Op Strolling Bones Records verschijnt binnenkort het album van Blues geweldenaar Jontavious Willis, onthoudt deze naam. De man is echt geweldig.
Deze man is een fenomeen die van akoestische countryblues naar elektrische Chicago blues switch en allemaal subliem. Deze jonge vriend wordt een grote.

Jontavious Willis - West Georgia Blues (albumcover photo)

Jontavious Willis
West Georgia Blues

Label: Strolling Bones Records (V2 BeNeLux)
Release date: August 16, 2024

Jontavious Willis komt uit Greenville, Georgia en zijn West Georgia Blues is een openbaring. Dit is bluesmuziek zoals die ooit bedoeld was. Een stem die even warm als doorleefd is. Hij speelt gitaar, akoestisch én elektrisch, als de beste. En wat hem vooral zo speciaal maakt, zijn de liedjes. Hij wisselt de traditionele countryblues af met Mississippi blues. Maar er is ook Ted Hawkins- en Robert Cray-achtige blues met sterke soul-invloeden, Keep Your Worries On The Dance Floor is daar een subliem voorbeeld van. Maar het heeft weinig zin om hoogtepunten te kiezen. West Georgia Blues is als geheel een fantastisch blues-album, het allerbeste van de laatste jaren.

Vandaag 2 tracks! Check het out:

Jontavious Willis - "West Georgia Blues" (Official Audio)

Jontavious Willis - "Keep Your Worries On the Dance Floor" (Official Audio)

1. West Georgia Blues
2. Charlie Brown Blues
3. Broken Hearted Moan
4. Keep Your Worries On the Dance Floor
5. Rough Time Blues
6. Lula Mae
7. Ghost Woman
8. Who’s Gonna Hear It?
9. A Lift Is All I Need
10. Too Close to the Finishing Line
11. Earthworm Basement Blues
12. Squirrlin’ Mama
13. Time Brings About a Change
14. Lost Ball
15. Jontavious’ West Georgia Grind

Jontavious Willis is resolved in his mission: to reinvigorate today’s Blues with the spirit of the past. Drawn to a time when the Blues were plentiful and rhythm reigned supreme, Jontavious leverages his unique sound—a synthesis of his Georgia heritage and the rich history of the Blues—to get the world dancing again. A Grammy-nominated musician and songwriter, Jontavious performs original, toe-tapping tunes in the style of Delta, Piedmont, and Texas Blues. With a bawdy, playful sense of humor, he channels the lively “rent parties” and “juke joints” of yesteryear, imparting the vitality of the Blues across communities today.

Jontavious was born and raised in rural Georgia, an environment with deep cultural roots that inspire his soulful vocals and virtuosic technique. He spent much of his childhood singing Gospel music with his grandfather at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, the site of his earliest live performances. A teenage phenom, Jontavious achieved widespread acclaim when he accompanied living Blues legend Taj Mahal—who would go on to dub him his “Wonderboy”—onstage in 2015. His first opportunity to tour nationally soon followed; he opened for Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ during their joint TajMo tour in 2017.
In 2016, his debut album Blue Metamorphosis garnered rave reviews in Living Blues and Blues & Rhythm, later winning the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge 2018 Award for Best Self-Produced CD. Spectacular Class, his Grammy-nominated sophomore album in 2019, saw Jontavious survey an array of Blues styles with dynamic ensemble performances. His forthcoming West Georgia Blues, a self-produced album featuring a full band, is slated for release this August 2024. Jontavious considers himself an ambassador to the Blues, and this latest album brings the versatility of the genre right to the forefront. While tackling time-honored themes of heartbreak, hardship, and resilience, Jontavious also reminds us that the Blues are meant to bring us together in times of celebration through song and dance.

Jontavious Willis – West Georgia Blues

Joyous and resonant, Jontavious Willis’ third album is an invitation to everyone out there—whether Blues aficionado or just passing through the genre—to connect with the very universal emotions captured through the Blues. Entirely self-produced, West Georgia Blues comprises fifteen original songs that tackle time-honored themes from heartbreak and loneliness to celebration and self-discovery. Jontavious underscores the versatility of this genre and its enduring relevance today with humor and authenticity.

An ambassador to the Blues, Jontavious welcomes us to his world in the first of two bookend tracks, “West Georgia Blues.” The eponymous song is sung by three West Georgia musicians in a jubilee style, coloring a vivid picture of Jontavious’ home state with all of its traditions and history. Many of the songs that follow, including “Broken Hearted Moan” and “Too Close to the Finishing Line,” draw inspiration from numerous Blues legends such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Tampa Red, and Muddy Waters, among others.

In “Rough Time Blues,” Jontavious addresses hardship and struggle head on, while “Ghost Woman” features accompaniment by a double bass in a haunting tale of love and loss. With clever lyrics and toe-tapping beats, “Earthworm Basement Blues” and “Squirrlin’ Mama” are Jontavious at his most playful and carefree.

“Keep Your Worries on the Dance Floor” takes a four piece band to deliver a powerful, uplifting message of motivation. Like “Lula Mae,” this song channels the lively “rent parties” and “juke joints” of yesteryear and encourages us all to dance and find happiness—no matter the situation. The final tune and the second of the two bookend songs, “Jontavious’ West Georgia Grind” unifies the album around these themes of joy, connection, and dance.
West Georgia Blues represents the many facets of the Blues as well as Jontavious’ own evolution as an artist and performer. Jontavious engages with the past, present, and future of the genre—all the while inspiring us to groove and let loose.

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