Attention: Seattle has produced another seminal rock band. I'm declaring Ayron Jones and The Way the next big thing to come out of Seattle.
The first time I heard Ayron Jones and The Way I sat in disbelief in front of my computer. I was streaming their tracks as part of my long list of potential albums to review and I had to double check my list. How can it be that this band is not already all over the radio? Is it possible that this is a deep track on a Lenny Kravitz record or a long lost song that was originally meant to be for the Red Hot Chili Peppers? My blogging life is chaotic, but I know when I hear a new song, and this was indeed a new song. I had goosebumps all over my arms and I realized I was listening with my mouth wide open - the same way I found myself gawking the first time I stood in front of Joan Jett at a concert. I quickly shook my head and read the title on my sticky note: Ayron Jones and The Way - "Feedin' From the Devil's Hands".
At first listen, I could have sworn the soul emanating from Ayron's guitar was that of Jimi Hendrix himself. The more I listened, the more I loved what I heard. The guitar licks are a combination of Hendrix, Clapton, and Page. And then I heard him sing.
Ayron Jones may confuse some listeners because he is part Bruno Mars, part Lenny Kravitz, and a little bit of Steven Tyler all rolled into one. There is angst, soul, passion, and life experience behind his absolutely compelling voice. The band's talent is rounded out by drummer Kai Van De Pitte (who replaced Conrad Real, who played on 5 of the 8 tracks on Dream) and bassist DeAndre Enrico. Let's be honest, who doesn't love a rock-based power trio?
This is starting to sound like a love letter, isn't it? Well perhaps it is, because I love rock'n'roll, and Ayron Jones' debut album, Dream, has me batting my eyelashes and swooning over killer guitar riffs and passion-filled vocals. The blues and hard rock are alive and well in Seattle, and it is evident on every single track on Dream.
"On Two Feet" and "Baptized in Muddy Waters" offer the listener a glimpse into the soul I'm talking about. The vocals are like butter: soft and comforting, and just when you think that's how it's going to stay, Jones unleashes hell and reminds you this ain't no garden party: they came here to rock.
"My Love Remains" and "When Will I Learn" are the songs that made it easy for me to decide why this band is going to turn some heads: They don't sound like anybody else. They sound like Ayron Jones and The Way. If you listen to any of the hard rock radio stations, it is difficult to tell bands apart these days. Yes, there are some great songs out there, but if you had to quiz me on unique-sounding lead singers or guitarists, I'd tell you there aren't many out there. But Jones is not a copycat. His voice is his, and it's so hard to describe because no one else sounds like him. The guitar work is the same. The licks may be reminiscent of the greats that came before him, but his tone and his riff/lick structure is unique. I don't ever give a compliment greater than that when doing a review in this cookie-cutter rock world we live in.
The band are not just about slow-grooving blues rock. They can keep the headbangers happy with upbeat riffage on "Bounce Your Head" and "Can't Stop The Rain". The angst you hear in Ayron's voice is not a put-on: there is heart and soul here. With so many bands these days yelling for the sake of yelling, this is a refreshing take on one of the most quintessential elements of good rock music.
Overall, this record is one that deserves attention. A lot of attention. One day in the next few years, you will be sitting at a red light and Ayron Jones and The Way will be on the radio. If you dismiss my advice and choose not to listen to this band today, you are only going to have to play "catch up". I've been right more than once in the last few months already, so do you really want to take that chance? You will get goosebumps the first time you hear them. Anyone who loves great guitar work and strong, soulful vocals will fall in love with the signature sound this band has. Rapper/producer Sir-Mix-A-Lot must have too, because he approached them the first time he heard them and declared them to be the most relevant talent in Seattle right now, "hands down".
Head over to the band's website right now and go listen. You won't regret it. Just make sure you've got a heavy sweater on, because those goosebumps can really make you shiver.
We'll be featuring an interview with Ayron Jones and The Way in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can also follow the band on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.