Award-winning blues band plays Saturday at Hoppy Brewer
Ayron Jones and The Way carrying on power trio tradition for younger fans
An old joke goes that blues is black music played by white people. However, a young trio from Seattle is set to turn that joke on its head.
First, a little history. African-American blues players inspired young Brits, as well as white boys like Paul Butterfield in Chicago, to take up their music in the early 1960s.
And out of that sometimes great, sometimes awful series of imitators came the power trio, courtesy of blues fanatic Eric Clapton's Cream.
Cream inspired Seattle ax man Jimi Hendrix to get a couple of Englishmen to back him in his own band. And years later, a young Stevie Ray Vaughan, yet another American white boy taken with African-American blues, formed his own power trio in the Cream-Hendrix tradition.
Little did Stevie Ray know he'd someday inspire a trio of young African-American men from Hendrix's hometown to rediscover the blues and take up its torch for the hip hop generation.
That's right. Ayron Jones and the Way plays no-frills power trio blues, along with other styles, to rival the best of them, and recently won the Seattle leg of the global Hard Rock Rising contest.
The band will help Hoppy Brewer, 328 N. Main Ave., mark its first year of operation by playing a celebration Saturday, May 19. Jazz band the Matt Kirk Trio kicks off the event at noon, and the Hoppy Brewer will be selling some of its rarest brews to enhance the party.
Born to boogie
Backed by drummer Conrad Real and bassist DeAndre Enrico, the raspy voiced Jones seems to have a steady rollin' future ahead, given his deft handling of the guitar strings. His trio released its debut EP this year, the culmination of a long road for Jones.
Born and raised in Seattle, he began playing guitar at age 13. Never taking a lesson or having a teacher, Jones, 25, taught himself to play using the recordings of Vaughan as his guide.
In 2008, Jones hit the Seattle music scene, immediately grabbing the attention of former Hendrix Records Vice President Troy Wright and Seattle Supersonic Shawn Kemp. Together the two gave Jones a weekly night at their club, Ascada Bistro.
Jones has taken his affinity for alternative rock, hip hop and gospel and combined them with the guitar styles of Buddy Guy, Albert King and Vaughan. In 2010, Jones teamed up with drummer Conrad Real and bassist DeAndre Enrico, becoming Ayron Jones and The Way, the only all-black, blues-rock act in Seattle.
The band capped off 2011 by winning 'Best of Show' at the Best of Western Washington awards show. Jones also is working on a project as the guitarist for the band Deep Cotton, under Grammy-nominated pop mogul Janelle Monae's label, Wondaland.
'I've heard of them through one of my customers, and I've seen them on YouTube,' notes Hoppy Brew owner Steve Krause. 'I love blues and rock and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, and they're inspired by them.'
If you go
WHO: Ayron Jones and The Way
WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday, May 19
WHERE: Hoppy Brewer, 328 N. Main Ave.
COST: Free, 21 and over
INFO: 503-328-8474, ajandtheway.com, oregonshoppyplace.com