YELLOW BRICK ROAD–MY SWEET ARSONIST–BUTTER–GOSPEL OF THE ROAD–KAMIKAZE LOVE–OH ICARUS–MAMA’S FIRST RODEO–DANCE WITH ME–MR. WONKA–THE CIRCUS
As every parent can attest, being a good storyteller has its merits. Then there’s Karen Jonas. This beautifully-voiced Americana artist not only has young children at home, she has successfully juggled the insanity that comes with being a mom and an artist, and performer. While working on her latest album, “Butter,” Karen literally would put the kids to bed and go down to Wally Cleaver’s Studios in her hometown of Fredericksburg, VA, to work on the album with guitarist and musical partner Tim Bray.
A singer with a sultry, soulful delivery who describes herself in “My Sweet Arsonist” as, “I wouldn’t say I’m gettin’ old, but I wouldn’t say I’m young” wrote songs for her previous albums that concentrated on heartbreak. This time, the set is all about her and her daily challenges of motherhood and career. As she sings in the set-closer, the aptly-titled, “Circus,” she admits that her current life has a lot of three-ring atmosphere, but she doesn’t want to part of a REAL circus, where “everyone here has a mask on.”
We had three favorites, too. Trumpet and acoustic guitar embellish Karen’s look at one of our favorite fables, the tale of “poor Icarus,” done in by his own “foolish ambition,” and leads Karen to remind us that “people weren’t meant to fly.” She puts on her blues and pure country Stetson for a couple of cuts, too. The title cut simply steams and drips “Butter,” as our sultry chanteuse slyly and sexily spins a tale of good home-cookin’ from a gal who “looks like Grace Kelly and tastes like Betty Crocker,” set over a jazzy, “3 AM, last-call” groove. Classic country fueled by pedal steel and Karen’s “spit in your eye” vocals tells any potential suitor, “don’t try and BS me, darlin’–this ain’t Mama’s First Rodeo.”
The emergence of young talent such as Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, Nikki Lane, and the like, has given an artist with the talents of Karen Jonas a chance to show off her considerable chops, all the while doing it and raising a family simultaneously. Spread some “Butter” on your music-lovin’ soul, and enjoy this sweet ride! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.