been told I’m too happy to play the Blues, but as long as audiences enjoy what I do I’ll be smiling’