First, see The Jones Family Will Make a Way, if for nothing else for the music. I first watched it on my iPad. I can't wait to see it on the big screen! It's a whole bunch of Gospel shake, rattle and roll. I have always loved the Gospel Tent at JazzFest in New Orleans.

This is better.

The film chronicles the Pentecostal Jones Family Singers from Bay City, Texas on a journey from singing in garage-sized churches to major festivals of the world. That journey begins with a history of the Jones Family Singers straight from their hearts. Bishop Jones’ children tell stories of non-stop practice, long hours and at times, multiple church services on Sundays. In a story paralleling that of the Jackson 5, the strict father molds his family, through time, into a raucous, tumbling, dedicated, whirlwind of a Pentecostal gospel music machine.

The Jones Family Singers The Jones Family Singers

The Jones Family earned its stripes in its Texas hometown church wanting only to back the Bishop Jones as he preached and sang. They won numerous major gospel music competitions and sang across the southeast. But over the years the magic slowly, yet with intent, got to the point where there was “only so much (they could) do within the sacred walls” according to the right-reverend Jones.

Against the advice of some in the church, Bishop Jones decided to expand the group’s venues from small churches to whatever the outside world presented. Rev. Jones developed a friendship with a white, somewhat Eeyore-ish gospel music historian named Michael Corcoran. Corcoran had become a bit of a Jones Family and decided to help the group break through those “sacred walls”. He arranged for the family to sing at the massive South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin.....kinda. They were not on the SXSW schedule and played a mile away in an old church.

They flopped.

Disheartened, the Jones Family Singers went back to Bay City and their church, occasionally playing places like the Continental Club and The Shady Grove in Austin. They (Bishop Jones) were determined to “win a Grammy.” While he claimed they’d never go back to SXSW, they did at the behest of Corcoran. This time, they stirred up interest from movers and shakers within the music industry who wanted to bring gospel to the attention of the masses. A record was made and before you could say “pass the offering plate” they were standing wide-eyed on a massive stage in New York City at the Lincoln Center. The crowd in the center of NYC was tentative at first, not knowing what to expect. Within minutes, they were on their feet and never sat down.

The Jones Family Singers, from Bay City, Texas blew the New Yorkers away.

The film chronicles the effort it takes to “make it” in the music industry. It is inspirational, Texas-centric, and backed with a heavenly soundtrack.

I highly recommend seeing it!

Check out the Jones Family Singers:

The Jones Family Will Make a Way runs 80 minutes and will be shown Thursday, February 18 at 8 p.m. as part of Thin Line Film Festival. To purchase tickets at the online box office, click here.

The Jones Family Will Make a Way - Trailer from Arts+Labor on Vimeo.