What happens to an artist after they’ve already achieved their dreams? For Seattle-born rock musician and guitar virtuoso, Ayron Jones, the answer to that question permeates his forthcoming new album, Chronicles of the Kid.
Jones, who rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Chart in 2021 with the single “Mercy,” from his debut major label record release, Child of the State, says he is finally feeling a sense of inner peace. He’s the happiest he’s ever been, which is saying something given the rocker’s rough start. Jones was abandoned as a child by his mother and father and raised by aunts, uncles, and grandparents before finding the only thing that could save him: music.
The artist’s new album was born of a single question: if you died today, would you be happy with what you’ve done? Would you be happy with the chances you’ve taken? For Jones, there is no looking back. He’s achieved what he’s always dreamed of, one of the few solo Black artists to hit the No. 1 Billboard Rock spot. Now, there is no longer any reason to withhold who he is from the world. He’s not scared of any future. He will tell his story honestly, costs and consequences be damned.
On his new LP, Jones doesn’t tell tall tales. He doesn’t have to. His life as a Black man in America is enough as is. He’s a misfit who feels at home with other misfits. He writes music for the “ratchet America,” exemplified by his song, “Filthy,” which is already a top track in strip clubs. “They don’t call me dope in my town / they call me filthy,” sings Jones in his signature rasp. Jones knows who he is and, listening to Chronicles of the Kid, you’ll know it, too. It’s a window into his complex soul.
Released in 2021, Jones’ Child of the State shattered all expectations. At a time when the world seemed to be burning down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and protests over the murder of George Floyd, the album led to the rock artist opening for The Rolling Stones, playing sold out shows around the globe and in front of upwards of 50,000 people at various festivals. The world was introduced to him at the same time he was fulfilling his promise to himself as a man. “With that success,” he says, “all of a sudden you have to ask yourself, ‘Who are you?’”
For Jones, life has never been easy. By seven-years-old, his parents, who struggled all their lives with substance abuse problems, had left him. He was raised by extended family. Jones first discovered the guitar at 13 years old, picking it up at a friend’s house. From there, an obsession began to boil until, one day, his aunt and uncle gifted him an instrument of his very own. As a young adult, Jones began to grind in the Emerald City, working in the shadow of rock gods like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.
He played any music club, venue, or festival that would have him. He worked for decades until the city’s rap icon, Sir Mix-a-Lot, discovered him on a local stage and agreed to record his first LP. More grinding ensued. But no one becomes a rockstar merely for the glitz and glamour alone. All along, Jones just wanted to tell his story so people could hear it. Fast-forward to 2021 and he finally had his chance. As he sat on his sofa, watching the world turn into something new, the phone rang. He’d hit the top spot on Billboard. “When I got the call, I shed a single tear,” he admits. “Then it was back to work.”
He’s no one-hit wonder. Jones’ songs “Take Me Away” and “Supercharged” from Child of the State also hit the top 5 on Billboard’s mainstream rock chart. That success led to his 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards nomination for “Best New Rock Artist.” It also led to features in outlets like Guitar World, PEOPLE, and American Songwriter, the latter of which dubbed him “one of the biggest names in the genre.” To date, Jones has shared stages with the ‘Stones, Guns N’ Roses, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Janelle Monae, Shinedown, Run DMC, and Public Enemy.
In a world built to grind us down, Jones is making the soundtrack for rising up like a fist through the topsoil and living life to its fullest. On Chronicles of the Kid, which he wrote with Marty Frederickson (Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne) and Scott Stevens Stevens (Halestorm, Shinedown) for Big Machine/John Varvatos Records, Jones is no longer searching. He knows what and who he is: the statistical anomaly, the breadwinner, the man.
Armed with a new 10-track LP, he’s set to experience the world with clear, undeterrable eyes. The album, which feels like a series of uppercuts and roundhouses, begins with the heavy “Strawman,” a song about how he’s been viewed falsely throughout his life. Black men are often stereotyped, but Jones yearns to transcend as he sings, “I’m a child of the flame.” On “Blood in The Water,” his guitar flutters, singing his salvation while he offers, “I wash these sins on down the river.” On “The Title,” a song inspired by his touring band brethren, Shinedown, Jones tells all who will listen that he’s coming for the crown.
Then comes “Otherside,” a song about making the most of your life. You can’t, after all, take anything with you to the next world. “Did you dream of something more / before death comes knocking at your door,” sings the burgeoning rock icon. “My America” is about all Jones has lived and seen, growing up in a country that both fetishizes Black bodies and takes them for granted. To date, he’s toured the U.S. many times over, he knows it better than those on social media who’ve never left their hometown.
On “Living for The Fall,” Jones doubles-down on his message. Yes, the end will come for us all. But don’t fear it. “If you die tonight, would you regret this mess we’ve made / would you forget my name?” Life isn’t about safety. “For you I give it all / living for the fall.” “Filthy” is a song about sweat, about the smell of sex in a dark, neon room. Put your high heels on. “Get High” is the climax from that attitude— total pleasure. “The Sky Is Crying,” which is the penultimate track on the LP, offers no saccharine salvation. Instead, it bears the truth. “The darker it gets, the more I see,” sings Jones, “But that ain’t the way it’s supposed to be.”
The album concludes with the song, “On Two Feet I Stand.” On it, Jones assures he’s merely one man. But he’s ready for what’s ahead. He’s finally happy, finally content. No one can take that from him. Not even Jones, himself.