Across the Table with Laney Jones & the Spirits

Originality is hard to come by in the music industry today. There’s a fine line between admiration toward another artist and wanting to be just like them. While I was waiting for my iced coffee at the Frothy Monkey yesterday, I couldn’t help but listen in on the man’s phone conversation next to me.

“There’s no such thing as original,” he said. “We’ve all been alive for too long. There’s nothing left that’s new to try, so it’s impossible to be unique.” As much as I disliked his comment, especially geared toward music, like most things in this town, I really had to think about whether or not I agreed with that statement.

Then I remembered the band I was about to interview. Raised on an exotic animal farm in rural Florida, there’s nothing about Laney Jones that clones another artist. She writes about all emotions, raw  and pure, with a voice that narrates each story as if you’re living it. Backed by her band, the Spirits, Laney’s live performances encompass her multi-instrumental skills on the banjo, ukulele, tenner guitar and harmonica.

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“My co writer and partner Matthew Tonner and I have been playing together for about 4 years now,” Laney said when I inquired about the meeting and forming of their dynamically arranged band. “We both met as songwriters and he really wanted to play guitar for me. There have been many lineup changes over the past few years but the goal for me has always been to get my music out there and have a ton of fun on stage. My current band features Matt, Tre Hester on bass and backing vocals, and JJ Jones on drums. I’m super excited about the sounds this group is making!”

Now that we know how they formed – it’s important to know how they created their identity. There is usually always a story behind a band’s name – this one happens to revolve around the girl that writes the stories.

“Once again these are primarily my songs, and I put two albums out under just my own name. I realized that I love having a backing band and it adds so much to the show. Initially the band was called the Lively Spirits which is just a name I liked. This year we shortened it to Laney Jones and the Spirits.”

The mystical aesthetic that comes from this bands name translates into their whimsical arrangements and tell-tale lyrics. Every song feels like the first chapter of a good book that you just want to keep reading cover to cover. Yet somehow, by the end of a track, you’re left with a resolution you never saw coming. Laney & the Spirits manage to get you hooked and give you a conclusion within a four minute timeframe, better than most authors can with 200 pages in a book.

“I’m definitely the primary songwriter with Matthew co writing on a lot of songs,” Laney added in when talking about the storylines of their music. “I’ll usually come up with the spark of an idea that gets us going and once we get the form together we bring it to the band.”

I shared with Laney that my favorite song of theirs at the moment is Broken Hearts. There is so much emotion packed into every “punch.” You can truly picture a scene unraveling before your eyes just by the tonal quality in Laney’s voice and the perfect pairing of instrumentation.

She was pleased I was a fan of that track, but I wanted to know which one she loved the most.

“Lately we’ve all been rocking out to my new song called ‘Allston.’ It’s a great, danceable anthem that’s super easy to get stuck in your head and sing along to.” Pretty much the theme behind all of their music. “It’s also really cool to hear
people humming or whistling after we’re done playing it!”

“This year was our first Americana Festival. The most immediate goal is always just to put on a great show that makes people happy, but of course we are also hoping to impress some big talent buyers and attract interest for our new album which is coming out early next year.”

Piggybacking on Americana Fest, this interview is just a small taste of the awesome personality and music this band encompasses, so they haven’t heard from those “talent buyers” just yet, I’m sure they will very soon. (WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE WAITING FOR?) End rant.

As far as their favorite place they’ve ever performed goes…

“The Station Inn was a fabulous experience and it was humbling to stand on the stage where legends have performed, along with some living legends who were there that night. Also when I got to meet Alison Krauss at the Kennedy Center.. That was pretty cool,” Laney laughed.

Check out the video for that dance anthem, ‘Allston’ and get a feel for the energy these kindled spirits possess live.

The band will be on tour around the Midwest and east coast through Thanksgiving including another stop in Nashville. So check their website to show your support!

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