To see Ayron Jones and the Way live, is to be transported to another musical time. A time when young men spent hours learning to shred guitar, instead of playing Guitar Hero. I was able to experience this phenomenon personally when Ayron Jones and the Way played in Bellingham this summer. The band headlined at Downtown Sounds, a series of outdoor shows in downtown Bellingham held every Wednesday in July. Ayron Jones and the Way electrified the stage with their version of rock, blues, soul and magic. Captivating the crowd with their classic-sounding tracks like “Feedin’ from the Devil’s Hand” and “My Love Remains,” the audience hanging on tight to their impeccably rehearsed, soulful sound. Jones even crowd-surfed with his guitar in hand. As seen in the picture above. If there was anyone in the crowd that wasn’t an Ayron Jones and the Way fan to begin with, they were almost certainly converted.
Ayron Jones and the Way got the most out of their PNW touring season. With shows all over the Washington, from Sasquatch! back in May, closing out opening for blues legend Walter Trout in Burlington on October 10. It’s a wonder the band finds time to sleep, let alone do interviews. But Ayron is apparently a master of time-management, in addition to guitar and vocals. Because he was able to take time to speak with CULTURE, so enjoy.
When and how did Ayron Jones and the Way get started?
Ayron Jones: Ayron Jones and the Way has been around for plenty of time. Our start was back in 2010, when we got together and started working at this bar, and they decided to give us a weekly show there. So we kind of started to establish ourselves there. Then we made the decision to start jumping on different stages and start establishing ourselves as a real, you know, “act.”
Where are you guys all from?
I’m from Seattle, DeAndre is from Seattle and Kai is from Portland.
Which artists have influenced your sound, both growing up, and more recently?
Well I grew up in Seattle’s Central District. It’s the same neighborhood that produced artists like Quincy Jones, Kenny G, Ray Charles and Jimmy Hendrix, who have all influenced me. But also Michael Jackson, grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. They all directly affected the way I heard, played and wrote music. And for more current artists, there’s nobody super current right now. But the Jonny Lang’s and Kenny Wayne Shephard’s—those cats were very influential as well with what they were doing. And I kinda see myself as taking something they started, and touching on it, and taking it to another level.
How has the “stoner” culture of the Pacific Northwest impacted your sound, and even your creative process?
It’s actually impacted it greatly. You know, I’m kind of scatterbrained at times, and my mind goes a mile a minute sometimes and I talk really fast. I don’t really have the longest attention span for things. So smoking has really helped to slow me down, and let me process my mind and my thoughts. And then take those, and interpret them, and go and put them down on paper in a way that people can understand. I really think smoking weed is a communal thing. And it’s a thing that makes people connect more, so right after I smoke is a great time to write to people, for people. Ya know?
What is your favorite artist to listen to while using cannabis?
Oh goodness, it kinda depends what I’m in the mood for. My life’s pretty chaotic. I’m around loud music, and people all the time. So when I’m at home, I like it peaceful because it’s my time to rejuvenate and rest. So I’m really into British female solo singers, like Adele, Amy Winehouse, Duffy. So those are the artists that I like listening to when I’m chilling. But when I’m in more of a rock mood, I might listen to Fishbone, I may listen to some Nirvana. Maybe some Jimmy Hendrix. Or Gary Clark, Jr. is another fun one. If I’m in the mood for some jazz, maybe some Ray Charles.