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The Wanting

Thrill Jockey
Thrill 271 - 2011

EU/UK customers please order through anost.net

2xLP version packaged in gatefold jacket with notes and tunings for each song and free download coupon.  CD version comes in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package and includes a 4 page booklet with notes and tunings for each song. 

The Wanting, Glenn Jones’ first album for Thrill Jockey, was recorded in a fourth floor apartment on Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, overlooking the commuter train line. If you listen carefully to the record, you can occasionally hear trains going by in the background. Reuben Son recorded the album between December 12, 2010, and April 20, 2011. The Wanting was mixed and mastered by long time collaborator Matthew Azevedo. Simply put, The Wanting is a collection of original compositions for solo acoustic steel string guitar, six-string, 10-string and bottleneck, and 5-string open-back banjo. A little background and context may help. So in his own words:

“The ‘60s, as has been drummed into our heads to the point of tediousness, was a period of musical growth and exploration. And while there does seem to have been something in the water back then that everyone of a certain age was sipping, I came of age late in that decade. In 1967, my head was blown off by Jimi Hendrix’s second album. After hearing it, I bugged my old man till he bought me my first guitar. I was 14. Today, I consider myself to be part of a tribe of acoustic finger-style guitar players whose main inspirations are the “American Primitive” or “Takoma school” guitarists, those centered around John Fahey.

The model par excellance, and the fountainhead, John virtually single-handedly created a style of solo guitar playing, as well as an audience to support it. He was also, for people like me, the inspiration to try making some kind of coherent music utilizing the acoustic guitar myself. Playing like the people who influence you, however, only gets you so far. No matter how much one loves a particular player, or how long one studies their work, it’s all but impossible to beat them at their own game. You’re always at a disadvantage. Better, therefore, to make up your own game, devise your own strategies, invent your own rules. This is what Fahey and Robbie Basho did, as well as such lesser-known players of the early-to-mid ‘60s as Max Ochs, Harry Taussig, Fred Gerlach, Dick Rosmini and others.

As I got more into the instrument and began listening to the music of guitarists of all kinds, I found that the “Takoma school” players were decidedly different from other guitarists. Despite the fact that many guitarists were technically more adept, polished or sophisticated than the American Primitives, what I like about the latter was the fact that their music was not about virtuosity for its own sake, but, rather, was a way to express some kind of feeling. Though every record I make is a ready acknowledgement of my debt to the guitarists I learned from, I strive to create music that is my own. “Strive” is perhaps not the right word. It sounds like I’m trying to do something, whereas, from where I sit now, this many years down the knife-edge, what I do is what I do: there is no trying, there is only the need to play everyday, and to create something that validates me to myself.”


The Wanting explores some of the possibilities of open tunings. (I stopped playing in standard tuning more than 25 years ago now.) I’m always digging under rocks and looking for something new, unfamiliar, unknown. I can’t help it. The discovery of new tunings inevitably leads to new compositions, the composition being, for me, a way of navigating a new and unfamiliar terrain. The more I learn about a tuning, however, the more bored I become by it, and this boredom sends me scurrying, again, for something else. This is why almost every one of my compositions is in its own tuning. I invent a tuning, find a way to get from Point A to Point Z in it, and move on.”


“My last album, Barbecue Bob in Fishtown (my third solo album) was the first album on which I played banjo. Since taking up this (great!, great!) instrument a couple years ago, I’ve become more and more enamored of it. I don’t play the banjo according to Hoyle however, that is, in any of the prescribed styles, mainly because I can’t. (I’m not playing clawhammer or bluegrass or classical banjo.) This pleases me, because what I do feels like mine.

The Wanting has three new banjo pieces on it. All of them, for whatever reason, are relatively short in comparison to my guitar pieces. I also think they give the album its varied feel – they’re a nice complement to the guitar pieces, which tend to be longer and more emotionally complex. The other piece that is a bit of a departure, perhaps, is the last track on the album, the 17-minute long “The Orca Grande Cement Factory at Victorville” (the title is an homage to John Fahey’s “The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California”).

The piece is a duet with drummer Chris Corsano, who I first heard at the Brattleboro (Vermont) Free Folk Festival of 2003, a watershed event. It was my discovery of a kind of grassroots, underground music that embraced folk forms and free jazz. It struck a blow against the “boy’s club” feel of so many of these kinds of events; here there were as many powerful and uncompromising women performers as men. It was at this festival I heard for the first time Jack Rose, MV + EE, Christina and Tom Carter, and many, many others, including Chris Corsano, whose spectacularly confident, over-the-top drumming belied his youth by at least a decade-and-a-half. When he agreed to accompany me on this piece, I knew two things: 1.) whatever my expectations might be, he would surprise me, and 2.) whatever he came up with would make me sound better than I am! I couldn’t be happier with the track, which destroys me every time I hear it.”


All my album covers are kitsch. The cover of my first album, taken from a century old postcard I found, was of a depressed looking chicken playing the guitar. The image appealed to me for two reasons: 1.) it felt like a way of not taking myself too seriously (or, more truthfully, of giving the appearance that I didn’t take myself too seriously) and 2.), it was a way to avoid having a picture of myself on my album covers, which, to me, is the height of conceit. (If you’re Lady Gaga, OK, put a picture of yourself on your album cover. If you’re me, a depressed chicken is the way to go.) What I didn’t realize is that that first obscure postcard would lead to other obscure postcards. And I have to say, this pleases me too.


Before embarking on his solo career, Glenn put out nine albums with the Boston based psych band Cul de Sac over the course of their 20 year history, some of which included collaborations with Damo Suzuki and John Fahey.

“… an incredibly adept fingerstyle guitarist whose technique always remains in service of the song… His vigorous leaps are daring but never reckless, and nearly always sublime.” – Utne Reader

“… captivating… Jones’ slide work on the resonator guitar sounds especially meaty, and when all six, and sometimes 12, strings start chiming as he fingerpicks, the effect is shimmering.” – Harp

“Jones has a solid grasp of the fundamentals, not just of his instrument, but also of music-making in general. He obtains attractive and varied tones from his several open-tuned acoustic guitars, and fashions them into involving, carefully drawn and skillfully paced audio narratives that impart emotions ranging from sweet affection to complicated grief… declare[s] Jones to be a musician whose moment has arrived.” – Dusted

“… both daring and accessible… Jones is a talent who deserves a larger audience…” – Boston Phoenix


This Is The Wind That Blows It Out (Strange Attractors Audio House) 2004
Against Which The Sea Continually Beats (Strange Attractors Audio House) 2007
Barbecue Bob In Fishtown (Strange Attractors Audio House) 2009



  • 1 A Snapshot of Mom, Scotland, 1957
  • 2 The Great Pacific Northwest
  • 3 The Great Swamp Way Rout
  • 4 Anchor Chain Blues
  • 5 Even to Win is to Fail
  • 6 My Charlotte Blue Notebook
  • 7 Menotomy River Blues
  • 8 Of Its Own Kind
  • 9 The Wanting
  • 10 Twenty-Three Years in Happy Valley, or Love Among the Chickenshit
  • 11 The Orca Grande Cement Factory at Victorville

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