Victory Music Review, January 2009
Listen up: There’s a new old sound in this town. He’s Son Jack Jr., and he’s aiming to be king of the blues. Don’t stand in his way or bet against him. His kind never goes out of fashion, and When the Devil Calls is classic.
Jack needs no backup: he is so fleet and facile on the reso that at times it’s as if two or three are playing at once. He has an honest, natural, fitting voice for the idiom, sounding earthy and unpretentious but without aping the unrefined or illiterate blues masters of yore. The same
goes for his lyrics, which are modern yet timeless, with the simple directness the music demands but with a contemporary sensibility and erudition. The album starts off with the classic bluesman’s intro, “I’m Son Jack Jr.,”
then delves into some dark themes: old worries that never go away, like the nagging unease of Black folks even in our most hopeful, enlightened era. Jack covers Eddie Vinson’s “Cleanhead Blues” and also Blind Willie Johnson and Skip James (the latter a clear inspiration for much of his work) impressively – he could probably have himself a handsome career just recreating those sounds, say, for
documentaries or for Hollywood. It’s Jack’s originals that stand out here, though, and they are why you should hustle out and get this album and watch for him live in the year to come. (Tom Petersen)
BluesWax, April 2008: Country Blues From The Duwamish Delta, (04/23/08)
Solo acoustic artist Son Jack Jr. calls his music "Country Blues with Attitude." The Seattle-based guitarist, who originally hails from London, has obviously studied the legends of the genre. Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, and also John Lee Hooker have all left their marks on his sound. This 12-song CD, which predates his current When the Devil Calls release, is a solid collection of mostly original material.
Save for the odd harmonica accompaniment, the guitarist does all the playing and singing. He's a strong resonator player with a warm, non-intimidating voice. Though vocally he occasionally comes across as a tad polite for the Blues, for the most part he takes an earnest approach, perhaps the result of his having returned to making music after an extended hiatus. That's evident right from the get-go on the Hooker-inspired "Peace of Mind Blues" and again a couple of tracks later on "Crazy Blues."
The mournful "Dearly Departed Blues," an instrumental, echoes Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night" and is one of a pair of standout cuts. The other, "Howling Poppet" (according to one online dictionary "poppet" is a British term for "darling"), features some of his most impressive percussive guitar playing and an intriguing narrative. Serviceable covers of Robert Johnson, Charlie Musselwhite, and R.L. Burnside round out just over a half-hour of music.
Son Jack Jr. doesn't reinvent or embellish the Country Blues much on his debut release, but his accomplished playing and songwriting skills make him an artist to watch.
John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network) "Every now and then a musical treasure arrives at my door. Not long ago 2 such treasures arrived by the name of "When The Devil Calls" and "Introducing...Son Jack Jr.", both courtesy of Son Jack Jr., an amazingly talented player and singer of the Delta Blues. Fans of the Delta Blues will quickly fall in love with the unique way Son Jack Jr. offers his special interpretation of that style. "When The Devil Calls" and "Introducing...Son Jack Jr." are both hypnotic in nature, and will bring a smile to face and yes maybe even a tear in your eye, especially Track 4 off of "When The Devil Calls", If I Should Fall. "When The Devil Calls" and "Introducing...Son Jack Jr." are a must have collection for any true fan of the Blues...
"...delta blues at it's finest..."
Washington Blues Society
“I love country blues and don’t hear much these days so I was happy to hear the new CD by Son Jack Jr. He must really love country blues because he sure has the feel”. Charlie Musselwhite
A good variety of grooves with some very solid original material. His guitar playing was strong with shades of John Lee Hooker and Blind Willie Johnson. I've become a big fan of the North Mississippi hill country music, so Poor Black Mattie really caught my ear. I like it!"
Rich Del Grosso
Son Jack Jr is a guitarist and singer/songwriter based in Seattle, WA. He has a deep passion for the blues with a particular feeling for Delta blues. Son Jack Jr plays a National Resophonic and Martin guitars.
Son Jack Jr grew up in London, England and has been playing guitar since the age of 9. In the late 1970's and early 1980's he recorded and toured extensively in the UK but stepped out of the music business in 1983 to follow a different path.
After a 24 year hiatus he released his debut CD in 2007 (Introducing...Son Jack Jr) which received critical acclaim and released his hotly anticipated follow up album in February 2008 titled "When the Devil Calls". Both albums showcase his songwriting talent and musicianship to the full.