North Carolina-based Glenn Jones is a storyteller who is a latecomer, but a promising singer-songwriter with "Ready for the Good Times," his third and most fully realized album. Although he comes from a deep musical lineage, his background differs from most. He was a full-time musician by age 20, but turned to the corporate world to help provide for his family. In his words, "I worked my way up from the mail room to senior VP/general counsel. I worked my way up to the 2 percent and lost it all. And I know what it's like to not have benefits or health insurance and be in the 95 percent. I've lived in a big mcmansion, and I've lived in a two-room shack heated only with a wood stove."
Like his multi-faceted life, the now full-time musician's (Peter Holsapple Combo) style mixes the genres of rock and pop with a few hints of roots country. He needed producer Jerry Brown (Jonathan Byrd, Mandolin Orange, Mipso) to slow him down and let the words and stories flow more freely. Brown also gathered some of the state's best musicians to round out Jones' well-constructed songs. Eight musicians, mostly with acoustic instruments, and three vocalists are in the credits.
His opening "Ripples in the Pond," imbued by Libby Rodenbough's fiddle, is a cry for peace, written on an especially bad news day. Jones' vocals are strong, soulful and brimming with his well-earned wisdom. The title track is an older tune, written just before Jones (who is now sober) almost died after a binge. It was originally done as a fast, loud rocker; slowed here to mid-tempo country at Brown's insistence.
Others tunes cover a wide range of topical fare. There's humor in "My Baby Makes Pie" and "No Fool Like an Old Fool," with a tuba no less. He sings of the hard life of a Mexican housemaid in "I'm Not Francesca" and carries more immigration commentary into "The Other." The duet "Let's Make Some Good Old Days" is a charming love song. Mostly, Jones brings messages of positivity and empathy. He's back to doing what he loves and thoroughly enjoying it. That spirit is all over this uplifting record.