National newcomer Ayron Jones is releasing his first major lable record, but how did he get here? It was a path riddled with trauma, setbacks and in the end, victories. Listen in as he and Ozz talk about his past, influences and how guitar shaped his identity.
Guitarist & singer Ayron Jones whose songwriting is filled with raw emotion is the new sound of Seattle in 2020. The gritty, genre-blending artist is an amalgam of the incredibly rich history of the city, from Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana to Sir Mix-A-Lot who produced Jones’ first independent record.
Now, Jones is primed to bring his unique sound to the rest of the world with his explosive single “Take Me Away” and his forthcoming album for Big Machine/John Varvatos Records. “Take Me Away” pulls Jones’ diverse influences into a style that is at once both familiar and yet distinctly his own, with firm footing in the nostalgia of rock music. While the tones and musical roots may be familiar, the story is unique to Jones and the struggles and darkness that shaped his art. Jones experienced a tumultuous childhood marred by parental addiction and abandonment; he became a child of the state at age four before coming under the care and adoption of his aunt. While grateful to his aunt and the life she provided, Jones struggled with the emotional effects of loneliness and betrayal, always feeling unsettled from the weight of his past. This is the inspiration for “Take Me Away”. “‘Take Me Away’ was about how music was my escape, how I sometimes felt stuck in my own personal prison of isolation and solitude that I’d constructed for myself. I had such conflicted emotions – my home was a blessing, but also felt like a trap because of my own demons. Music was my release, and from the darkness I could create something beautiful, and not be defined by my history.” This dichotomy is a key factor in Jones’ music overall – his conflicted past informed his songs in ways both dark and twisted, yet also soaring and brilliant. From the shadows there comes light, and Jones channeled his pain to become one of the most talented musicians of his time, and to be inspired by a wealth of sounds and styles. “I think ‘Take Me Away’ embodies the whole record, honestly. Some songs take on heavier notes with a nod to the classic Seattle grunge, some songs will take on lighter notes with a slower R&B touch, and some of its hip hop. Classical music is a huge inspiration in my writing and arrangements as well. And, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Dre – in fact, one of the songs I wrote for the album was inspired by ‘Forgot About Dre’.” Jones’ love affair with music, and specifically guitar began young – he picked up the craft independently as a child. “I taught myself every bit. Never really sat with anybody and had a formal lesson or anything like that. I just sat there and listened to records over and over again.” Cut to 2020, with Jones as one of the most stellar guitarists of the time, and notably renowned throughout Seattle.
Part of the fabric of the Northwest city, Jones has opened for Guns ’N’ Roses at the Gorge and B.B. King,
plus worked with Sir Mix-A-Lot and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and Eric Lilavois at the
iconic London Bridge Studio. The city has championed his sound with consistently sold out shows, and
Jones has been embraced by the city’s wealth of music royalty including Duff McKagan, Mike McCready,
and more. His reach extends well beyond Seattle, playing alongside such acts as Run DMC, Public
Enemy, Rahkim, Jeff Beck, Theory of a Deadman, Robin Trower, and Spearhead, plus notable festival
performances to include SXSW, Sasquatch, and Bumbershoot. This ascent was all achieved as an independent artist, breaking barriers in the rock music world. Jones explains “being a black artist in the rock industry, I was forging a path into establishments and onto tours that had not previously embraced an artist like me. But the one thing that always changed minds and spoke for itself was the music. Years ago, Country and Blues had a baby named Rock and Roll; Rock is the epitome of blending cultures and can be the healing voice to this all. We have more in common than we have apart.”
While he paved his own way, he does honor the collaborators along the way who helped to inspire the
journey. “I had the privilege of working with Janelle Monáe’s Wonderland, and seeing her and her team in action was a pivotal point in my career and inspiring me to do what I do.” Jones also explains “Barrett
Martin is one of the most influential figures in helping me to find that Seattle sound. Then Sir Mix-A-Lot, who produced my first independent album, was a huge leader in my career – I still look to him as a mentor Figure in my life.”
Now, Jones is inspired by the next chapter of collaboration, with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records.
“John Varvatos and Scott Borchetta share my vision for the music, and I’m excited for this next stage of
creativity. It’s the right home for me because I can be myself, and we all share a vision for what’s to
come.” And that vision starts with ‘Take Me Away’; at this time, the words have never been so universally
felt, and once again music unites. -Big Machine Lable Group