Jono Wright has another life which I don’t propose to talk about although the title of his debut album may give you a clue. Special Measures is a set of ten guitar instrumentals co-produced with cellist George Shilling who adds bass notes to Jono’s compositions. Self-released albums of guitar music can vary from tinkling pastoral tunes through adaptations of classical compositions to sparky original compositions and driving blues. Their quality can also vary a great deal but Special Measures is towards the top of both lists.
The opener, ‘Rubecula’, is a short, dramatic piece and as the first track that Jono submitted it made me want to hear more. After much toing and froing (mostly my fault) I was able to settle down with the whole album. Jono is an accomplished player and with the help of Gareth Pearson, who adds second guitar to one track, he worked at his craft, playing complex finger style. Skill is nothing without something to say and, while I can appreciate Jono’s prowess I can also enjoy some fine tunes.
‘Ziggy’s Bounce’ is a tune for his dog and bounce is exactly what it does. It’s followed by the stately, echoing ‘146’ inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore’s charity walking during lockdown. Jono plays slide on this one but I really can’t tell you how many instruments he uses. There are a few gimmicks: ‘Last Train’ fades in from the left, rolls across the soundscape with variations on a rolling rhythm before slowing to a stop. I’m glad he didn’t do the obvious thing and fade it out on the other side.
‘Special Measures’ is an elegant tune, which I’m sure means a lot to Jono. There’s a figure in the middle which reminds me of something else and one day I’ll work out what it is. ‘Gone Fishing’ is the duet with Gareth and they obviously had a great time putting it together. It’s a tune that darts here and there, perhaps reminiscent of the fish they are trying to catch and leads almost seamlessly into ‘End Of The Road’. Finally, ‘Sweet Dreams’ is a belated lullaby for his children.
I have enjoyed both Jono’s composing and his playing and I love the use of the cello to underscore some of the tunes. This is a really good debut.
Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/jono.wright.39
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