Ian Jones - Results Not Typical
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Results Not Typical (Self-released, 2023)

Ian Jones

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

Singer-songwriter Ian Jones gives the impression that he's been making records for years. Yet, "Results Not Typical" is his full-length debut following his EP in 2021. Jones is no upstart, but a life-long, self-taught musician and songwriter. Though Jones was raised on country music, he was also inevitably influenced by his hometown Seattle's grunge scene before concocting his current mix which draws on several genres. Jones has a strong, authentically weathered voice, but more importantly he has the singalong, roll-down-the-windows-and-let-the-wind-blow-back-your-hair songs.

The album title speaks to these atypical impressions, owing in large part to producer Jesse Siebenberg (Kenny Loggins, Supertramp, Lucas Nelson & Promise of the Real). who recruited a first-rate group of session musicians: Joey Waronker on drums, Johnny Flaugher on bass, Gabe Noel on bass and cello, Dave Palmer on piano and keys, Aaron Embry also on piano and keys, Jason Soda on guitar and Jason Paul Cartwright on strings. Siebenberg contributes guitar, steel and vocals.

The album is essentially split in half, the first offering the leaving or search for freedom songs and the second a mix of love and heartbreak. The piano driven opener "Rollin'" weaves in pedal steel suggesting that the protagonist is leaving, but is still burdened with lingering thoughts he longs to escape. "You Can't" begins with a dense flourish that recedes to a simple recitation on regret, sounding like the great folk-rock that emanated from the Jackson Browne/late David Lindley catalog. The chugging "Lost Highway" brings the kickass tempo while "Someday" filters in healthy doses of twang enveloping the bright piano chords and bluesy lead guitar. It would fit beautifully on an early Elton John album. Jones reflects on fond memories in the rolling "Athens Smiles" and settles into a spare piano ballad on the dramatic, yearning "She Is Lost," the band swelling powerfully on the choruses. "Again" takes a similar tact, Jones' vocal among his best.

Yet the best three song sequence is arguably the last three songs – the melancholic, poignant balladry of "You're Gone," the waltzing, innocently pleading "Have Mercy," and the devastating, honestly bitter closer, "Goodbyes Are the Hardest Words." Northwestern Americana has rarely, if ever sounded so emotionally rich.

CDs by Ian Jones

Results Not Typical, 2023

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