Howard Jones goes it alone, revealing how ‘New Song’ and other hits were created
By George Paul
The mark of a true musician is whether one can command attention during an acoustic performance.
“I always encourage young artists that I’m mentoring [about how] you have to be able to hold a room on your own — without lights, production, a big band, a brass section or an orchestra — if you’re going to go somewhere,” said Howard Jones, in a phone interview from his home in England. “If you’re comfortable with it, then you’ll go far.”
Howard Jones (Photo by Simon Fowler)
The veteran synth-pop singer/keyboardist just started Solo — The Songs and the Stories, an extensive American tour of smaller-than-usual venues, which includes his first Riverside appearance tonight at Romano’s and several other local shows.
“I like to play in a stripped-down way, with piano and singing, every couple of years,” Jones, 62, said. “I’ve got about 50 songs worked up that I can draw on. It’s the complete opposite of my band shows and really intimate. I talk a lot. I get a chance to show the songwriter side of me. I love it.”
Jones came to prominence during the New Wave era with the jaunty “New Song” in 1983, the first of nine top 20 singles in his native U.K. Two years later, Jones appeared at Live Aid. Here in SoCal, KROQ was an early supporter and multiple top 40 U.S. pop hits including “No One is to Blame,” “Things Can Only Get Better” (from the U.S. platinum seller “Dream Into Action”), “Everlasting Love,” “You Know I Love You…Don’t You?” “What is Love?” and “Lift Me Up,” stretched into the early ’90s.
Many of the life-affirming tunes were originally composed on piano, so this tour will give fans insight into how they were created.
“I can play them in any sort of style,” said Jones. “Depending on the mood I’m in, […]