Royal Jones ~ A Dear in the Headlights
Home: New York City
By Jennifer Layton
I had the pleasure of reviewing Royal Jones’ debut You Broke the Circle a few years ago, and I’ve been wondering when this naughty funky boy diva would show up again. Circle was full of life and soul, along with tales of wonderfully skanky behavior mixed with upscale-club sophistication.
The Royal Mr. Jones is back with A Dear in the Headlights, and this trip is more polished and sophisticated. The music has taken a massive step up, with killer piano, funky horns, demanding bass, and Motownish female backup vocalists with harmonies to die for. It would be classy enough for the Upper East Side, if Mr. Jones would just put on a tux and behave himself. Fortunately for all of us, he doesn’t.
Take, for example, the groove of "If I Ever Come Down," a sexy, daring dance track. How can you not be drawn in by the rueful line, "If I ever come down, I’ll behave, I’ll be good"? I think this song is actually built around a lyric from another song I liked on the first album. Looks like Jones still hasn’t come down yet. And just in case you think he’s being too vague, please enjoy the next track, "A Little Vice." It’s a languid, dazed little number that starts off with "I’m really stoned, you got the wrong number, but I’m glad you phoned." This is a good song to get stoned to. [EDITOR’S NOTE: We didn’t say that. We don’t even know this reviewer. Drugs are bad.]
Royal Jones and his brilliantly talented team of funksters are obviously having musical as well as lyrical fun, moving from the snappy, playful jazz/funk of "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" to the smoky piano lounge feel of "Echo." The one suggestion I would make for the next album is that the vocals do need to be turned up a little – the voice does get a little overpowered by the instrumentation. However, the sass still comes through. The moods may change, but the attitude-laden yet fun vibe still infuses every song like the smoke from a well-rolled – um, never mind.
Royal Jones' "A Dear in the Head Lights" Recorded in NYC at East Side sound studios ...The eclectic acoustic funk set was produced by Janice Friedman playing keyboards thoughout as well as collaborating on 5 songs.Also featured is the incredible Buddy Williams on drums: Leo Traversa on bass: Rogerio Boccato percussion: Myoshi Marilla and Chevis Packer provide vocal support on several tracks. Guest appearances by Lily White and William Galison complete this well rounded original offering of accoustic jazz/funk. Recorded live , it's indescribable and full of surprises and originality...
Jones quips” they told me to git down.....and I did”....
...somehow in the process of life itself I’ve become jazzy...“Royal Jones a Dear in the Head Lights”-
Excerpt from TAXI review
(the single)“No time like today” by Royal Jones
A memorable hook…first line makes you want to hear more… .this is a great sounding recording...background singers are also great... a fun enjoyable listen....
Royal Jones singer
Janice Friedman piano /keyboards
Buddy Williams DRUMMER
Leo Traversa Bass
William Galison Harp
Lily White Saxophone
Rogerio Boccato Percussion
Myoshi Marilla vocals
Chevis Packer vocals
Mark J Reilly vocals/lyrics
"Ruffle in a bag of plain" (14 songs written by Mark Reilly and Steve Sandberg)
"You Broke the Circle" and the EP "Make Things Nice" all songs produced and co-written by Eric Codee and Mark Reilly
"A Dear in the Headlights" produced by Janice Friedman and Mark Reilly for MBIBEmusic