Natchez musician launches RB album

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

His latest album is his best, and Natchez musician Gregory P. Jones hopes it will launch his career to another height.

&uot;The Album Situations&uot; features

Jones on the cover dressed in all white, from the soft brimmed hat on his head to his tailored suit and shirt and dressy shoes &045; a stylish man against a plain black background.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;Single Black Mother,&uot; &uot;Ruff on a Po Man,&uot; &uot; Treat Her Right&uot; and other songs make up the list of titles, and Jones wrote and arranged all of them for his chosen blues and rhythm and blues styles. &uot;I tried rap at first, but that just wasn’t my style,&uot; he said.

His accompanists are among the most accomplished in the business, bringing more pizzazz to the album. They include EZ Ra Brown on saxophone, Mike Russell on guitar, Dale Morris on bass guitar; and Forrest Gordon on drums.

&uot;This album was released last Thursday, and it’s being picked up by a lot of Louisiana and Mississippi stations,&uot; Jones said.

At 38, he is ready for recognition. Almost 30 years ago, when he was 9, he tried to start a band in the Minorville neighborhood of Natchez where he grew up.

&uot;We were just kids making noise, really,&uot; he said. But that was a start.

Early on, his mother and grandmother bought instruments for him. &uot;I couldn’t play any of them,&uot; he said. &uot;I decided my voice was my instrument.&uot;

Working full time at Nissan’s Mississippi manufacturing company in Madison County makes a busy schedule for Jones, who lives in Natchez with his wife and children.

From the plant, where he builds car seats, he frequently goes directly to the Jackson

studio where he records.

&uot;I’ve had people helping me along the way,&uot; he said. &uot;Especially Theo Ealey and Y.Z. Ealey.&uot;

He has had guitar training and has taken voice lessons from Roderick Lewis. &uot;I can go up and down a good range,&uot; he said. &uot;I have a heavy voice. I can sing any note.&uot;

The voice and the musicians backing it up are strong. However, Jones also is especially proud of the lyrics he has written for this album.

&uot;Everyone who has bought the CD loves it,&uot; Jones said. &uot;It speaks to situations we know.&uot;

From &uot;Single Black Mother&uot;:

&uot;She’s your sister, father, brother. She’s your friend and your mother. Working hard everyday Š when you have problems she is always there to show that she really cares.&uot;

And from &uot;Ruff on a Po Man&uot;:

&uot;His children want gifts for Christmas, but he can’t afford them. Money starts getting low; his woman starts to change. And deep in your heart each day you feel the pain.&uot;

Jones knows about losing a job, as he worked at Johns Manville for six years before it closed. He was one of many of those employees who competed for jobs at Nissan. He knows he is fortunate to have been called, he said.

&uot;I work 40, sometimes 60 hours, at Nissan,&uot; he said. He believes in hard work, whatever the job he is doing.

With his music work, he hopes for more than a successful album. He has his own label now and wants to do something important with it.

&uot;I want to be able to open up the label for other artists,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d like to set an example, help get kids off the street and give them something positive to do.&uot;

The album is available at MLK Video Rental & Music World, 319 N. Martin Luther King St. in Natchez; and at M&T’s Video in Fayette.

Bookings and more information on the CD are available by calling (601) 443-8739.