Laurence Jones is one of the hardest-working originals artists on the European blues-rock scene – and now travelling far and wide across with a power trio in support of his latest album, Bad Luck & The Blues.
The new album is his second for Marshall Records, who also supply Laurence with the backline for his huge tones – including the Origin 50 tube amp. His classic tastes with a modern twist reflect in his use of a PRS SE Silver Sky John Mayer signature model.
"With this album, I wanted to record in an old-school way – how they would in the '60s and '70s," he tells us in the video interview below. "With us all in a room together and the live feel, but record with modern equipment… That's what Marshall could provide as well."
The Marshall Origin 50 head became the core amp for recording the album - with a 2x12 cab Marshall customised with Greenback speakers for the guitarist. "I also used it on my last album Destination Unknown as well," reveals Laurence on the Origin. "It was a good staple sound and I knew that it worked – it's a great amp to use. I did bring in a more vintage amp as well, an old '80s JMP 50-watt 2x12 reverb. It's got its own built-in reverb with its own valve, which made it quite unique. But we ran it so far we broke the valve channel! We cranked it that much. The Marshall guys fixed and said they hadn't seen one since it had been brought out.
"That had to go away for about four days," adds Laurence. "So then we went back to the Origin and then after that I couldn't go back to the vintage one because this one sounded so good."
"It was exactly what we were going for – vintage meets modern," he says of the Marshall Origin. "It's got the classic sounds but a modern touch to it, and it just really suited the record.
"You can push it – it's got this nifty effect on the gain where you can pull [the control knob out] and it just pushes the front end more. It's almost like another overdrive. It also has this unique setting called the tilt that gives it a little bit more presence and its own vibe."
For live shows Laurence has been inspired by seeing Robin Trower to request a full 4x12 stack to use with his Origin head.
"I really honed in on Robin Trower as a guitar player," he reveals. "A guitarist I'd not dived into fully buy knew the name. Over the Christmas period I really took to his songs and I watched Robin Trower live at Harmonie in Bonn, Germany, which was quite interesting. It's a venue I've payed at and I know the sound of the stage, he's standing in the same place as me, so it was nice to see what he was doing and how he was doing it with a guitar. I saw he has a 4x12 Marshall stack so I kind of said to Marshall, 'You've got to give me one of those as well!' [laughs]"
"I generally have a nice clean, crunchy sound on there with a couple of overdrive pedals," Laurence says of his Origin setup. "Then I'm ready to go. Anything more than that and it confuses me!"
One of those pedals is the PRS Horsemeat, and his association with the Maryland company doesn't need there.
"It's an amazing guitar – very affordable as well," Laurence says of the SE Silver Sky that's become a mainstay. "I guess I grew up not being able to afford the fancy Custom Shop ones off the shelf, so I guess I'm used to playing the standard [models]. But in terms of this guitar, I A/B'd it to the American ones and actually preferred the SE ones."