Glenn Jones

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  • Cambridge, MA

Artist Biography

"The best guitarist you never heard of." –The Boston Globe

A 30+-year devotee of the so-called "American Primitive" school of acoustic steel string guitarists, Glenn Jones has been playing guitar since the age of 14. He formed Boston pysch-rock band, Cul de Sac, in 1989 and led it on its 20 year journey to nowhere, leaving nine albums in its wake, including collaborations with guitarist John Fahey and Can's Damo Suzuki.

In 2004 Jones complemented the release of his first album of acoustic 6- and 12-string guitar instrumentals, This Is the Wind That Blows It Out, with a month-long tour of Europe and the UK with guitarist extraordinaire, Jack Rose.

Against Which the Sea Continually Beats followed in 2007. Recorded on Martha's Vineyard, the album runs the gamut from the Delta to Appalachia, from bastard classical to cinematic soundscapes. Graceful, subtle, resonating with confidence and power, the album was seen as a significant addition to the "guitar soli" cannon.

Barbecue Bob in Fishtown followed in 2009. Selected by Wire magazine as one of the best 50 albums of the year ("masterpiece"), it saw Jones' focused mainly on the 12-string guitar and introduced the banjo to his arsenal.

The Wanting was released as a single CD and double LP in 2011 on the Thrill Jockey label, making seveeral year end "best of" lists.

Glenn's newest album is My Garden State (Thrill Jockey) which has garnered the best reviews of his career and made NPR's "Best Albums of 2013" list.

He's also just completed a trio album with Chris Corsano and David Greenberger, slated for release in 2014.

Jones has written extensively about the leading lights of the American Primitive guitar style, namely John Fahey (with whom he was friends for nearly 25 years), and Robbie Basho (Jones was friends with the guitarist until Basho's untimely death in 1986, and hosted the guitarist / singer's final tour of the East Coast).

Besides performing with both artists, Jones has written liner notes for five Fahey albums to date, and produced Fahey's posthumously issued 1968 live album, The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick (Water) as well as a 1980 live recording by Robbie Basho, Bonn Ist Supreme (Bo' Weavil) and the issue of demo recordings for Basho's last solo guitar album, Twilight Peaks.

Jones also prduced a five-CD box-set of John Fahey's earliest recordings, Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You (2011; Dust-to-Digital), which Jones worked on for 11 years. The album received rave reviews.

Glenn Jones and Jack Rose toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and the UK, and Jones guests on several of Jack's album, including his last, Luck in the Valley. The Things That We Used to Do, a DVD featuring hour-long solo sets from each artist, and a pair of duets, was issued in April 2010 (Strange Attractors).

Jones has also performed with Peter Lang, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Cian Nugent, James Blackshaw, Paul Metzger, Peter Walker, Meg and Laura Baird, Harris Newman, Sean Smith, MV + EE, Dredd Foole, Sharron Kruaus, Tom Carter, Yo La Tengo, Thurston Moore, Chris Corsano, and many, many others.

Selected Press incredibly adept fingerstyle guitarist whose technique always remains in service of the song... His vigorous leaps are daring but never reckless, and nearly always sublime.

Keith Goetzman, Utne Reader

...establishes the guitar aficionado as nearly being in a world of his own as far as technical prowess and emotional resonance goes... a wonderful and mesmerizing album of masterful guitar work from one of contemporary music's finest... a graceful, nuanced, tranquil affair...

...captivating... Jones' slide work on the resonator guitar sounds especially meaty, and when all six, and sometimes 12, strings start chiming as he fingerpicks, the effect is shimmering.

Mike Shanley, Harp

Besides his determined, dexterous finger picking, Jones uses half-capos and alternative tunings to create incandescent sitar-like sounds... these shimmering musical meditations evoke a wondrous tranquility that's simply soulful.

Linda Laban, Boston Globe

Jones has a solid grasp of the fundamentals, not just of his instrument, but also of music-making in general. He obtains attractive and varied tones from his several open-tuned acoustic guitars, and fashions them into involving, carefully drawn and skillfully paced audio narratives that impart emotions ranging from sweet affection to complicated grief... declare[s] Jones to be a musician whose moment has arrived.

Bill Meyer, Dusted

Jones couldn't be more pliant, blending Old World into New... he dedicates himself to mastery on a downright thrilling listen that threatens to elevate his chosen idiom to renewed prominence.

Kevin Keegan, Illinois Entertainer

...both daring and accessible... Jones is a talent who deserves a larger audience...

Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix

Upcoming Performances

  • No scheduled performances at this time.