Throwback Album Review: Laney Jones – Golden Road
This album is from 2013, but it deserves a mention here. It’s every bit the kind of Americana and classic songwriting we often feature. Beyond that, Laney Jones has a beautiful, natural vocal tone. She’s the kind of vocalist who sounds classic, even iconic, but you feel like you’ve heard her before.
The opener “Broken Hearts” is a pure Americana song. A mixture of guitars, banjo, harmonica, and great vocal harmonies make for a promising beginning to the album. “Broken hearts are always breaking, Weary eyes chase the past, Only they can turn back time… To make the moment last “ There’s a timelessness to the lyrics on this one that makes anyone who knows about heartbreak able to relate.
The second track is more upbeat. It is a track called “Devil Down.” It feels like a country jam from about fifty years ago. It’s a great song that has spiritual imagery without really feeling spiritual. It’s more or less about grappling with sin. “Black Coffee” follows it. For those of us who still need a little cream and sugar, this song provides a bit of a wake up. (See what I did there?) It’s actually a blues track and shows off some of Jones’s best vocals. When she croons that scoop on “all night long” you might just feel like she’s singing about someone. Keep an ear out for the harmonica, too.
“Rise No More” has a solid beat as well. There’s something arcane feeling about the song. Maybe it’s the sense of loneliness and heartache in Jones’s voice. There’s a definite tragic tale embedded in the lyrics. “Pour Out the Whiskey” goes in a slightly different direction, again highlighting the versatility of Jones’s songwriting. Part lounge song, part alt rock, the track has a real sentiment of sadness. I can’t be sure, but I think it’s about doing drugs in an otherwise ordinary life.
“Rock-a-bye Sea” gets back to the Americana feeling that the opener had. Even the vocal harmonies have a more upbeat flavor to them. It’s an adventurous tune that encourages listeners to tap feet and smile. Besides that, I really like this lyric, “Cause I’ve been down, The path of least resistance, I was hopelessly passive, But I’ve turned myself around.” It’s one of the best on the album.
“Nothing at All” has a real intimacy about it. It’s “you hold on to the ones you love the most.” It’s the kind of song you want to hear or sing when something really tragic happens. In fact, there’s a core theme of tragedy underlying these songs, even though many of them are happy. This track has a nice nostalgic feeling that’s sure to make a lot of fans from generations who miss the “good old days.”
The final track “Livin’ for Today” is snazzy and jazzy. It’s hedonistic in its theme and well delivered in its sincerity. There’s even a kazoo. The stand up bass hides in there a little, but is definitely my favorite part of the song. What impresses me most about this track is Jones’s incredible chops. It’s almost like she has this “stage” persona that she can put on when she wants. Some of the songs sound like they could have come from 50s country music, then there’s this one with 1920s jazz flavor and some 1970s electric guitar licks. It all comes together for a wonderful outro to an enjoyable album.
This is an album you can feel comfortable putting on in the background or focusing on it. More than anything, it’s an album that will engage a wide range of emotions. A lot of times when we talk about emotional music we mean sad emotions or hard emotions. This album really takes listeners through a variety of emotions, bringing up old flames, new challenges, and some of life’s simple pleasures. It’s a delight.