Broken Windows released on 12th May 2017 is the debut album from Scottish singer songwriter Liz Jones and her band Broken Windows. The band may be new, but there are some familiar and talented faces in this line up – including John Bruce(lead guitar and classical guitar), Rod Kennard (bass), Marc Marnie (drums), and Suzy Cargill (djembe and percussion)…and of course Liz Jones herself (vocals and guitar). Many people will of course recognise the names of John and Rod from the band Blues’n’Trouble.
I managed to catch up with Broken Windows last year when they played the voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, and the 10 tracks on this debut album capture well the essence of the band’s music which firmly has its roots in the blues and vocal sounds of great singers of yesterday like Janis Joplin, but there is a twist to their sound that gives Broken Windows a definitive style of their own. Liz Jones has a classic rock/R&B voice that has a powerful raw but soulful edge to it and with very experienced and skilled blues musicians Rod Kennard and John Bruce in the band line-up those vocal qualities are given a very wide tonal range for her to work with…each bring out the best in one another here.
Broken Windows may have their heart and soul firmly rooted in “The Blues”, but Liz Jones is a skilled enough songwriter to be composing songs and writing lyrics that allow the band to retain those roots while at the same time moving into other sounds. Liz Jones is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects in her songs, or deal with contemporary issues head on, and the track “Broken Windows” is a good example of her abilities as a contemporary songwriter.
This debut album is I suspect only skimming the musical surface of what Broken Windows as a band are capable of musically and Liz Jones as a songwriter can do. It will be interesting to watch how this combination of Liz Jones and the very experienced musicians develops in the coming years.
Review by Tom King