|Fresh off their appearance at the 2020 international Blues Challenge semifinals, where they proudly represented their hometown of Santa Clarita, California, Jim Gustin and Truth Jones (Jeri Goldenhar) are set to release their third album, “Lessons Learned.” The eleven new tracks reflect the group’s diversity, talent and experience growing up in the melting pot of Southern California. The new album is a collection of driving blues, funky soul, sultry jazz and American rock ‘n’ roll that speaks to the tales of wild nights in bar rooms, Sunday mornings in church, times of heartbreak, and years of struggle and the wisdom received that fill the songs delivered by two powerful and emotive vocalists. Gustin and Jones are backed by the muscular rhythm section of bassist Scott Duncan and drummer Chuck Strong, along with versatile keyboardist Steve Alterman, and the dynamic saxophonist Lawrence Tamez.
Produced by Gustin, the band once again called on the legendary California music man, Terry Wilson, to co-engineer, mix and master the project, and invited several special guests to join in the sessions, including Tower of Power trumpeter Lee Thornburg, and Harp Attack man Chris LeRoi Hansen, guitar man Tommy Marsh (Crooked Eye Tommy), sax guru Jim Scimonetti, and Jones’ daughter Jill Hormon, who sang on a few tracks. The whole family gathered at Mystic Mountain Sound Studios and followed the directive inscribed on the band’s logo “Verum Quaero” – to seek truth.
The set opens with a swinging duet that recounts an all too familiar tale in the blues about the aftereffects of having a few too many, ’I’ve Been Drinking.’ Jones takes the reins on the horn driven ‘I Heard About You’ and gives a would-be-suitor fair warning that she is wise to his wily ways. Gustin then frames some topical social commentary over a gritty boogie for his pointed sermon ‘The Truth.’
Jones shows off her dynamic range on the sultry piano-driven jazz ballad ‘When This Ship Sails,’ with Tamez echoing her heartache on mournful tenor sax. Gustin leads the bump and grind of ‘I Hate To See You Go’ with the smoky bravado baritone and wailing guitar of a seasoned bluesman. The duo then offers Shakespearean advice on the rumba ‘Never Forget,’ spelling out counsel on how a gentleman should treat a lady. Jones digs into the driving Memphis soul of ‘All You Ever Bring Me Is The Blues,’ featuring hot solos from Gustin, Alterman and Tamez.
Everyone then gathers on the back porch for an acoustic session, trading stories of those “lessons learned” in youth on ‘Never Too Big For The Blues,’ with LeRoi and Crooked Eye Tommy offering sweet affirmations. Gustin then offers up some Bobby “Blue” Bland styled testimony of his affections on the burning track ‘Rockslide.’ Dulcet piano and saxophone open the passionate ballad ‘My Love Is True’ that builds to an emotional climax exploiting the power of Gustin and Jones’ vocal and theatrical skills. The gospel rocker ‘Three Things’ brings the album to a finale, with its straightforward message that all it takes is a little faith, hope and love to make the world a better place.
On their third album “Lessons Learned,” Jim Gustin and Truth Jones firmly establish themselves in the southern California blues scene and share some of the wisdom they have gained on the journey.
Rick J Bowen
Jim Gustin is a blues singer and guitarist from Santa Clarita California. He has a distinctive, powerful voice; soulful and deep with a smoky rasp, he is a passionate and energetic performer. He is also a very solid guitarist with great tone and a funky feel. Jim has been playing music for nearly 40 years up and down the west coast. His first gig on guitar was at the age of 18 at the Los Angeles Sports arena in front of 10,000 people.
Jeri Goldenhar, aka Truth Jones, has been singing since she was a little girl, although at over six feet tall, it’s hard to imagine her as a knee high, little red-headed child. She has a big voice to match her impressive stature. She can belt out gospel and soul seldom heard from suburban white girls.
Together, they provide a powerful one-two vocal punch that is rare amongst blues acts. They sound great blended together as well as each bringing a distinctive flavor to create the band’s unique sound. They have well written catchy songs that come from the heart and performed with passion.
Semifinalists at the 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN. They have performed at many festivals, events and clubs including, Staples Center prior to an LA Kings game, SCV Blues Festival, Ventura County Blues Festival, Winter Blues Festival, Ojai Blues Festival, Thunder on the Lot, Glory 2016, GIVE-Apalooza, Gracefest AV, Gracefest SCV, Antelope Valley Fair, Porterville Fair, LA County Fair, The Canyon Club, The Rose, The Saban Theater, The Coach House, Arcadia Blues Club, The Birk, Malarkey’s, Sagebrush Cantina, Maui Sugar Mill, and many more.
They have opened for, or performed with many notable performers including; Three Dog Night, Foghat, Tommy Castro, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Chris Duarte, Teresa James, Coco Montoya, John Nemeth, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Delgado Bros, Deb Ryder, Dallas Hodge, Phantom Blues Band, Chris Cain, The 44s, Shari Puorto, Chase Walker, Darrell Mansfield, Ray Goren and many more.