Lloyd "Have Mercy" Jones knows the blues. When you talk to him, there's no need for Google, as Jones is a walking encyclopedia of the history of rhythm and blues, from the major and minor players to dates and regional styles. Not only can he describe the differences between each of the styles, he can play them, too. Traditional, Old Chicago blues, New Orleans funk, Memphis soul, Texas blues. You name it, Jones plays it.
"My brother took me to see James Brown in 1964 and that was life changing," Jones says. "Being a drummer, I went right to my teacher and said I want to do 'Sign, Sealed, Delivered.' I want to do the funky stuff."
Jones, now known for his blues guitar chops, started as drummer, joining his brother's band.
"When I got to playing, most of the bands were Chicago blues style. I loved the songwriting, but the rhythms weren't there," Jones recalls. "Why are we playing a shuffle on every single song? Why aren't we playing some Memphis soul and some New Orleans funk? So that's what I thought was missing. I started writing and using those kinds of grooves and finally started a band of my own in 1984."
Jones loves rhythm and blues for many reasons, but one that stands out the most is that it's unique to our country. The diversity in the U.S. brings different flavors, interests and intrigue, which Jones believes is a good thing. The human element of the blues and of music in general acts as a good catalyst for communication. To Jones, rhythm and blues represents American music.
A true road-dog, Jones spends most of his time on the road touring both nationally and internationally. In March, Jones plans to return to Denmark for the seventh time and has been on eight blues cruises. He loves the adventure of touring and meeting different people. Going to different places and touring inspires new ideas for Jones.
"Now, when I go back, it's going back to see your friends. I love making friends and going back to see them and meeting other players, too," Jones says.
Jones recently returned from Nashville with a wealth of new material. As a songwriter with a drumming background, he loves diverse rhythms played by incredible musicians. Expect a variety of different styles of the blues as well as some finger picking and funk grooves with a lot of dimension to it.
Lloyd "Have Mercy" Jones Quartet
Saturday May 20, 8pm
The Old Stone
157 NW Franklin Ave., Bend.
$18/adv at bendticket.com, $25/door.