Laney Jones is the front for the band Laney Jones and the Spirits, a group based out of the boot of Florida. It is important not to underestimate the power of this disarmingly petite, young and downright adorable 24-year-old. What she is offering to the music world, or even the world as a whole, is enormous. This singer and songwriter has been known to waltz on stage with her banjo and completely blow crowds away. Her vocal strength and string-plucking ability are incredible, but her songwriting skills are growing in fame around the country.
Jones describes her music as "retro majestic," and she explains what she means by telling the Source about her love for all kinds of music, including old-timey string bands and rock. "I like a lot of cool music that has some bass, drums and electric guitar. It can create these rich sounds that are still totally rock and roll," she says.
Jones is no stranger to anything with strings. Her primary instruments include the banjo, guitar and ukulele. Occasionally, she works the harmonica into her repertoire, but she is probably most noted for her presence with the banjo and remembers the first time she came into contact with one. "I picked up the banjo and thought, 'Wow. This is an amazing sound,'" she says. She uses both the musical and percussion elements of the instrument. "It can create this sort of beat that can help me with my songwriting," she says.
Jones' petite appearance and young age are a challenge for the musically-inclined Maryland native. "It's easy to get the perception a small or young person doesn't have an emotional story or impact," she says. "I may not have experienced it all, but I can certainly relate. I can put myself in someone else's shoes," she says. Her fans do not disagree, and so far, the first West Coast tour has been an absolute success. "You all [in the west] are more relaxed than on the East Coast," she says. "I can tell that you guys just really dig music."
National acclaim for her writing and performing abilities came in 2014 when Jones won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her part in the song "Still Want You to be Mine." That award and honor will likely be just one of many more to come for this young musician.
Though some musicians lose their grounding when a taste of fame licks their careers, this is not the case for Jones. When discussing her accomplishments, including soundtracks for Disney and Dreamworks, airplay for her album "Golden Road" on countless radio stations, or performing with Alison Krauss, she reflects on the best part. "Getting to walk out on stage and play with my friends is the real highlight," she says.
The friends are her under-publicized bandmates currently on tour with her, including Matthew Tonner, Tre Hester and Brian Dowd. This group is very much looking forward to playing in Bend and would like fans to know, "If you want to talk to us after the show and grab drinks, that's cool. We are personable people," says Jones. Currently nearing the end of its first West Coast tour, Jones and the Spirits are taking it all in stride and remain humble and down-to-earth.
Laney Jones & the Spirits
Sunday, April 24, 9 p.m.
Volcanic Theatre Pub,
70 SW Century Dr., Bend
$8 adv., $10 door