Fresh off being an OBJ Forty under 40 winner, Ottawa blues musician J.W. Jones has signed a deal with the same label that has been home to Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Pinetop Perkins.
Ottawa blues musician J.W. Jones
Mr. Jones said Blind Pig Records is an institution in the blues world and will be able to get his new release, Belmont Boulevard, into the hands of people with whom he didn’t have contact before.
“It's a huge step up for me because with the label comes excellent promotion strategies and one of the best publicists in the business … When a Blind Pig package lands on these desks, it’s much more likely to be opened than if it was coming from an artist directly,” he said.
Mr. Jones has experience going it alone. He released his previous album, Seventh Hour, independently after being on three other labels for his first six records.
And while Seventh Hour did have success, selling more than his previous records, Blind Pig was a deal Mr. Jones couldn’t pass up.
“Having the right label is more important than having any label,” he said.
Mr. Jones said he started pitching Belmont Boulevard as soon as the rough mixes were complete. He said he had a number of offers, partly because the record was produced by Nashville-based, Grammy Award winner Tom Hambridge.
After weighing the offers, he cut it down to two, and Blind Pig won after Holger Peterson, a CBC radio blues host and owner of Stony Plain Records told Mr. Jones a deal with Blind Pig would be a “great move.” Mr. Peterson works closely with Blind Pig, as Stony Plain is the Canadian distributor for all its releases.
Mr. Jones said he didn’t want to “sign his life away” so he passed up a larger deal in order to retain ownership of the master. He instead signed a licensing deal with the label.
“Being a younger guy and not knowing what will happen in the future, I would like to own my own destiny,” he said.
The deal covers this album and the record company has an option on the next one, giving it first right of refusal, Mr. Jones said, so the two parties can work together and hopefully build a long-lasting relationship.
Mr. Jones said advances are rare these days, but he did get one. It’s part cash, part product. He gets 1,000 copies of the album to sell direct, but declined to say how much money he got.
“I’m not the kind to kiss and tell,” he said.