Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Apr 3rd 2009 11:00AM by David Chiu
Yet for his upcoming album 'Potato Hole,' his first new solo work in 20 years, Jones, 64, puts more of a rock 'n' roll emphasis in his music with help from Georgia rockers Drive-By Truckers and Neil Young. "I wrote all the songs on guitar," he tells Spinner. "It's a rock album. And rock music is all about the guitar being a little too loud and having a little too much attitude."
In recording his solo album, Jones says that the musical ideas were within him for a while but never quite risen. "I didn't have the technical know-how until recently," he explains. "I took five classes in Pro Tools two years ago [and] that opened up some new creative windows for me -- just knowing I could at home put my ideas down, sort them and figure them out."
The collaboration with Drive-By Truckers began when Jones' manager encouraged the musician to attend the South by Southwest festival. "There's a lot of opportunities to hear music and meet people, so I went," Jones recalls. "He hooked me up with Jason Isbell, and Jason was the [then-guitarist] with Drive-By Truckers. We had a jam session that was attended by a large crowd on a hot Austin afternoon."
Jones says that the Truckers "basically opened up and let me drive." "They let me bring in the ideas and they interpreted them," he says. "They literally took my lead. I was able to raise my hand and stop the band, or give my signals to the band. They just creatively let me be the driving force."
Meanwhile, Jones has known Neil Young, who appears on a majority of the new album, since their appearance at a Bob Dylan tribute concert in 1992. "I always carried a desire to cop his sound," says Jones, "because he had the coolest guitar sound in rock. Neil's sound was big, political and in-your-face, but it had a beauty and a simplicity. That's what I was trying to get."
In addition to several original compositions, 'Potato Hole' also features some cover tunes. Among them are Tom Waits' 'Get Behind the Mule' and OutKast's 'Hey Ya.' A fan of the hip-hop act, Jones was drawn to the latter song's unusual time signature.
"This wasn't your regular 8-bar or 4-bar," he says. "This one had some aberrations. I love a band that has courage to do that, especially in rock and roll. I looked at the lyrics while I was playing that. I just love the way they did it."
Jones seems to be aiming for a broader audience -- this month, he and Drive-By Truckers are scheduled to appear at Coachella, followed by a date at Bonaroo in June. "I think it's gonna be similar to when I played at Monterey [with the MG's in 1967] for the first time," he says. "Because we were basically an R&B band that went to a different venue. And it was great. The reception was warm. The music is the thing anyway, so that's what we have in common."