Title - 'The Southwest Sky and Other Deams'
Artist - Karen Jonas
For those not in the know, Equally prolific on the road and in the studio, Fredericksburg, VA based Country and Americana artist, Karen Jonas, has toured non-stop since her 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery, gathering steady creative and critical momentum through 2016's Country Songs; 2018's Butter; and last year's Lucky, Revisited, which debuted at #13 on the EuroAmericana Chart.
Sharing stages with the likes of Dale Watson, Alabama, Joe Ely, Bob Schneider, Robert Earl Keen, and Amanda Shires, Jonas' heartfelt compositions and nuanced timbre have entranced intimate house concerts, rowdy honky-tonks, and outdoor festivals alike.
An official showcasing artist at last year's SXSW, she was also nominated for a 2018 Ameripolitan Award, and recently named 'Best Country/Americana Artist' by the Washington Area Music Awards.
Karen Jonas' fifth album, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams (out August 28th, 2020 via Yellow Brick Road) is a flashback-fueled fever dream of Americana songcraft and storytelling.
Taking the vast desert expanses of the American Southwest as her backdrop, Jonas embroiders small-town snapshots into vivid explorations of our inner struggle between ambition and inaction.
The Virginia singer-songwriter's most accomplished and evocative expression to date, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams captures that aching space between romantic dream-state and numb reality like few before.
1. 'The Last Cowboy (at the Bowling Alley)'
2. 'Out In Palm Tree Paradise'
4. 'Pink Leather Boots'
5. 'Maybe You’d Hear Me Then'
6. 'Be Sweet to Me'
7. 'Farmer John'
8. 'Barely Breathing'
9. 'Better Days'
10. 'Don’t Blink Honey'
Here on the gathered together 10 vignettes that make up The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams, Jonas sets her central themes, creates their characters, all connected by through lines of setting and circumstance, so elegantly, so insightfully, that if you close your eyes, scenes play out in my mind from the lyrics being afforded you.
Opening with the Mexican/Latin guitar intro'd 'The Last Cowboy (at the Bowling Alley)' and the pedal steel guitar-licked 'Out In Palm Tree Paradise,' we next get a pair of upbeat country rockers in 'Tuesday' and the highly infectious, almost rockabilly rhythms of 'Pink Leather Boots,' and then comes the troubadour storytelling of 'Maybe You’d Hear Me Then.'
One of my own personal favorites is up next in the form of the old school rock 'n' roll of 'Be Sweet to Me,' which is followed by the moody blues, southern gothic-imbibed 'Farmer John,' a tale of another relationship gone wrong on 'Barely Breathing,' before the album rounds out with the hopeful 'Better Days,' closing on the melodic melancholy of 'Don’t Blink Honey.'
"I capture these faint ghosts of stories – some my own; some not,” says Jonas, poetic even in conversation. “Oil derricks peck on forever, little mosquitoes sucking the blood of the Earth … Watching with detachment the infiniteness of the land and the stories that seem to add up to nothing.”
Backing comes from her long time collaborator Tim Bray on guitars, with Tom Hnatow on pedal steel and Wurlitzer, Seth Morrissey on bass and Seth Brown on drums.
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