The Rebirth Of Heavy Blues Is in Southeastern Iowa

Iowa Heavy Blues Artist is Continuing the 60’s Blues Invasion 

The John Paul Jones Group formed at the end of December 1998 leading into January 1999 from the remnants of the progressive rock band Jp’s Eternia.  Under John-Paul “Jp” Jones leadership, the John-Paul Jones Group has quickly established itself as one of southeastern Iowa's most popular heavy blues acts. The band is rapidly gaining regional and national recognition. The group’s excellent musicianship, powerful stage presence, and a remarkable stage show, sparks audience interaction/participation integrated throughout the shows.

First and foremost, the John-Paul Jones Group is talented. These musicians are highly trained professionals with diversified musical backgrounds, ranging from big band jazz and progressive metal to blues and rock. The line-up is John-Paul “Jp” Jones on guitar and vocals, Steven Jones on drums, Jesse Price and Sally Henry sharing bass duties.

The John-Paul Jones Group performs heavy blues material from all eras along with original material written by members of the group. The group invokes references to Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, and Robin Trower among others…  Their stage show consists of a colorful and energetic presentation along with great musical performances—the way heavy blues is supposed to be played.  The John-Paul Jones Group has received rave reviews from their audiences.

The band and its members have been the recipients of many awards including best heavy blues band, Top 100 on Number One Music  Blues Charts, Top 100 Reverbnation Blues Charts, 2018 Iowa Blues Challenge finalist. The group is affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians,  Black Rock Coalition, International Blues Society, and the Southeastern Iowa Blues Society.

2019 will see the recording of more live footage for a 2019 DVD release
2019 Giving Back Tribute Concert Series is underway.
2019 saw the development and implementation of the “Maiden Voyage” mobile stage trailer system exclusively for the John-Paul Jones Group Outdoor Performances.

2020 will see the release of more Concert DVD’s
  • Best of 2019 - Compilation DVD
  • Live @ Bourbon & Blues
  • Live @ Blues-Bikes-Cars
2020 will see the release of a multiple EP’s and CDs
  • Live @ Post 775
  • Live @ The Market
  • Volume No. 3 A Tribute to Robin Trower
Jp and fan Gunner holding the “Terror Twins”
2020 is the groups most ambitious booking schedule.  The John-Paul Jones Group is a unique act, drawing upon the business practices that were utilized by James Brown by working in-house with all aspects of the music production, recording, and concert promotion.  The John-Paul Jones Group is in total control of ½ of its concert series with shows booked in venues that are considered unorthodox.

The band’s leader Jp Jones is a fierce performer, with a barrel house style vocal that go from subtle to growl in at the turn of a pin.   Jp has the voice and presence of a man in charge.  He commands the stage in concert with his fellow members Steven Jones a 30 year veteran of all things percussion and Jesse Price who brings the heavy with his bass playing.  The band is in fact truly drawing from its roots of Blues, Rock, Jazz and Metal to create a sound that is unique, in today’s pop-polished ultra quantized play to tracks karaoke styled popular music.

The John-Paul Jones Group when seen live deliver a raw performance that will have you wanting more.  When you attend a show you see a band where the musicians have command of their instruments and the presentation is so unique it makes you want to come back for more.  This artist absolutely has picked up the Heavy Blues Freak Flag that Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, RItchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower and so many others have carried before them.

Jp is quoted as saying, “The music of the late 60’s and early 70’s is very special to me, the guitarist were each unique and individual.   The recording techniques were good enough to allow for higher sonic quality, but poor enough that you could not create too slick of a recording.”

Furthermore he says, “When you listen to a CD or DVD of the John-Paul Jones Group you are going to get an accurate representation of the band.  When we record its live in the room, the same way as early Fleetwood Mac, and Mussel Shoals recordings were done.  Or Chess Records… all of the most magical records were recorded live in the room.”    Jp tells us this sitting in his CopperTop Studio Hut recording studio located in a small city in southeastern Iowa called Ottumwa.  Ironically home of Radar O'reilly (MASH).

The John-Paul Jones Group under Jp’s leadership over the past 20 years has grown from a young kid with a guitar to a full turn-key production organization.  Everything about Jp’s career is contained within his organization.   Publishing, Licensing, Concert Promotion, Sound Reinforcement, Lighting Systems, Audio Recording, Video Recording, Marketing.  Jp is known for developing talent in both musicians and crew.  
“There have been a lot of musicians who have come and gone and even returned and left again in the John-Paul Jones Group.  The one thing that I was determined to do was to be a musician without sacrificing my quality of life or the quality of life of my three children.   I am an Iowegian as we used to call ourselves when I was a kid in Appanoose County, Iowa.   I have worked all over the country, but Iowa is my home.  I have always been determined to carve a music business out of Iowa.  I had left occasionally over the years to larger markets.   But my quality of life was so bleak that I returned home about 25 years ago.  I have been working on this ever since.  My children are all grown now.  So I have more time on my hands.  I never saw myself starving in a car or getting hooked on drugs, or any of those things for the sake of my “art”.  What I decided was I would work in a trade that could afford me the ability to purchase equipment.   Which I have done faithfully for the past 30 years.  Now I teach electrical engineering and renewable energy program at my local college for the past 10 years.  That has afforded me the time to really develop my business.  The one thing I will say that I have been an avid student of the music business.  Before the fall of MP3.Com I had quite a few sales on that platform.  Success with my other band a progressive rock outfit called Jp’s Eternia.   Now my entire focus for the past 20 years has been the John-Paul Jones Group, we don’t play bars, we don’t hold ourselves out as a cover band, and we work on arrangements, composition, and musicianship.  It is very important that we have an original take on everything we do.  And it's starting to work.”

Starting to work is what is happening.  The band has played the Iowa State Fair last year for the first time on the 90,000 attendance day. Jp is very unique in his approach to the music business, as he is looking to connect with true fans… He states, “I really want to develop long-term relationships with my fans and event coordinators at this point, I want the super-fans who will drive 90 miles to a show, buy a T-shirt or a CD or pay a ticket, but also who will come up to me and say,  Jp we loved the show. 

You will definitely get that feeling when you attend a John-Paul Jones Group concert, this artist is the real deal.  Not many Black American artists are into guitar playing and very few play guitar the way that John Paul “Jp” Jones plays the guitar.  He specializes in using a 7-String guitar.      Jp states, “Ibanez has been my guitar of choice for all of my professional career,  first was a 6 string RG570  then I moved on to USA Custom 6 strings, but on the day of my youngest son’s birth I purchased a UV777BK 7string and I have not looked back.  The 7-string is every bit a part of who I am.  I now exclusively play Ibanez 7 string guitars, because they work for me.  This influence was actually due my following of Steve Vai’s career and everything he would say in interviews.  Steve was the first professional musician who truly opened up my eyes to the DIY style of handling your career.  I have been doing it ever since.”

If you get a chance to check out the band you should visit their calendar page on their website.

“I have been doing this now for 35 years, and yet I feel like I could go another 35 years.  The band is firing on all cylinders and the music makes it all worthwhile.” Jp Jones

The John-Paul Jones Group is also very unique in its lending of its support for charitable giving.  The band plays annual concerts for multiple charities in its area.  Including but not limited to:  Blessings Soup Kitchen,  Veterans of Foreign Wars,  Market on Main Business Incubator, Wapello County Sheriff’s Children’s Shopping Program,  Iowa Donor Network,  Jessica’s Closet.   This band’s audience is so diverse that you can see them booked at a State Fair,  Biker Rally, a Retail Shopping Center, a private anniversary party,  a Blues Festival, a Winery or a theater. 

The band’s audience can range from 7 months of age to 70 years of age.  The unique thing is that they don’t change their style per crowd.  They still play heavy blues. 

On the concept of heavy blues Jp had this to say:   

“I am an American of mixed ethnicity, although on the surface I would be correctly identified as a Black American.  What’s so unique is that I was raised in the country outside a little town called Iconium Iowa.  Which is on the border of Monroe County and Appanoose County Iowa.  I went to school in a small town of about 4900 people called Albia.  Literally 4500 people and at the time I was attending school there, mid 70’s late 80’s  the town consisted of One Asian, Two Native Americans, 10 Blacks and of those blacks 7 of them were my immediate family.  Growing up my culture was a much Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie an Marvin Gay and Ray Charles Chuck Berry, and it was Hee Haw, and All In the Family and Jeffersons,  with my friends at school we discovered Kiss, and Cream and Black Sabbath.  

With my music teachers, I discovered a love of Miles Davis, Chuck Mangione, when I hit college age it was Weather Report, Frank Zappa, Return to Forever, Dream Theater.  But my formative years was also Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Deep Purple…  So to say I had a diverse upbringing is true, I was truly blessed to grow-up with all the same ills that black folks in America have, being called names, degraded etc.  but ALSO learning that not everyone who was different than me was also trying to take advantage of me nor did they look down on me.  Most of my lasting friends I have had were through a love of music.  Music was my area of expertise, and I have worked at it a long-time.  As of today, I see the rewards of my education from a life in music.”

This diverse musical background has one thing in common it influenced Jp to be the authentic heavy blues artist he is as leader of the John-Paul Jones Group.  It would do everyone some good to check out the John-Paul Jones Group website and keep up with their blog and information.  This band is 20 years in the making and worth the wait for those of you who have not seen or heard them yet.

Though the group was featured in recently released Lifoti's September 2019 issue 09, you can check it from below link's for your country:

1 comment:

  1. What a great article thank you for the opportunity to share our story. #johnpauljonesgroup