Durand Jones came from humble southern gospel roots. He attended college at Indiana University in Bloomington and it was there he met drummer Aaron Frazer & guitarist Blake Rhein. The three began writing soul tunes and recording straight to tape. Little did they know that they would become Durand Jones & the Indications & release their debut album on Colemine Records. Colemine has been serving up sultry soul sides for almost a decade including lost gems, funk floor fillers, deep soul bangers, and latin grooves with an inexorable DIY approach and a pristine level of taste. Durand Jones & the Indications self-titled LP continues this tradition of quality authentic soul music from the independent Ohio label.
The LP opens with “Make a Change” a funky deep soul song reflective of the current socio political temperament of our country. It’s not a call to arms, more a cry to listeners that only we can make a change; and Jones delivers! Another standout track is the sweet soul ballad “Can’t Keep My Cool”. There is something delicate & reflective in Jones’ lyrics & voice and the Indications compliment that feeling superbly. Other sweet soul highlights include “Giving Up” & and the powerful “Is It Any Wonder?”. The former is a ballad deserving of a Lee Fields cover & the latter is a soft soul tune with long moody horn rolls & a guest (Frazer) falsetto that steals the show. “Now I’m Gone” unleashes the funkier & fuzzier side of the group with minimal rolling piano stabs layered with some stellar guitar work. Honestly, a record like this is hard to describe in words. Mentioning just a few tracks seems unbecoming, as this is a record that will be talked about for years to come.
As he winds through the roads of soul music performing deep and sweet soul songs along with funkier tracks like the Curtis Mayfield-esque “Groovy Babe”, Durand Jones & the Indications leave you with a warm heart, refreshed ears, & salivating for more. This is an album every soul music collector should own. Jones vocals are authentic and heartfelt which are essential for any soul singer and his band is absolutely phenomenal. From start to finish Durand Jones & the Indications deliver a complete knock out soul music performance. And there is nothing annoying on the record. No cheesy lyrics. No humdrum choruses. No annoyingly indulgent bits of over-singing. This is modern retro soul at its finest in 2017, and there’s no surprise that it’s an exact reflection of the 60s.
Durand Jones & the Indications “Make a Change” video
Durand Jones & the Indication “Is It Any Wonder”