At 22, Cam Jones already has quite a resume on paper, as far as bands go. Two bands in high school, followed by now-defunct indie pop ensemble In The Audience. Now he’s in pop-inflected indie punk band Worried Well, and he’s just released his own debut EP, “That We Will,” under his band moniker, Yes We Kin. In all, a busy few years for the Portland-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He’ll perform as Yes We Kin on Jan. 18 at Slainte in Portland, along with the bands Black Firs and the Deliberates.
Jones got his start like so many others – casually picking up an instrument in high school.
“I started playing bass when I was 14 or 15 and played in a couple bands in high school,” said Jones. “That was when I started playing drums because no one else I knew played, and I could always keep a steady beat.”
Buoyed by early success, he quickly joined In The Audience, which featured a wide array of musicians over its two year existence; after that, Jones joined Worried Well, with which he still performs. Yes We Kin is comprised of all the songs Jones wrote when he wasn’t playing with other bands – and they display a more introspective, expansive outlook, differing from the pop sensibilities of most of his other projects. Jones checks songwriters like Craig Finn from the Hold Steady and Mark Everett from the Eels as influences, along with plenty of other indie rock luminaries.
“I think you can definitely hear a lot of Jeff Tweedy from Wilco in my songs and in my voice,” said Jones. “I’ve always loved how they add a sonic weight underneath their songs. It makes it more interesting to listen to a folk song when it has layers and layers of sound.”
Jones’ live setup as Yes We Kin can vary widely. Sometimes, it’s just him and a guitar. Sometimes, it’s Jones, his former In The Audience band mate Dominic Grosso on bass and current Worried Well band mate Daniel James on drums. Eventually, Jones would like to flesh it out to include many other instrumentalists, added weight and depth to his sound.
“I have a lot of friends in the music scene, so I love to switch it up from time to time,” said Jones. “I love to have other peoples interpretations on the songs when we play live since I only write for the guitar on Yes We Kin songs. Everything else is what I can throw on top of it and what other musicians are bringing to the table.”
Jones’ breadth of influence is easiest to hear on Yes We Kin’s EP, in fact; there’s the anthemic, emotive punk of Worried Well in there, combined with the high energy indie pop of In The Audience, all washed over with an alt-country sheen. If you want to get a handle on what a young musician maturing into his own sound sounds like, give “That We Will” a listen.
“That We Will” is available online at Yes We Kin’s Bandcamp
page; you can also like the band on Facebook