SJ 3-8 No doubt you’ve seen his name around town quite a bit, but did you know Shawn Jones was once managed by Waylon Jennings? True story.

No R.S.V.P. necessary

Shawn Jones to celebrate his new release with a real party

By Chris Jay 03/08/2012



The CD-release party. It’s the local artists’ secret weapon to enhance their draw and give the audience a “can’t miss” reason to come see them, despite the fact they may already be playing regularly in the area.

CD-release parties are a sure-fire way to get lazy friends, unsupportive family members and even one-time-only attendees like neighbors and co-workers to get a babysitter and come out for the night. 

It’s a double-edged sword, though. There have been several recent examples where a local artist packed a venue to the gills at a CD-release party only to play the same place a few weeks later to a handful of people and a disappointed booker who negotiated pay based on the previous show’s attendance.

Hell, in the year 2012 even the event’s name can be fairly misleading.

For starters, CDs are virtually disappearing, as a quick trip to the Oxnard Best Buy can attest to. The Buy, which once boasted one of the biggest CD selections around, recently shrank its stock to two small aisles in the back corner of the store.

Also, due to the still-expensive cost of CD manufacturing, at a time when audiences get their music digitally and most likely illegally, you’ll often find artists having a CD-release party, only to find out there is no actual CD at the show and it’s only available as a digital download. Apparently “digital download-release party” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

And as for the “party” aspect, let’s face it — it’s more often than not just a normal show at a venue you’ve seen the artist at multiple times and playing the same as always. That’s why it comes as a surprise that the most interesting or, at the very least, the most authentic CD-release party in recent memory is coming from an unexpected source, local blues-country-rock guitar guru Shawn Jones.

A full-time Ventura resident now for close to three years, Jones often gets lost in the local picture, and it’s because of the one reason he should be best known for, he is a legitimate working musician. Through talent and nose-to-the-grindstone hard work, Jones makes his living as a professional musician. While that may not seem like much, in this day and age it’s a remarkable feat.

Though many locals know Jones primarily as one of the W20 Lounge regulars, whether solo or with his band, Jones has quietly amassed an impressive resume outside the 805. From TV and film placements for his solid songwriting to touring in the United Kingdom and performing alongside some major names in music, including B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt, Jones has avoided the musician’s curse: the day job.

That’s what makes the release party for his fifth album, the excellent, Struggle Makes You Stronger, so interesting and appealing.

First and foremost, Jones, will actually be releasing a CD which will be included with the price of admission. He’ll be performing the record in its entirety with a massive seven-piece band and some special guests. With Jones having recently written and performed with artists such as Deana Carter and Grammy-winner Jeff Silbar, you never know who may show up.

Lastly, he’ll be taking a break from his usual local haunt to be one of the first official shows at the W Gallery, which is the recently transformed lobby of the Gardner Building, a designated historical landmark. It’s an interesting and intimate, not to mention classy, place to see a show.

If that’s not enough to call it a real party, the seasoned music vet has one last ace up his sleeve, the ultimate and undeniable reason for celebration, his birthday, which gives even the most stick-in-the-mud homebodies a reason to attend, CD or not.

Shawn Jones’ CD-release party takes place Saturday, March 10, at the W Gallery at the corner of Main and California streets. For more information and to preview tracks from the new record, visit or


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