This blues bandleader, who sings and plays guitar and calls his music "bluez," began releasing his own compact discs in 2001. When Billy Jones substituted a "z" for an "s," he was not trying to make the name of his beloved genre closer to the way a drunken bar patron might pronounce it at the end of the night. Rather, "bluez" is all about being independent from the big-time music business, a stance more often taken by indie rockers. While in reality even the biggest blues labels are nothing but small independents, these firms still represent too big a clique for Jones, who prefers issuing material on his own Cyborg-Blue imprint.
Though apparently not documented on many available recordings, Jones' involvement with blues goes back to his childhood. He was supposedly considered something of a prodigy, studying with artists such as Little Johnny Taylor, Rufus Thomas, and Larry Davis, among others. When he became a teenager he hit the road, musically hitting a variety of styles in the bands of the beautiful Chaka Khan, the tasty Chocolate Milk, and the rhythmically astute Bar-Kays. This background certainly ought to supply him with the goods to create a contemporary vision of roots music. He sees himself as part of a new movement in this genre, described colorfully as follows in his own promotional material: "...it ain't your grampa's music, or that same ol' predictable stuff that you may find at big corporate labels...But then...what do these 'fat cat' record company guys know about what's happening on the streets right now?"
The first Jones release on his own, Prime Suspect for the Blues, was nonetheless well received by the so-called blues establishment of magazines, distributors, and underground radio shows, proving how much they might know after all. Based out of the Bay Area, Jones has put together a touring band whose membership draws from veterans of that area's blues scene, such as bassist Palmalee Byrd as well as keyboardist Corey Bray, who might just make a place for the synthesizer in this genre, or maybe that's why they call it the "bluez." ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi