Self-taught musical genius Caroline Jones dropped her long-time-coming album, & shares with the world her heart, soul and love of song.
27-year-old Caroline Jones started practicing guitar at age 17, and from there, taught herself the banjo, the dobro, mandolin, which grew into the six-string banjo and slide guitar, which led her to pick up even more instruments. Now, you can hear her immense self-taught talent on her album Bare Feet. Not only will you hear bits and pieces of Caroline playing every instrument (besides the bass and drums), but you will also be welcomed into her personal paradise, as each song is written and produced by the self-taught musical mastermind, herself. The Connecticut-native has received praise from songwriting and music icon Jimmy Buffett, as well as country superstars Zac Brown Band. After gaining national recognition opening for ZBB, and then meeting Buffett when collaborating on his song “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” Caroline worked with Ric Wake to produced Bare Feet. The rising star spoke to HollywoodLife.com about her inspiration behind the album, how in the world she learned all of those instruments and her upcoming tour with Jimmy!
HollywoodLife: What was your inspiration behind the songs on the album? Were they written for years or new?
Caroline Jones: I’ve been writing songs since I was a little girl, so I have thousands of songs at this point, but I have been producing my own records for a few years, so this record was really about cherry picking the best of the most recent and new songs. I think there’s kind of freshness to new songs, and they always just seem better and more exciting. Hopefully you’re always evolving as a songwriter, in your perspective and also in your craft, and the new songs will just be better. I actually ended up actually writing a lot of songs during the process of the album. “Bare Feet,” “The Difference,” “Tough Guys,” “Your Heart is Mine,” “Country Girl,” were all written during the making of the album, because once I started working with Ric Wake, who co-produced the album, I just got really inspired and I started writing a lot more, so we did have a lot to choose from as the album went on! It started to take on a sound, kind of like country pop hybrid, mixing electronic pop elements, and kind of organic country instruments. So, became clear as to which songs should be on the project.
HollywoodLife: The title of the album is “Bare Feet,” and you already have a music video for that song! Why did you choose to showcase your artistry and producing process in that music video?
CJ: “Bare Feet” is a song about authenticity and joy, and that’s really what I stand for, and who I am and how I wanna walk into the world. We just had so much footage in the studio and on tour of me being that way. So, I felt how better to show the joy in the song, than with the actual, real joy that went into the song? We didn’t re-shoot anything, that’s really us, making the song and that’s how much fun we were having. I also wanted to showcase the making of the record in the video, because as a fan of music, the artists that I’ve always looked up to are really transparent about their process.
HollywoodLife: How did you learn to produce music? Did someone teach you or show you how to do it?
CJ: I learned to produce by trial and error. I think that’s how everyone learns. You just make a lot of records and some sound the way you want them to, and others don’t. It’s a process of evolution, just like every other craft.
HollywoodLife: And you also learned to play so many instruments! Were you trained?
CJ: I didn’t major in music. I did go to NYU, but I didn’t major in music. I was actually trained classically, vocally, in opera and jazz when I was really young. I was trained classically, and then my music education was really self directed, because I didn’t grow up listening to country music, and when I was 17, I went to Nashville for the first time, and I discovered this genre that’s based around storytelling and musicianship, and authenticity and honesty, and I just became obsessed. I had guitar lessons a little bit in the beginning. And guitar is one of those instruments that, once you know the basic outline, you can kinda keep going by yourself. The other instruments came because I was playing solo acoustic shows, so I was trying to find ways to make my shows more interesting. I started playing six string banjo and slide guitar blues, and it just kind of led to me picking up other instruments. And from a production standpoint, it’s really helpful because you want to have this diversity of sonic characters in a song.
HollywoodLife: What has it been like working with Jimmy Buffett and preparing to join him on tour?
CJ: He has taken me under his wing for about six months now! I admire so much about Jimmy, but the thing I admire the most is that he has this kind of rebellious, renegade spirit, and he’s always just done his own thing, and he’s always had his own lane. Even before people understood it, or liked it, or respected it, he did it, and he was true to it, and the people that are fans of it have stuck with him all these years because of that. Also, because his message is one of happiness and joy, and that’s what music should be about. I look up to him a lot, and I’ve learned a lot from him and his incredible band. Mac McAnally, who is his guitar player has been a mentor to me for almost ten years now.
HollywoodLifers, you can get Caroline Jones’ new album, Bare Feet today!