Stone Jack Jones
Based in Nashville, but raised in a coal miner’s company house on the banks of Buffalo Creek, WV, Stone Jack Jones is the descendant of four generations of coal miners. After being rejected from military service in Vietnam due to epilepsy, and discouraged from pursuing the coal mining business, Jack decided to start wandering. By the time he landed in Nashville, where he met Roger Moutenot, Patty Griffin, and Kurt Wagner, Jack had worked as a carny, an escape artist, a ballet dancer, a professional lute player, and even owned a late night performance art club in Atlanta.
Stone Jack Jones' 3rd full-length Ancestor was produced with Roger Moutenot (known for his work with Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney, They Might Be Giants, and many other incredible artists) and features collaborations with Patty Griffin, members of Lambchop, and Courtney Tidwell. The tales on Ancestor distill Jack's lifetime of experience into songs that use the esoteric narratives of an American rambler to elucidate the celestial worlds within each of us. Intensely meditative, the album patiently explores the hardness of the coal mines, the mystery of suicide, the comfort of a dog's acceptance, the idea that forgetting all you know can be the first step towards hearing and reconnecting with your muse, and one man's gratitude for the love he's been given and the life he's had the chance to live.
As Lambchop's Kurt Wagner describes it, Ancestor is "long and languid, moving none too fast, there's alcohol and rope in the air. There ought to be a place, a bar, or barn, where this music plays from p.a. suspended in the middle of the room like those ones they used in the civil defense strapped to polls in the neighborhoods of the 60s, 50s...Fan shaped horns arranged in a center cluster…there's nostalgic allusion and ghostly nods to a world only Jack knows, and perhaps his god knows."
...apocalyptic mountain music…curiously unsettling…Jones lets a little light in, if only to show how dark the world can be.
...tunes like this are much better than a fireplace...
Like “Venus In Furs,” if Lou Reed had grown up in a holler. Or “Suzanne,” if Leonard Cohen’s father had been a coal miner instead of a clothing salesman.
This breathtakingly insightful and poetic artist and this exceptional album sprawls in all manner of directions, from religion to loneliness to romance to friendship. The album's studding high-point comes with 'States I'm In,' a deep, disturbing song that has echoes of Beck's 'Nobody's Fault But My Own'; bits of Bill Callahan; and with its trumpet, Tom Waits (though Jones is more melodic).
In country music, there are so many sad songs and not enough bleak songs. This Nashville outsider takes some gutsy steps toward the latter, as if scoring a Cormac McCarthy novel. Halfway through his latest album he sings, “Joy’s a-coming.” Don’t believe him.
I appreciate his ability to sing about death through this lens. It's nice to think about death being a good experience rather than a bad one.
Beautifully desolate piece of Americana that wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack for True Detective.
A smokey lament that comes off like a slightly jazzier Spiritualized.