If when you hear the name Jon Herington you immediately think of a Jazz Fusion player who is also the instrumental guitar voice when Steely Dan hit the stage, well think again. I mean don’t get me wrong, he’s all of that, but he’s also a mean blues rock guitar player who can sling it with the best of them!
Time On My Hands, Jon’s 2012 release is a return to his roots as a young guitar playing lad coming up in the heyday of the pop, blues and rock explosion of the 60’s and early 70’s. His playing style on this CD is clearly cut from the many blues/rock influences he’s grown up with over the years. The title track for example clearly shows his Clapton style roots while tossing in some advanced harmonic and melodic conceptual ideas. Think of Robben Ford mind-melding with Eric Clapton alongside a little Gary Moore.
The tunes compositionally also keep a more traditional rock/blues style with some harmonic diversions cleverly appearing here and there, causing one to do a musical double-take as it were. This is also quite evident with the many layers of guitar going on inside a given tune. As Jon mentions in his Jazz Guitar Life feature interview:
“When I was getting the music together for the latest record, “Time On My Hands,” I had a particular concept in mind. I wanted to make sure I got a certain kind of personal guitar playing on the record without sacrificing the quality of the songs themselves. It was really the first time on a vocal album that I insisted on putting the guitar in the spotlight and stretching out on my solos.”
And stretch out he does! As mentioned, his style incorporates a variety of influences and he’s not afraid to let them all loose when needed. From the psychedelic grooves of “Sweet Ginny Rose” (with its Bo Didley feel) and “Runnin’ Out Of Time“; to the swing blues of “EGirl“; to the funky foot tapping grooves of “The Bucket Song” and “Shine Shine Shine“; to the soulful “bedroom blues” of “I Ain’t Got You” and the B.B. King-ish “Caroline Yes“, Jon lays down these familiar styles like he’s been doing this his whole life…which – when you get right down to it – he has! The cool thing is that even though these tunes have a universal vibe to them, Jon’s melodic, harmonic and lyrical sense keeps the familiar sounding fresh and interesting!
And speaking of lyrical, not only does Jon play some great guitar on these all original tunes along with vocals, he has also penned some witty and amusing lyrics – with the help of his co-writing band mates. As Jon states:
“Luckily, I found two great collaborators for the lyric writing, Dennis Espantman, my bassist, and Jim Farmer, who each knew how to nail the character and tone we needed lyrically.”
And while I’m not a huge fan of lyrics – preferring instrumentals over vocal tunes – I found Jon’s writing to be fun and slightly tongue in cheek (check out the humorous innuendos of “EGirl”). I also enjoyed his entertaining lyrics on the tune “I Ain’t Got You” and his arrangement is – as the kids say today – just sick!
Joining Jon on this musical ride is drummer Frank Pagano and bassist Dennis Espantman alongside a few very special guests like keyboardists Jim Beard and Rob Morsberger, Hammond player Danny Louis and the voice of Steely Dan, Donald Fagen on piano and Wurlitzer! With sideman like these you really can’t go wrong!
So, if you’re a blues rock fan or just love the energy of great guitar playing, take the time to check out Jon Herrington’s Time On My Hands. It’s time well spent indeed!!
Head on over to www.jonherington.com to see what else Jon has to offer!