By the end of the year, hopefully, Detroit will know what Ann Arbor has known for a few years: Matt Jones is a genius. That's when he'll finally self-release his album The Black Path. It's a beautifully produced and arranged folk-chamber pop record that shares a lot in common with Ann Arbor compatriots Chris Bathgate and Great Lakes Myth Society.
Even if you think you don't know Jones, chances are you've seen him play. In addition to being a great songwriter and guitarist, he's also a hired gun of sorts, playing drums, guitar and bass with Misty Lynn, Chris Bathgate, Dabenport and Elm from Arm — and even filling in on drums for a few GLMS shows. Hell, Jones has probably been in more bands than he has candles on his birthday cake.
Jones' home away from the stage since last August is a very funky house in Ypsilanti that he shares with his girlfriend (and fiddle-playing bandmate) Carol Catherine Gray, and their cat Ping. It's not just funky because it's a cool, older home; you see, the owner is one Jason Ledbetter.
Local music fans may know Jason as the former trumpet player for Detroit's neo-soul band the Elevations. What they might not realize is that Jason (now a Spirit Airlines pilot) has a ridiculous sense of humor. That would explain the following in Jones' basement: custom platform disco shoes with strobe lights installed, copious action figures, a gum-making machine (with pieces of gum shaped like a life-sized steak), a chalice bedazzled with "PLAYA," and more than a few Dungeons & Dragons games. Perhaps the crowning absurdity is the hovercraft (no kidding) that Jason's friend (and Ghostly recording artist) Todd Osborn stores in the back yard.
Jones (who is a house painter by day) does repairs on the somewhat distressed home in return for reduced rent. Conveniently for Jones, his new pad is easy staggering distance from Ypsi's Corner Brewery. Jones, you see, has been known to drink more than a few label reps under the table (and one in Austin to the point of falling over in the street). Jones cracks, "In Ann Arbor I feel like I have to act appropriately; in Ypsi I can drink my 18 beers and go home."
You can check out Matt Jones' music at myspace.com/mattspainting. Also feel free to buy Jones a beer at his Elbow Room show Saturday, Nov. 8, at 6 S. Washington in Ypsilanti.