By Mark Kemp
Last month, Glenn Jones, founder of the ’90s experimental indie-rock band Cul de Sac, released his latest album of American primitive guitar music, Fleeting. Jones, whose band was notable for mixing musical styles ranging from krautrock to Middle Eastern flourishes into a noisy and adventurous avant-rock brew, creates stunning, almost surrealistic stories in his solo works with just an acoustic guitar, sometimes a banjo, and an astute understanding of effects.
Fleeting includes tracks ranging from the jaunty “Flower Turned Inside-Out” to the meditative “Portrait of Basho as a Young Dragon,” with its reference to the late guitarist Robbie Basho. In“Spokane River Falls,” named for Jones’ birthplace, he fingerpicks a banjo unconventionally, with heavy reverb making it feel as if he’s suspended in air, perhaps hovering over the falls of the title. It’s a remarkable set of music – as most of Jones’ solo albums are – that continues push the American primitive tradition into new directions using a narrative style that’s become his trademark.
AG found this recent interview (with short clips of him performing) that Jones did with the arts center Vooruit, in the port city of Ghent, Belgium. In the video, posted April 11, Jones discusses his previous album, 2013’s My Garden State, and talks about how Jimi Hendrix inspired him to find his instrument, but how John Fahey helped him find his voice. “After hearing John Fahey, I realized that one person with one instrument could kind of tell stories…,” Jones says. “Fahey kind of gave me permission to explore.”
Watch the video and see how Jones allows his emotions to drive his songs and how he fuses his influences into a sound that – after nine albums with Cul de Sac and seven solo albums – has become immediately recognizable as his own.