Album review: "Fading Light"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, May 4, 2012
Local singer-songwriter Justin Jones has the honor of being the first - and, to date, the only - artist on the 9:30 Records label, which is run by 9:30 Club co-owner/promoter Seth Hurwitz. The label got started in 2010 with Jones's EP "The Little Fox," and its latest release is his fourth full-length album, "Fading Light," which features his blend of twangy rock and melancholy Americana.
Jones's greatest asset is the worldliness of his voice. He conveys a strained desperation on "My Father's Gun" and a weariness on "You Saved Me" that belies the sappiness of its title. Jones also understands the importance of the spaces between notes to create poignant moments. "Christmas Night" sets a haunting mood with deliberate pacing and unhurried vocals. The song becomes more intense as Jones slips in and out of a whisper, his voice rich with emotion against the sparse instrumentation.
Jones's music becomes less compelling when he delves into generic rock fare. The unchanging drive of a full band gives "Miracles" a particularly milquetoast feel. The song plods along, lacking dynamic range or variation. "Racine" narrowly avoids that same fate; the band's energy radiates during a swelling instrumental interlude that taps into Jones's strength of building dramatic moments through instrumental or vocal variation.