Music Review: Tami Jones - Velvet & Steel
Tami Jones' music is a like a riveting mystery novel you can’t put down. With each song she sings, she reveals another clue to her soul. Wrapped in her voice is the sweetness and twang of country. The sorrow and guts of rhythm and blues. And the hope and reverence of gospel. When sewn together, Jones is a portrait of strength---a strong woman with a story that needs to be told.
Through different musical genres, Jones' debut CD, Velvet & Steel (Man in the Moon Records), creates conversations on survival, humanity and undying love. Bobby Braddock, who penned 13 number one country songs including Tammy Wynette's "D- I-V-O-R-C-E” and George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," conceived and produced the CD. Velvet & Steel is a harmonious collage that offers something for everyone. In 13 lyrically driven songs, Jones brings back the era of listening to an album from top to bottom and takes listeners on a soulful journey through her life.
The CD opens with “Strong Woman,” written by Braddock. Backed by a funky, rock beat, Jones sings with conviction: “If you’re secure in your masculinity, you won’t confuse weakness with femininity.” By the song’s conclusion, there is no doubt Jones is, in fact, that strong woman. With female empowerment at the forefront of today’s news and culture, “Strong Woman” is this generation’s answer to “I Am Woman.”
"I try to speak with grace, always," Jones says. “There are so many issues right now that are so important---not only women's rights, but human rights all together. I know who I am and can speak strongly.”
In each song, Jones is in control. She says she doesn't want to be a victim. At times that means delving deeper into a lyric. That’s never more evident than in the tongue and cheek “Ready to be Rescued.” Written by Deborah Allen, whose hit “Baby I Lied” set the country and pop charts on fire in the early ‘80s, Jones explains that it’s the woman in the song who is actually making all the moves and saying, “Come get me---on my terms.”
Sometimes to express herself, Jones steps into the past. Whether it’s on the legendary Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do,” Joe Bonamassa’s “Bridge to Better Days” or The Cure’s “Love Song,” Jones taps into the diverse influences that made her the artist she is today.
Jones grew up in a little northwestern town in Oklahoma. For as long as she can remember she had a dream to sing. There was no shortage of music in her home. Jones says her father had a collection of over 5,000 records, which she eventually inherited. While her father gave her the gift of music, Jones says her mother was her advisor, trusted friend, philosopher, and always encouraged her to follow her dreams of singing.
With big stars in her eyes and a suitcase filled with dreams, Jones moved to Nashville. Never one to rest on her laurels, she seized an opportunity to move to Asia. It was there Jones became a headliner singing torch songs at Oodie’s Place, a renowned club in Bangkok. Oodie, considered Thailand’s Father of the Blues, contributes to Jones' new CD on the bluesy “Love’s Been Rough On Me."
But Jones isn't all heartache. There is a playful, enthusiastic side to her that loves to have fun. Jones shines like a mirror ball on the sexy and soulful "Sugar Shack." The infectious disco groove combined with the seductive lyrics, captivated an audience, reaching #11 on Billboard's Dance Chart and #8 on Music Week in the U.K.
The cool and refreshing "Fly On" is not only uplifting; it's a gift. Jones' son, Saxton, wrote the song, but Jones says she sings it to him and for others as a reminder to keep pushing ahead.
The CD concludes with "Maybe Someday." The hopeful anthem about loving and accepting each other was written 50 years ago and remains just as, if not more so, poignant today. Billboard magazine used the song in an article and video to about the Trans community.
“We’re able to have a voice in today’s world. Sometimes it seems like it’s dwindling back, but we have to keep that passion going to have the conversation. I'm proud to be able to do that because there was a time when we couldn't. We need to notice love and how others live their lives---if they're suffering or are in pain,” Jones says.
As an artist, a wife, a mother of three, and a "strong woman," Jones is not looking to fit into one label. She crosses all genres of music and in the process her songs provide a bridge to better days.
"I want to matter. I want to make my existence worthwhile," Jones says. "My goal is to create awareness on love, kindness and human rights. Hopefully I can use my voice to do that." Follow Tami on Social Media: Twitter: @TamiMusicOnline Instagram: @tamimusiconline Facebook: www.facebook.com/TamiMusicOnline/ Website: www.tamimusic.com