Sir Charles Jones Credit: courtesy the artist

Vocalist Sir Charles Jones is one of the leading lights in contemporary southern soul-blues. He comports himself well in the dance-floor workouts and celebrations of down-home cultural identity that are typical of the genre (2008’s “I Came to Party” and 2012’s “Good Old Country Boy” are good examples), but his true metier is the pleading, lovelorn ballad. His latest album, The Masterpiece, which he self-released on his Southern King Entertainment label, contains a few run-of-the-mill hoochie-man boasts, such as “Wherever I Lay My Bone,” but he redeems them with some of the finest ballads he’s ever recorded, including “Destiny,” which features a neo-Barry White, sex-machine-with-a-heart-of-gold spoken narration, and “Squeeze Me,” a broken-hearted plea from an unsatisfied lover. But the record’s highest point is “100 Years”: backed by an acoustic guitar, piano, and what sound like real strings, Jones summons a vulnerability-laced croon as he delivers lyrics which might have been lifted from any long-gone “golden age” of teen-dream love anthems—he even name-checks Romeo and Juliet. In his live performances, Jones toughens his sexiness with swaggering body language and stage patter, but he still comes across like a man on a mission to rehabilitate the classic soul love ballad, which is surely a bold, even quixotic notion in our irony-besotted age.   v