REVIEWS OF Like the Sun a-Glittering
Irish Music Magazine
by Eileen McCabe
THE JONES BOYS
Like the Sun a–glittering
12 Tracks, 50 Minutes
“The name of the group The Jones Boys is actually misleading as the band, on this recording of Like the Sun a–glittering, includes a trio of both genders. The male duo of Gordon Jackson and Ian Carey enhanced by the female influence of musician Sam Sloan who brought the sound of the accordion, concertina, whistle and trumpet to the fold.
Line–ups have changed since this recording which we were presented with at the Fleadh in Derry, but this does not detract from this recording that marches instrumental and folk substance into the twelve tracks on the album. The group drive straight in with a lively Ribbons of the Red-headed Girl set, with its rhythmic sway of buttons and strings that switches solo parts with an aplomb that defies determination before flowing into a lovely version of Jenny’s Wedding. The strings are impeccably arranged at the start of Hardiman the Fiddler before the box breaks into the fold with a vigour that enhances the defined pace of the sound. The slip jig, The Choice Wife, is the instrumental standout though, as intoxicating strings weave around a beautiful Clancy tune. Vocally Jackson is the mainstay as he tells stories from the folk tradition including the sombre My Son John and the distinctive chant of the Lyke Wake Dirge which is both disturbing yet compelling as the words guide departed souls through purgatory.
This album is a great representation of the variety encompassed within the folk scene of the time. Although the line–up of the Jones Boys has changed since (currently a duo); the trio responsible for Like the Sun a–glittering have left a definitive legacy of folk in their path.”
Published in Folk and Roots
“Well the band name kinda leads you to expect Americana I guess, but in fact what we get (and the strongest clue comes with the tracklist) is 50 minutes of very well-played and very well-arranged traditional folk, mostly tune-sets with a few songs tossed in at strategic points. The accompanying press release calls it “power-folk” – but even that term rather misleadingly conjures up steaming electric-folk-rockery.
Actually it’s proudly all-acoustic, except that is for some guest electric guitar on a couple of tracks: for here The Jones Boys (which is actually two boys and a girl, if we wish to be pedantic!) grant us a sparklingly clear-toned sequence of tunes and songs, all of traditional origin. Mandolin and guitar glitter like that proverbial sun, with shards of light piercing the ether and sprinkling their creative faery-dust all over the shop. Ian Carey (mandolin and “mandriola”, a type of 12-string mandolin), Gordon Jackson (more mandos, whistles, bass, percussion) and Sam Sloan (button accordion, anglo concertina) have all evidently been playing this kind of material for many years, and it shows in their tight togetherness and their overall, obviously highly accomplished standard of musicianship. They have a keen ear for retaining openness of texture, and display no intent to clutter with excessive numbers of notes or over-dazzle with fulsome tonal eccentricity, and are thus doubly welcome. The only relative (but entirely forgivable) indulgences come with an atmospheric, decidedly Gothic take on Lyke Wake Dirge (complete with psycho-electric guitar and brooding chanting) and a riffingly decent version of Ship In Distress (acoustic Purple anyone? – now there’s where that “power-folk” tag might come in!).
Elsewhere, it’s dextrous instrumental prowess allied to a genuinely musical response to the tunes’ melodies, however well-trodden some of the choices may be. Prepare to be stunned into submission by Sam’s nifty button-wielding on the mighty Tam Lin/Dogs Among The Bushes set, for example… Oh, and Gordon’s singing ain’t at all bad either (he turns in convincing renditions of The Fowler and The Unquiet Grave). In the end, the album leaves a good strong impression, although it takes a few tracks before its full measure gets to make that impact stick; but it sure is a disc for going back to.”http://www.folkandroots.co.uk/reviews13.html#jonesboys
Published in Folk World online music magazine
“The English power folk trio The Jones Boys play traditional music from Ireland, England and Scotland. Sam Sloan sings and plays the diatonic accordion and concertina, multi-instrumentalist Gordon Jackson (string instruments, whistles, percussion) mostly sings the lead vocals and Ian Carey can be heard on mandolin and mandriola.
A fiery reel set and a swinging jig set start the musical journey. Three more intoxicating dance sets and several beautiful songs follow for the listener to enjoy. There is the melancholic Irish song “My Son John” and the rhythmic “The Ship in Distress”. “The Fowler” (from Harry Cox) stands out with beautiful a capella singing by Jackson, discreetly accompanied by mandolin and mandola. My favourite instrumental track is William Clancy’s slip jig “The Choice Wife”, and my favourite song is “Lyke Wake Dirge”, a kind of Yorkshire Book of the Dead, with dramatic singing to an eerie slow groove.
Three first class musicians have recorded a breathtaking album. Traditional elements are fused with modern electronic sounds and brilliantly brought forward.”
“There’s a rare fire and intensity present in the reels, jigs and airs. [They] represent the marvellous strength and depth of modern British folk.”
The Musician (Journal of the Musicians’ Union)