Karen Jonas Discusses Her New Album “Country Songs”

by | Oct 11, 2016 | Music

By Ashleigh Chevalier.

Karen Jonas will release her second album — “Country Songs” — on October 14, 2016, at a show in Fredericksburg.

“We’ll be performing the album in its entirety, as well as a set of our favorite cover tunes in the beautiful new ballroom at the Kenmore Inn,” Jonas said. Admission is $20, and includes one CD. Tickets, album preorder, and single iTunes downloads are available now at https://squareup.com/store/karen-jonas

I asked Karen about the new album and plans for what’s next.

What has been the most exciting part of the process for “Country Songs,” your second album release?
It has been super exciting to see all of this art that I’ve envisioned come to life. It’s like taking a whole world that only I could see and making it live. It’s like Frankenstein’s monster but better and less creepy. From tiny inklings, then songs Tim and I hash out at live shows, then a few days at Wally Cleaver’s Recording Studio with Jeff Covert, and straight out into the world on this record. From talks with photographer Amber Renee and videographer Timothy Ryan Poe, and then bam! There are videos and photos. It has been amazing to work with such talented artists and collaborators and guide my artistic vision to life.

I heard the album cover and video were your brain babies. What inspired them? 
Amber and I worked together to create a look for the photos. She listened through the album and said she felt this “empty house” feeling about it, which I could totally relate to. And I looked at all of her amazing previous work and picked out some looks that I really liked. We talked colors, filters, couch patterns, wardrobe. It was like hanging out with a best friend and planning some awesome party or something. Then we worked from there to create some lonely, longing shots that I think really captured the feel of the album. Erin Bray put it together with an awesome logo, and ta-da!

The “Country Songs” video was an idea I had while I was taking a nap one day (everyone should take naps – they’re great for brainstorming). I got up and drew out the whole thing with stick figures, shot for shot. I wanted to depict a journey, in some ways my own journey, while also staying true to the song’s storyline. So I ended up with this cool surreal story in which an earlier, broken-hearted version of myself sees a country singer version of myself – and is then inspired to become … myself. Make sense? You may need to watch it to understand. Tim was somewhat hesitant to hear I had dreamed up our new video, but his support is unwavering and when I showed him the sketches. He loved the idea. So we met up with Ryan Poe at Sammy T’s to put it all together. Ryan did an amazing job of capturing it. I couldn’t be happier.

What was the hardest lesson recording and releasing this album? 
I definitely had to learn how to be patient. I get an idea for things and I get so excited about it, I want immediate results. But in the real world, good things take time. And taking time takes patience. In the end, things have a way of working out, as long as you keep moving forward.

“Country Songs” is a brilliant song, and the video is a sweet sentiment to a community that loves and supports you. Do you have any more video releases planned? Any hints?  
Thank you! Making “Country Songs” a Fredericksburg-centric video was really fun, and not hard to do in this very picturesque city. We’re so grateful to Colonial Tavern, Kenmore Inn, and Hooked for letting us film in their spaces, and to all our local friends — such as yourself, Ashleigh! — who participated in the shoots. We’ve got one more video ready to go, for a real heart-breaker love song called “Wasting Time.”  Look out for that one. It’s shot in the barrel room of the beautiful A. Smith Bowman Distillery, another Fredericksburg destination, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

What’s next? 

Oh, after that?

Well, Tim and I are working away at plans for our album release party at the Kenmore Inn on October 14. We’ve been working with the lovely and gracious Jacquie Hartmann to get it all set up in the brand new beautiful ballroom. Full band, a full run of the new album, a set of the rest of our favorite songs. And signature cocktails. And t-shirts and hats. And our brand new album! Tickets are on. sale. now.

We’ve also got a ton of other tour dates, including a trip to Texas and New Mexico next week, a little trek down to Charleston after the release, and a swing up at New York City in November. Tim’s forever booking our forever tour, I’ve been beautifying our website. We’ve got a publicist on board for our album press, but other than that we’re an entirely self run organization, so Tim and I have our hands full and keep plenty busy staying on top of everything.

And after all of that – we’ll probably start recording the third album!

Karen Jonas will perform her CD release show at 7 p.m. Oct. 14, 2016, at Kenmore Inn, 1200 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg.

On November 10, she’ll be opening for Brandy Clark at The Birchmere, 3701 Mt Vernon Ave. in Alexandria.

Editor’s Note: Ashleigh Chevalier is a local musician, who also writes the weekly music calendar and music features for Fredericksburg.Today.

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