Storm in the night
Dick W. (CD Baby reviews)
"I love stormy weather, especially at night when you cannot see what is coming next. Mostly cool rain, wind, and soft breezes. Then there is an occasional flash of lightning or rumble of thunder. Often you do not know what happened until you think back at what you heard. Nancy hands a storm to us in her music. Natural beauty. Soothing to the soul. Multiple blends of guitars, piano and harmonies around her many voices.
My personal favorites in order:
1 - 'Blood of Judas' (found on the bonus disc) hits you with the sweet, soft, slow emotions for her man intertwined with a bitter, hard, angry wrath upon his lover.
2 - 'No One Will Know' tells a tale of secret lovers. It will leave you remembering a relationship you also shared. And your fond memory or wonderful dream will return every time you listen to this song. Every time.
3 - 'Stronger Than You Know' and 'Three Graces' provide soft piano with a gentle voice. The type of voice you want to hear after your second glass of wine with her.
4 - 'Woodward Avenue' will take you back to when you were 17 and confused as hell about life. So much to learn as you "tip your toes in being grown..."
There are many stories here. And these stories are sung from her soul. Her music comes from the heart. There is a depth in time, distance, strength, vulnerability, love, dreams, reality, friendship and longing. Put this on shuffle and you will have the perfect storm - never predictable, always memorable.
I don't mind the whispering screams
David Swartz (CD Baby reviews)
The only thing better than getting a good CD is getting TWO good CD’s at the same time. George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” was a triple set but only two of the disks were really good. But I digress…
“Never Mind The Screaming” is a terrific, well-crafted new double set from singer/ songwriter Nancy Jones. From the opening note of “Big House” I knew something special was happening—Nancy projects the vocal strength Heather Nova approaches but doesn’t always achieve. The tasty Knopfler-esque electric guitar licks provided by co-producer John Sutherland make me want to sign a petition insisting Dire Straits reform and make an album a year for life. I forgot how much I miss them.
The CD opens with a catchy-as-hell drum & piano intro, then the verses pave the way to a sudden solo guitar break, and it’s good to know the fun’s just beginning. “Blue Eye-d Gin”, Track 3, Disk 1, is appropriately set in 3/4 time and nicely breaks up the typical 4/4 flow of most collections. “Morphine And Cabernet” reminds me how much I love hearing acoustic and electric guitars rolling along together, like Pete Ham’s best Badfinger pieces and a healthy selection of Sheryl Crow’s work, for example. Who couldn’t grab hold of a line like ‘Now that that bitch they call morning has found me…’? “Liisa” sounds as though it could’ve been an excellent outtake or bonus track from Nancy’s incredible 2001 CD with the band The Lock, while “Sweetest Part” and “Whiskey” would be perfect songs for Jewel to cover (while on caffeine). Rickie Lee Jones couldn’t have done a better job with “Stronger Than You Know”, which is saying a lot.
No, Rickie Lee is no relation, but Nancy is a tremendous fan of hers. The quality and respect to the songwriting craft has rubbed off and clearly shows. C’mon, Rickie Lee—give us another treasure like “Pirates”. Till then, “Stronger Than You Know” goes a long way toward filling that void. Well worth the wait at the end of the first disk is a hidden bonus track… with Nancy herself (or shall I call her Shady Girl?) playing banjo on a bouncing cover of the classic bluegrass tune “Shady Grove”. It comes on a full five minutes after “Stronger” ends, so be patient or just fast-forward until you hear this surprise Easter Egg come on.
On to Disk 2— in my opinion, more of a good thing is a real treat. Too much is just about enough, I say. The second disk was produced by Lisa Long, of the Monterey, CA band Trusting Lucy. Its only flaw is that it’s over too soon. Far from being a collection of left-overs, live tracks, cover versions, or remixes, some of the strongest new and original material in the entire set appear on this grouping. Tori Amos might WISH she’d written and sung the beautiful opening gem “Woodward Avenue” with its gorgeous changes and breaks, but this one is all Nancy. I find myself playing “Northern Star” over and over… and over and over… but then it’s time for “Blood Of Judas” which I could easily imagine appearing on an Evanescence CD. “Will To Love” isn’t a cover of the haunting Neil Young song… this one has something special all its own to offer, however.
All the many comparisons with other artists I’ve mentioned throughout this review aren’t meant to imply Nancy Jones sounds just like them; it’s simply to illustrate that the craft in her songs makes them good enough to be covered by those artists and be stand-out tracks on their recordings, and also that she could share a stage side by side with some of the best and hold her own. Unlike The Lock’s CD that flows smoothly as a unit from beginning to end, ‘Scream’ contains songs I can pull out and enjoy individually. Nancy has told me lyrics are her true passion and every song on this twin set proves she’s on the right track. There’s not a wasted word in the bunch. It’s clear she’s expressing emotions from real life through her music when we hear lines like this one from the closing track, “I refuse to miss you until I’m really gone”. “Never Mind The Screaming” is available online through CD Baby. I’m out of here.
Vox of a Lioness!
Anonymous (CD Baby reviews)
This record is largely organic with an up-front vocal punch that intertwines with lush melodies and sometimes haunting overtones. Nancy pulls you in like a moth into a flame, and scorches your senses with acoustic brilliance combined with "Physical Graffiti" arrangements. The songs are still-life portraits of sad moments, but infectious in their story-telling style. The album's production is unique in its melding of past techniques with modern touches. The old guitars lend key overtones to songs like "Handsome Driver". The opening number has a shuffle of early Dire Straits, and the ending lullaby is one of the most beautiful songs written in years. Don't miss the nod to traditional Old Tyme music 8 minutes into the last tune. Its a surprise that is sure to please. This is a refreshing collection of songs that gets better every listen! Bravo!
Appalachian roots feed a magnificent tree
Dave Turner (CD Baby reviews)
As a child of the 1970s I can't help but be reminded of Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart by this album, although their tradition is merely an influence in this collection of truly original songs. Nancy Jones brings a diversity of musical ideas and emotions to her work, reflecting not only her Southern Appalachian roots but also the many branches of a worldly tree of many spirits. I have a poster on my wall that says, "I came to live out loud." Nancy does just that with vocals, piano, guitar and songwriting that come together magnificently in her dark, pensive and distinctive style.
Real emotion dipped in gold
Joel Steven (CD Baby reviews)
Here is a rare and beautiful trip into the human soul. With a deeply compelling and often dreamy quality, Nancy's lyrics and melodies are braided together with all the class and craft of a fine Persian rug, yet they beg you to sink your toes right in. She is both minstrel and bard, bringing you along on her traveling tale filled with sense of longing and dark romanticism made all the more real by the smoky sadness of her voice. The songs speak novels about the nature of a woman’s heart. Women will celebrate. Guys should pay close attention. Nancy is handing you a key to understanding the mysteries of a woman's heart. That being said, just lay back and listen to a damn good singer and songwriter with a soaring vocal talent that boarders on a natural phenomenon. Joel Steven Producer/Songwriter www.octagonrecords.com