Q&A with Lone Star's bluesman Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones - active supporting role in many influential and popular icons in the blues

"Blues music has made me see the world more realistic. Even though different places have different cultures, we go thru some of the same situations and have some of the same problems."

Andrew ‘Jr.Boy’ Jones: A True Bluesman

Andrew ‘Jr. Boy’ Jones was raised in Dallas, Texas, by his mother Gladys, who was a single parent after divorcing her husband when Andrew was very young. The singer for a big band, Gladys retired to raise her family, and the band’s leader, Adolphus Sneed, stayed with the family as a father figure. Andrew received his first guitar from his mother for his seventh birthday, and he practiced every day. After noticing Andrew’s talent, Sneed bought him his second guitar. Andrew has amassed more than 50 years of experience as a professional guitar player. ‘Jr. Boy’ was in his first professional group, the Thunderbirds, backing Freddie ‘The Texas Cannonball’ King by age 16. In the ’60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, ‘Jr. Boy’ toured the world with several music legends, such as Johnnie Taylor, Tony Coleman, Cornell Dupree, Little Frankie Lee, Bobby Patterson, Russell Jackson, B.B. King, Katie Webster, and Charlie Musselwhite, to name a few.

(Andrew "Jr Boy" Jones & Kerrie Lepai Jones / Photo by Wynter Peguero)

In 1996, Andrew began his solo career and also released the first album in which he was featured as a vocalist as well as a guitar player. He has since released five more solo albums, one of which he released from his own label, GalexC Records and his only live album on 43rd Big Idea Records. ‘Jr. Boy’ has been touring extensively with his blues band all over the country for the past two years, performing at several venues in and around the Dallas area. Andrew and his band have also performed at large festivals and international events. He also produced and played on his wife Kerrie Lepai's record, (Organic Blues) which is also released on GalexC Records. He has toured: Australia, Europe, Canada, China, Chile, Lebanon, just to name a few. Once with his own incredible band. Andrew has recorded an played a very visible and active supporting role in many influential and popular icons in the blues.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Blues music has made me see the world more realistic. Even though different places have different cultures, we go thru some of the same situations and have some of the same problems. That is the reason I have been able to travel to different places around the world. People can relate to the stories, the situations, and wrapped in a style of music that you can feel.

Where does your creative drive come from? What do you love most about the act of writing music?

My creative juices flow when I feel strong about something, and I begin to write about it. I pick up my guitar to put music to what I am feeling.  Writing music is an excellent way to deliver what is in my mind and heart.

It can be slow, or fast, whatever best represents the story. The biggest reward for me is to hear the finished product of what I have created, and to have it sound like what I hear in my head and feel in my heart.

What do you miss and what has made you laugh from the late great Freddie "The Texas Cannonball’ King?

I as well as a lot of people around the world miss Freddie King, Freddie King the man, the artist, the vocal power, musician, and the friend. I met B. B. King, Bobby Bland, Muddy Waters, and across all genres touring with Tower of Power, Rare Earth, Grand Funk Railroad, and met Robert Jr. Lockwood, T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulsom, Big Joe Turner, and many others. I would have to say it was amazing. I had a great time with my bandmates: Benny Turner, Deacon Jones, Lewis Stephens, Mike Kennedy, Alvin Hemphill, and my roommate drummer Charles “Sugar Boy” Myers.

Do you consider the Blues a specific music genre and artistic movement or do you think it’s a state of mind?

I am a little torn over this question. I believe it is both. It has already been classified as a genre, even thou people try to stretch it to fit their style. Nothing wrong with that, It keeps things fresh, as long as it does not borderline to where it is no longer blues.

"Never stop learning. Learn as much as you can about the business. Copy rights, work sheets for your affiliates BMI or ASCAP and so on. One thing I am grateful about is, there are so many ways to get your music heard, and not have to depend on some record executive that does not get your vision." (Andrew 'Jr Boy' Jones / Photo by Dee Hill)

What would you say characterizes Texas Blues scene in comparison to other local scenes and circuits?

I think every blues scene has its influences. Chicago is different from the West Coast. Texas is different from both coasts. You emulate what you hear, but at the same point, when you get real with it, some of you must come out in the music. No matter where you go, they have their own leanings and strong supporters of music.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Never stop learning. Learn as much as you can about the business. Copy rights, work sheets for your affiliates BMI or ASCAP and so on. One thing I am grateful about is, there are so many ways to get your music heard, and not have to depend on some record executive that does not get your vision. My latest release I recorded with my wife Kerrie, called “Jr.Boy & Kerrie’s Blues”. We did it on our label Galex-C Records. It is on all digital platforms and jonebluesband.com.

What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Nothing heavy, but if by chance during your walk thru life, and you hear one of my songs, and my music can help get you thru a rough spot and bring you some peace, then that is what it is for. Ultimately, I would want my music to be meaningful to the listener.

Are there any memories from Albert Collins and Charlie Musselwhite, which you’d like to share with us?

I am grateful to Charlie Musslewhite for another amazing opportunity. I got a chance to co-write “River Hip Mama”, and “It’s Getting Warm in Here”. I got a chance to arrange music and travel the world. We did have some great times. I had great band mates: Tommy Hill – drums, Artis Joyce- Bass and Felton Crews- Bass. We were a blues band of brothers. Tommy Hill is playing on “Jr.Boy & Kerrie’s Blues”. Albert Collins was another inspiration to me. When I was with Charlie Musslewhite and we would be on the same festival with him, He would always speak and say, “Hey Boy, come on into this house”, talking about his dressing room. I showed him a guitar lick, I stole from him. He told me “That’s alright boy, it won’t sound like me. It is going to sound like you”. He told me, “Everybody has got something to say”. I always took that with me. It was very encouraging for me to continue my journey.

Andrew 'Jr Boy' Jones / Photo by Kim Keddy

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