Livestream • Loud House Studios Seattle, WA
Players: Stacy Jones, keyboards, harmonica, acoustic and electric rhythm guitar and lead vocals; Jeff Menteer, lead guitar and vocals; Tom Jones, bass; Rick Bowen, drums and backup vocals
Material: This powerhouse quartet plays a well-balanced dose of Americana, blues and Southern-flavored rock. From rousing originals like “Whiskey and Water” and the jazzy “Keep on Keepin’ On” to perennials “Hound Dog” and Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” they do it all.
Musicianship: Each member is a consummate artist and technician in their own right. Stacy Jones covers the musical landscape on all fronts. She plays some mean slide guitar, but really shines on vocals and harmonica. Her ability to modulate from a whisper to a wail is impressive. And her facility on harp seems to draw from the Charlie Musselwhite and James Cotton schools of improvisation. Jeff Menteer simply smokes as well, with tasteful leads and an endless supply of sustain and tone. Tom Jones is the glue that bridges the gap between walking lines and riding squarely in the pocket. Rick Bowen performs double duty, not only as a versatile drummer and percussionist, but also supports Stacy, with simple and effective harmonies. He adds that subtle dash of sweetness that gives the songs an extra edge.
Performance: The band was hunkered down in what appeared to be a multi-room studio. It was a relaxed and laidback show where they each periodically would send “shout-outs” to their Facebook Live streaming fans. Stacy would casually call out a song and the band would follow suit. The audio fidelity was perfect and the balance of everyone, particularly when it came to solos, was really clean.
Among the highlights was a stellar take on The Rolling Stones’ disco-fied hit “Miss You.” Stacy delivered a nice and loose vocal as well as managed some smooth melodic runs on the harp. The song morphed into Tom stepping out into the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and ended with a full band free for all. Utilizing the song “Think” as a finale was a good choice. Not only did it bring their set to a rousing and satisfying end, but it was a shining tour de force.
Summary: The Stacy Jones Band is a solid unit that clearly defines what a professional career band is all about. Their mix of originals and covers is first rate. And their award-winning chops and buoyant demeanor should place them on major stages across the country.