Genres are defined as “categories of artistic works based on form, style, or subject matter into which artistic works of all kinds can be divided”*. This sort of absolute classification makes me feel a tad uneasy; the thought of something as creatively subjective as a musical composition having a class awaiting upon conception negates much of the individuality for me. Granted this is a view founded on the strictest interpretation of the word, however there does beg the question: how many hyphenations and inflections before a sub-genre becomes representative of one single artist? This is a thought that re-occurred to me with some force whilst listening to the work of singer/songwriter Maddie Jones and consequently I found this a difficult review to write, not for lack of praise but rather for lack of precedent.
Maddie Jones makes no secret of her genre-ambiguity, both personally and in her music, requesting that listeners measure her music against itself as opposed to against any archetype of musical classification – a fair request in my opinion. It is true that her work is hard to pin down to one consummate genre, with noticeable inflections administered by many, however this approach is made entirely redundant by the overwhelming evidence suggesting Jones is creating a hybrid of her own. If I had extend a guess I would suggest the presence of words akin to “like it or shove it” in its title.
Maddie Jones-Me Myself and I
Maddie Jones quite simply makes the music she wants to make. Her sound is refreshingly original and she remains exclusively in control of which aspect of her creative personality we are acquainted with next; her multi-facetedness is her calling card. She is the personification of swagger (before the hipsters hi-jacked it) during her live performances, fully immersing herself in the music and playing her guitar adeptly enough to be mistaken for an extension of her arm. Highly charismatic, she’s the sort of act that makes the corner of your mouth instinctively twitch up into a smile.
Jones’ endearing Welsh charm radiates through her vocals adding even more depth to her already unique tone. Not that I’m biased or anything, being Welsh myself, but we just do it a little differently; not better… I didn’t say that, you did. Her range is impressive, extending to the high and the low, the simple and the acrobatic, the clear and the gruff. She is not afraid to squawk or yell if it fits the progression of the song nor vocally ad-lib a kazoo solo if the need should arise. Maddie Jones is a true performer.
Maddie Jones-Green & Blue
Persona and stage-presence aside the Welsh artist is a gifted composer with a natural dexterity for fluent and relatable lyrics and intricate yet unpretentious arrangements. Having firmly stamped her work with her signature refined quirk I don’t see how any other artist could successfully embark upon a cover. Already with one excellent EP under her belt she is currently working on a new collection entitled “Mr Walrus”, which is set to be released this Summer. Personally I think Maddie Jones could make big waves on the music scene. Her timeless sound certainly carves its own niche.