[BLUES PUNK] For a blues musician, Poor Boy’s Soul—the one-man-band project of Portlander Trevor Jones—has a story that’s a PR person’s dream. The young artist learned how to play slide guitar—and learned the fundamentals of blues and folk tradition—while hitchhiking and train-hopping around the U.S.
Don’t mistake that as some sort of stamp of authenticity. This is the same guy who grew up in a nice middle-class home and was bashing out metal and punk tunes at an early age.
That wanderlust has suffused Jones’ new album, Burn Down, with an admirable amount of calm and quiet. As calm and quiet as one dude can get when wrenching out slide-guitar licks while his feet tap out rhythms on a kick drum and a tambourine.
What Jones stresses is his slow, smoldering side. There’s a haunted quality to his guitar playing and slightly shaky vocal performances. You want to believe him as he reassures the title girl on the album’s lovely closing track, “Annalisa,” that she’s capable of chasing off her demons, yet even he doesn’t sound terribly convinced.
Pity, though, that
Jones allows his youth to creep into the mix. He loses sight of his
strengths while showing off the speed of his licks on two busy tracks in
the middle of the disc, “Nails in the Pines” and “Movin’ to the City.”
But like the brief moment of panic that kicks in when you’re worried a
yard bull might catch you hopping a train, the calm is right around the
corner once the landscape starts slowly sliding by.
SEE IT: Poor Boy’s Soul plays Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, Nov. 16, with the Ascetic Junkies and Ezra Holbrook. 9 pm. $5. 21+. He also plays Music Millennium on Sunday, Nov. 20. 5 pm. Free. All ages.