By Liz Tracy
By David Rolland
By Alex Rendon
By Terrence McCoy
By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
Samantha Jones ought to be a familiar name if you've ever dug the Central Florida music scene. From her stints in punk/indie bands like Crustaceans and Bitchin' to her most recent bass/vocal work with Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard's alt-country-punk side project, Rumbleseat, Jones likes to keep musically active. Her personal project, Cassette, is a turn away from these past ventures armed with her guitar, surrealist/intelligent lyrics, full-ranged vocals, and a handful of Gainesville-area friends, Cassette's first album is a well-done, fully realized ten-song platter.
Though Cassette live is more often than not Jones' self-strummed guitar, here she keeps the rhythm section of Gabe Galvin (drums) and Matt Radick (bass/cello) on an even keel, and an occasional harmonica or piano sees its way into the mix as well. Jones maintains the wider instrumentation at a decibel level slightly below her voice a voice that fluctuates appropriately with the flows and ebbs of the music. And that's a proper aquatic metaphor, since these songs are arranged to follow the oscillations of water and the seasons.
Opener "Access to Me" has a residual melancholy that imbues the rest of the album with nice, intimate warmth. Jones vocally steps it up midway through with tracks "Summer to Snow" and "North of the Carolinas" before delivering a peppier back half with "Thirst Like Water" and "Rise On, River."
Often compared to Emmylou Harris, Jones is closer to another Bakery Outlet artist, Erin Tobey, though Jones turns in more soulful inflections. Overall, Cassette succeeds, giving Jones a solid lead into the Central Florida spotlight. Her honesty and charisma ensures she'll retain the post for a long time.