JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys
by Renée Westbrook
Most die hard fans of The Pretenders know gossipy and not so gossipy bits about lead singer and rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde’s love life. Most die hard fans also know a great number of her songs tend to be autobiographical.
Well, the latest chapter devoted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s book of love comes in the form of 31-year old Welsh singer/songwriter/guitarist JP Jones. Together with Patrick Murdoch (guitar), Sam Swallow (piano, keyboards), Vezio Bacci (bass), and Geoff Holroyde (drums), they make up JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys.
The opening act for the recent Lucinda Williams concert at Humphreys, the band’s 11 track debut Fidelity! (a chronicle of her May-December relationship with Jones), opens with “Perfect Lover” on which Hynde remains true to her 1950’s do-wop compositional core and old school country music candor:
I smoke and drink and eat too much/and other things I shouldn’t/I’d like to think I’d never touch what other women wouldn’t.
With the exception of “Courage”, which begins meaningfully and even finds some early Pretenders footing, the remaining tunes seem better suited for a Jones solo project. Bottom line? Die hard fans may be happy Hynde is in love again - not so happy with the hit and miss hooks.