On February 26th, 1982, a tragic car accident while returning from a gig ended the musical career of singer-guitarist Nic Jones, one of the brightest stars on the British folk scene. Although Jones had recorded a series of stunning albums, most are now long out of print and nearly impossible to find. As a result, one of the finest folk musicians of the 20th century, a man whose peerless arrangements of traditional and modern songs and highly original guitar playing have influenced an entire generation of the UK’s leading folk-oriented performers, including June Tabor, Martin Simpson, Martin Carthy, and Kate Rusby (and US musicians such as Bob Dylan, who recorded a version of Nic’s “Canadee-i-o,” a song included on this new CD), faded into relative obscurity.
In 1999, leading a resurgence in interest in Jones, John Wesley Harding set aside his own songs and recorded Trad Arr Jones, a tribute to Nic’s repertoire, arrangements and performances. With little more than acoustic guitars and occasional accordion, Harding navigates through ageless tales of unrequited love in which women are maidens and men are sailors forever lost at sea. Recorded over three days in a Seattle studio, Trad Arr Jones is a deceptively simple but powerfully immediate collection that casts its creator in the troubadour tradition. Standout songs include “Little Musgrave,” “William Glenn,” “Master Kilby,” and “Annan Water.”
Like Wes’s Awake CD, reissued in expanded form by Appleseed in 2001, Trad Arr Jones fell victim to its original label’s collapse soon after release. And, like our version of Awake: The New Edition, Trad Arr Jones has been remastered and expanded, with four bonus tracks. In contrast to the first Trad, the newly added songs are performed by The Minstrel in the Gallery, a five-piece electric band fronted by Wes. These songs veer dramatically from the soft acoustic focus of the original album while still honoring the grace and invention that infused Jones’ original arrangements. According to Wes, Jones himself gave him “the impression that . . . [Jones] had expected the original project to rock out a little more.” So when Appleseed offered to reissue the CD and suggested adding some extra tracks, Harding had no doubt how he wanted to record them.
follow this link to the trad arr jones songbook