Ayron Jones
Guitar World|September 2021
Seattle’s self-taught six-string dynamo talks tone, tension, channeling Tom Morello — and why he considers himself the Bruce Lee of guitarists
By Joe Bosso

ONE THING AYRON Jones makes clear right from the get-go: When he straps on a guitar, he isn’t about to play nice. “I like to attack the instrument,” he says. “I’m almost like Bruce Lee when it comes to playing. Because I’m self-taught, I don’t always fit into the standard forms of expression or what might be acceptable, so I kind of punch my way through.”

He laughs and adds, “Whatever it takes to get my point across, I’ll do it, man. If it hits you upside the head, then I’ll know I did my job.”

The Seattle-based singer, songwriter and guitarist goes bold in the opening seconds of his dynamite new album, Child of the State. Following a tense, turgid guitar riff, he sings defiantly, “I heard you called the f*cking police, ’cause we the baddest band in town” on the rollicking opening cut, “Boys from the Puget Sound.” Clearly, he knows how to make a quick impression. “I definitely want to get your attention, and sometimes that calls for a smack in the face,” he says. “But I don’t want to be seen as some sort of provocateur. I want to promote conversation rather than try to provoke any sort of negative emotions. But sometimes the best way to get dialog going is by being direct. Whatever works.”

Child of the State is Jones’ third album, but in many ways it feels like something of a coming-out party. Following two respectable indie releases (2013’s Dream and 2017’s Audio Paint Job) with his then blues-rock power trio, Ayron Jones and the Way, he went solo last year and signed with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records. The move to a major label is an opportunity he didn’t squander, as Child of the State is a blistering, daring and thoroughly rewarding affair. The album’s knockout first single, “Take Me Away,” an unflinching portrait of his troubled youth that blends grunge, blues and pyrotechnic art-rock guitar noise, landed Jones at the upper regions of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Next up was “Mercy,” a bruising anthem written during the peak of last year’s BLM protests that featured corrosive rhythms and an epic, spiraling guitar solo.

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