The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2014 Records

Reviewed by Greg Beets, March 14, 2014, Music

The Jones Family Singers

The Spirit Speaks (Arts+Labor)

Hailing from Bay City, the Jones Family Singers bring more than just a joyful noise. The three-generation gospel collective's high-energy performances are the living embodiment of the indelible connection between the black church and its rock & soul offspring. Produced by John Croslin and Eric Friend from Austin's Reivers, The Spirit Speaks compiles material dating back to the late Eighties alongside a few newly recorded songs. With radiant conviction, Alexis Jones summons all comers to higher ground on hard-swinging opener "Down on Me." JFS patriarch Bishop Fred Jones brings Ezekiel 37 to life with a commanding reading of "Bones in the Valley." Musical director Fred Jones Jr. provides robust arrangements, while drummer/grandson Ian Wade lays into the snare with remarkable thickness throughout. While The Spirit Speaks can't capture the full spiritual lift of the group's live presence, it's a convincing edict to catch their show forthwith. (7:30pm, St. David's Bethell Hall)


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