In October 2014, James Elliot Jones was at a crossroads. Six months earlier, he’d moved to Portland, OR via Austin, TX to join the touring line-up of Portland-based rock band, Battleme, as they started a six month stretch across the US. He didn’t bring much; a few bags of clothes, several guitars and an amp. In a way, he was restarting. It was the kind of reset that brings about the most clarity; little thought, all hope. So when September rolled around, fresh off the last week of supporting Veruca Salt, James “JJ” Eliot Jones, did what any true songwriter does.
Having spent several decades as a touring musician, Jones knew a thing or two about songwriting. He’d already been signed to Interscope, worked with Jimmy Iovine, played in Butch Walker’s Marvelous 3, owned a studio in Atlanta with Walker and David Cobb, co-wrote songs with some of Nashville’s best singer-songwriters, and even opened for AC/DC at an Elektra Records party, yelling, “AC/DC rules!” to Brian Johnson as he passed him backstage. And then, in the intense silence that followed each long run of tours, he wrote.
Amassing well over 20 songs, he rounded up a few of his Portland friends; Pauli Pulvirinte (Elliott Smith), Chad Savage (Huntingtons, Battleme), Ryan Lynn (Mission Spotlight), enlisted Matt Drenik (Battleme) to produce, and headed into Colin Hegna’s (Brain Jonestown Massacre) Revolver Studio to cut his first solo record in a decade. Ten days later, The Needs was born.
What came out of those sessions was half Americana, half Rock n Roll, all heard through the lens of Jones and his torn up characters, scarred and bruised, yet all ascending to what’s left of his American dream. Whether in the simple, yet outlaw cry of “Black to Blue” to the psychotic swirl of “Evil Twin”, Jones has an uncanny ability to frame his songs as tiny vignettes, perfectly aligned, offering a vivid look into his own psyche. And no truth is greater than the one heard on, “Green Pastures”, where the softness channels the late Townes Van Zandt over the simplest of themes, “won’t you tell me something like, maybe I’ll just do. I just feel so hopeless when I hang around with you.”
The Needs is:
James Eliot Jones /Lead Vocals.Guitar
Scott Noben/ Drums Percussion
Ryan Lynn/ Pedal Steel.Lap Steel/Bass