A Lone Star’s Amazing Flight
“They say don’t call it a comeback, but I say….call it one!” – Jomama Jones.
CD release concerts are always auspicious occasions. However, a CD release concert doubling as an artist’s homecoming carries extra weight. Such was the premise when Jomama Jones recently took the stage at Joe’s Pub.
The brainchild of Daniel Alexander Jones, this ’80s soul superstar has traveled the globe for the past two decades, most recently settling in Switzerland. In 2009, she returned to the US and began writing songs with Bobby Halvorson–who also became the musical director of her comeback show. The result, Lone Star, produced and recorded by Jones and Halvorson, comprises nine original songs, plus an additional contribution from Grisha Coleman. Thus the ninth of February was consecrated, marking the 21st century re-emergence of Jomama Jones in downtown New York–a long way from her Mississippi roots, even further away from the Swiss mountains, but ever so close to her devoted fans.
Flanked by The Sweet Peaches and a five-piece band, Jomama Jones delivered a 70-minute set that warmed the hearts and souls of bone-chilled New Yorkers. “It is a privilege and a pleasure to be back”, she cooed to the deafening applause that greeted her first two numbers, “Jomamasong” and “Endless Summertime”. Sensitive to a socio-political climate that was “inhospitable to soul,” Jones explained her reasons for fleeing the US 25 years ago. “Black power got turned off”, she said simply. “Somebody didn’t pay the bill”.
With the exception of the house-oriented “Roots in the River”, Jomama Jones performed Lone Star in its entirety. From the soul-stirring “Down Down Down” (a highlight) to the heart-stopping beauty of “Lilac Tree”, the new wave rock of “Uninvited Guest”, and the coy and clever “Show Pony”, Jones worked the sold-out crowd over with an intimate rapport and disarming stage presence. Bathed in aqua blue light, Jones dedicated “The Mermaid” to the late Ana Sisnett and later thanked Rhonda Ross Kendrick for championing Lone Star from the page to the stage. In between, Jones graciously turned the stage over to The Sweet Peaches (Helga Davis, Grisha Coleman, and Sonja Perryman), whose performance of “Soul Uprising” intersected with “Uninvited Guest” and “Show Pony” as audience favorites of the evening.
“Pin your wish on me, I’ll carry it high”, sings Jones on the title track of her album. If she should make an appearance in your neighborhood, bring your wishes with you and join her for an amazing flight.
(All photos by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo)