Caroline Jones may have some complex musical skills—guitar, banjo, mandolin, Dobro, keys and lap steel—but if you want a simple look at who she is as an artist, check out her new album, Bare Feet. Demonstrating remarkable musical prowess, Caroline’s new 11-song offering highlights her versatility as a singer, multi-instrumentalist, sole songwriter and co-producer. Caroline has already received high praise from two artists she calls both friends and mentors: Zac Brown, who she toured with in 2017, and Jimmy Buffett, who she is touring with now.
At what age did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
When I was 9 years old, I began taking singing lessons. I had been writing poems and short stories since I learned to read. When I began singing, I realized I could set all of those poems and stories to music. Once I began writing songs, I never wanted to do anything else.
Did you study music in high school or college?
I was trained classically in opera and jazz by Andy Anselmo, founder of the Singer’s Forum, beginning at age 9. During college, I wanted to branch out into the worlds of creative writing and philosophy, which I studied at NYU.
Who are some of musical influences?
Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band are my biggest influences. Jewel, Queen, Ed Sheeran, Robert Johnson and Son House are also big ones for me.
What three words describe you as a musician?
Joyful, passionate, colorful.
What would you say is unique about your sound?
I love blending organic acoustic instruments associated with country and folk music—banjo, Dobro, mandolin, acoustic guitar—with modern electronic elements, like synths and programmed beats and processed vocals. I love big production. I love the thrill and musicality of EDM and pop. So blending that with my singer/songwriter style is a blast.
What was the first concert you attended?
Spice Girls in their heyday! You’re jealous.
What’s the last song you heard that blew you away?
Oh, so many. Probably “The Middle” by Maren Morris and Zedd. Perfect production, serious punch and clarity, unbelievable vocals. I knew Maren could sing, but I’m not sure anyone knew she could sing like that. My jaw dropped the first time I heard it.
What’s the first thing you do after a show?
Just take a moment to feel appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to share my heart and soul with an audience. It’s what I live for and have always dreamed of—and I don’t take it for granted.
What’s your favorite song to cover?
“Fix You” by Coldplay, because of the way it builds.
What family member or friend has been the most supportive of your musical career?
I am extremely blessed to call Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffett friends and mentors. I have toured with both of them and have modeled myself after their passion, integrity and entrepreneurial spirit.
What does your new album, Bare Feet, say about you as an artist?
“Bare Feet” is a song about authenticity and joy. That’s what I stand for and what I want to put out in the world. Sonically, the album shows that I love a variety of sounds and styles, from rock and blues to traditional country to modern pop, and I love painting with a variety of colors, musically speaking.
You play a number of instruments on the new album. How did you become so proficient on so many instruments?
I began learning different instruments to make my solo acoustic show more interesting. I fell in love with slide blues guitar, and so I began learning different tunings. Once I could play in alternate tunings, the five-string banjo, Dobro and more were natural next steps.
You wrote the entire album by yourself. Do you feel like that gives fans a better understanding of who you are as an artist?
Absolutely. The whole point of being an artist is to have a unique message and point of view that you can express to the world. Hopefully, in doing so, I can uplift and inspire others.
Tell me about the album’s title track and new video.
We just released a new video for “Bare Feet” that features some of my tour footage from 2017 with Zac Brown Band. I wanted to capture the joy that my band and I experience on the road sharing this music with audiences.
What does your tour schedule look like this spring and summer?
We will be touring with Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett and The Eagles, Zac Brown Band and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Come out and see a show and shake my hand at a signing! I can’t wait to meet you.
photo by Philippe McClelland