The Boot Guest Room Sessions



July 15, 2019

For July's installment of The Boot's Guest Room Sessions, singer-songwriter Karen Jonas decided to take on a Bob Dylan song. Press play above to watch her perform her take on "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry."

Fifty-four years ago this month, on July 29, 1965, Dylan recorded "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," for his Highway 61 Revisited album. The influential record was released on Aug. 30, 1965.

"I love this song," Jonas tells The Boot. "It’s got all of the nostalgia and longing of a good country song, constructed in a blues number, with classic Bob Dylan phrasing and imagery. I love the juxtaposition of passion and weariness at play in the lyrics."

Jonas' special guest for her Guest Room Sessions performance of "It Takes a Train to Laugh ..." is her frequent collaborator, guitarist Tim Bray, with whom she's been playing for more than five years. The duo happened on the Ashland, Va., location at which they filmed their performance by chance after a show.

"We were driving home from a gig one evening and stopped by an old caboose outside of a museum," Jonas recalls. "We didn’t quite have permission to use the site, but no one seemed to mind as we strummed through the song."

Fans can hear Jonas's studio version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" when Lucky, Revisited is released on July 19. The project -- the name of which was inspired by Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited -- contains newly recorded, acoustic takes on songs from her first three albums, as well as a couple of covers. Visit for details.

Glide Magazine Album Premiere


July 17, 2019 by Glide

Lucky, Revisited is the fourth studio album from Fredericksburg, VA artist Karen Jonas and it’s out this Friday, July 19th. Built from a collection of nine songs released on her first three albums and two stellar covers, Lucky, Revisited is an action-packed overview of Jonas’s finest songwriting. Five years of nonstop touring with guitarist Tim Bray brings an easy but road-hardened chemistry, laser-sharp dynamics, and intricate arrangements to the table. Bray’s dazzling contributions shine like never before, showcased prominently in every song. Engineer/bassist E.P Jackson stood back, capturing and supporting the unfettered performances of Jonas and Bray without interfering.

Jonas was a featured showcasing artist at SXSW in 2019 and was named “Best Americana/Country Artist” by the Washington Area Music Awards. Each of her three previous albums have garnered international acclaim and charted on both the US and UK Americana charts. She has shared stages with Dale Watson, Alabama, Joe Ely, Bob Schneider, The Lone Bellow, Brandy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Josh Morningstar, and Amanda Shires—lighting up venues around the country from intimate house concerts and listening rooms to rowdy honky-tonks and outdoor festivals.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive early listen of the album. Kicking off with the the quick-tempo, chicken-picked guitar tune, Jonas immediately gets you in the mood to dance along to her unique brand of country music. From there she takes on a tour of her own approach and love of country music, from the honky tonk take on Hank Williams’s “Lovesick Blues” and aptly titled “Country Songs” to the folkier, whispery “Oklahoma Lottery”, the defiant and old timey “Lucky”, the slinky and jazzy “Butter”, and heartfelt Americana of “Wasting Time”. Songs like “Money” are fast and playful, with plenty of guitar prowess on display before Jonas closes with an emotionally poignant ode to touring and lost love on “Gospel of the Road”. Across the album’s eleven tracks with find that Jonas is as diverse of a songwriter as she is a vocalist, capable of writing serious ballads while also writing rowdy songs about having a good time. 

Listen to the album and read our quick interview with Jonas below…

Was there an “aha” moment when you decided to do this album?

I was standing at the merch table after a show and someone asked to buy the album that sounded most like our live show. I realized that none of our previous albums sound quite like the live shows we’ve played over 150 times a year for the past 5+ years. That started to sit heavy on my brain. We had just released our third album, Butter, and we didn’t have a lot of money to spend, but I wrote Tim Bray, my creative partner and bandmate, this letter and said, “Tim I’m really sorry but we need to make another album real quick.” As he always does, he said, “Sure, what can I do to make it happen?” So now, just a year after Butter, we are releasing Lucky, Revisited.

Tell us about why you wanted to revisit songs from past albums. Why did you want to do this?

The studio is a very different creative environment from the stage. The studio feels introspective and serious, to me. The stage feels energetic and spontaneous. After these songs from our past albums spent so many hours on stage, I wanted to capture their growth. Because I love these songs, as they are today.

How did you choose the songs of yours you wanted to include? How did you choose the covers?

I wanted to include some of the songs that we play at nearly every show. The covers are show favorites, too. The Bob Dylan tune represents my folk/songwriter roots, and the “Lovesick Blues” is a bit of the classic country we’ve embraced at our shows.

Do you think this album is a good representation of your live sound? How so?

The album is a great representation of our live sound – we made it for exactly that reason! I hope y’all love it and come see us at a show soon.

What’s next for Karen Jonas?

We’ve got a busy summer planned, be sure to check the schedule for album release shows. And, we’ll get straight to work on an album of new music that I can’t wait for you to hear.


WoNo Blog

donderdag 18 juli 2019

Lucky, Revisited. Karen Jonas

Karen Jonas revisits several of the tracks from her first three album and comes up with a stellar album, tighter than ever before. Lucky, Revisited is the result of years long touring with her guitarist Tim Bray and sometimes with an added rhythm section. What we hear on this new album is how her songs have developed on stage, without the (co-)producer near by. So all the niceties of her albums were laid by the wayside as they don't get to go along on tour. So no horns, strings, keyboards. Just an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, bass and drums. And to top it all off, that voice I have come to love ever since I first heard it in 2011 with The Parlor Soldiers.

For me Karen Jonas foremost is that great, strong voice that carries every song. Even songs I do not really care for as they turn too country for my taste. Lucky for me she has mastered many different styles and moods. She surprised me with the swing on 'Butter', that came as a huge change in her sound and again added to her palette of musical colours.

Years ago I wrote that 'Oklahoma Lottery' deserved a statue. With the laidback version on this album I'd like to add that it deserves a spot in the central square of her hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Everybody there and way beyond ought to hear this song and bring along the whole album as a trophy of musical prowess. Karen and her men are, again, in a great shape on Lucky, Revisited.

Tim Bray can show his fantastic guitar playing abundantly. He has taken chops from over sixty years of rock and roll and country guitar. James Burton, Cliff Gallup, Scotty Moore, you can find them all in his playing, and then some as the sound of today is in there as well.

Promo photo: Amber ReneeA sober version of Bob Dylan's 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry' is on the album, despite not being revisited. Well, in a way, as a cover version it is also of course. Karen Jonas' version gets a melancholy tone that makes it another sort of song, that modestly competes with the original. The same sort of happens with the already mentioned 'Butter'. A totally sober song, despite all the straight whisky drinking in there. It allows Tim Bray to shine once again, now with his acoustic guitar. "You're going to love her", Karen Jonas sings and my best guess is that it's very true.

With Lucky, Revisited Karen Jonas does not present us new songs. In a way that is too bad of course as I was hoping for new songs over the past months. What she does presents is almost as good as new songs, as the songs are truly revisited and presented anew. So what is left to say are two things: first, again Karen Jonas releases a great album and secondly, when will she finally cross the pond so that her fans here in Europe and especially The Netherlands get the chance to listen to her live?


You can buy Lucky, Revisited here:

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

Americana Highways Review

One of the challenges of being a musician is coming up with new content. Sometimes the best thing to do is to re-interpret previously recorded material. That is what Karen Jonas has done on her most recent album Lucky, Revisited. The idea behind this is to take songs that have lived on the road over the past five years and record them as they have evolved.

The album opens with a country feel with the honky-tonk hit “Ophelia”. The rhythm provided by E. P. Jackson (bass) and Seth Brown drums is uptempo and sure to get an audience moving. Meanwhile Jonas sings in a voice that is sweet and tough while the lyrics reference Romeo and Juliet. That is followed by Jonas’s version of the Hank Williams hit “Lovesick Blues”. This is a much different version than Hank’s and not just because it’s told from a woman’s point of view. Tim Bray injects some rock and roll into the song with his guitar part. It’s pretty fair to say that Hank never imagined the song this way, although he probably wouldn’t mind it.

As the album progresses, Jonas moves from country to the more jazzy sounds of “Lucky” and “Butter”. This version of “Butter” pretty much belongs to another time where jazz combos would dress to the nines while playing in smoky clubs.

This album also includes a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”. This particular version has the feel of a Tom Waits song. The guitar gives this version a real lonesome sound. Meanwhile the beat is so spare and muted that you really have to pay attention to notice it.

Fittingly, the album includes an ode to country songs. In what must be the story of a lot of people, she sings about how she didn’t appreciate country songs when she was younger. Then she goes on to sing that a certain someone will never understand her better than Buck Owens or Dwight Yoakam. You can almost see couples two-stepping as you listen to this one.

While the songs on this album aren’t new, they are presented in a way that makes them feel new. Jonas is clearly a talented songwriter with some stories to tell – whether she tells them in a jazzy style or an Americana style. Lucky, Revisited will be available everywhere on July 19. Order your copy here.

Planet Country Review

Google Translation The last five years, Karen Jonas, country singer, custodian of a vibrant and dynamic sound, passed them 'on the road' in the company of faithful guitarist Tim Bray, bringing with him the songs of his three solo records. Excerpts that have matured and acquired in depth and warmth so as to convince the artist from Fredericksburg, Virginia to put them back in 'circulation' by recording them again for his "Lucky, Revisited" in which nine of them take advantage of this decidedly winning creative process . Karen shared the stage with the likes of Dale Watson, Robert Earl Keen, Alabama, Lone Bellow and Amanda Shires and the experiences of this last shine have certainly made her more confident and convinced, with the lively and enthralling "Ophelia", placed at the top of the selection, to witness all this. "Oklahoma Lottery", the jazzy and soft "Lucky" and "Butter", "Country Songs" with beautifully honky tonk tones and with a Tim Bray inspired by the electric, River Song "still sounding authentic country and the heartfelt and intimate" Gospel Of The Road In the vocal approach, they recall the 'alternative' attitude and the freshness of the best Michelle Shocked, the Texan singer-songwriter who revisited country, folk, swing and blues styles with personality in the eighties and early nineties. To add flavor to the dish, Karen Jonas has added two covers, both interpreted with respect and attention: "Lovesick Blues", a country classic from the forties taken up with style and "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, Takes A Train To Cry" by Bob Dylan in a cover artfully slowed down and returned in a very original way. This "Lucky, Revisited ”inspired and valid, highly recommended both to those who do not yet know the musicality of Karen Jonas and to those who have appreciated it in the past.

July 20, 2019

KAREN JONAS “Lucky, Revisited”

Gli ultimi cinque anni Karen Jonas, country singer depositaria di un suono vibrante e dinamico, li ha passati ‘on the road’ in compagnia del fido chitarrista Tim Bray, portando con se le canzoni dei suoi tre dischi solisti. Brani che sono maturati e hanno acquistato in profondità e calore tanto da convincere l’artista di Fredericksburg, Virginia a rimetterle ‘in circolo’ registrandole nuovamente per il suo “Lucky, Revisited” in cui nove di esse si giovano di questo processo creativo decisamente vincente. Karen ha condiviso il palco con gente del calibro di Dale Watson, Robert Earl Keen, Alabama, Lone Bellow ed Amanda Shires e le esperienze di questo ultimo lustro l’hanno resa certamente più sicura e convinta, con la vivace e trascinante “Ophelia”, posta in cima alla selezione, a testimoniare tutto ciò. “Oklahoma Lottery”, le jazzate e morbide “Lucky” e “Butter”, “Country Songs” dalle tonalità splendidamente honky tonk e con un Tim Bray ispiratissimo all’elettrica, River Song” dal suono ancora autenticamente country e l’accorata e intima “Gospel Of The Road” ricordano, nell’approccio vocale soprattutto, l’attitudine ‘alternativa’ e la freschezza della migliore Michelle Shocked, la cantautrice texana che tra gli anni ottanta e i primi novanta rivisitò con personalità gli stilemi country, folk, swing e blues. Ad insaporire il piatto Karen Jonas ha aggiunto due cover, entrambe interpretate con rispetto e attenzione: “Lovesick Blues”, classico country degli anni quaranta ripreso con stile e “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” di Bob Dylan in una cover rallentata ad arte e riconsegnata in modo molto originale. Un disco questo “Lucky, Revisited” ispirato e valido, consigliato caldamente sia a chi non conosce ancora la musicalità di Karen Jonas sia a coloro che l’hanno apprezzata in passato. (Remo Ricaldone)

De Krenten Uit de Pop Review

Google Translation (dicey at best but it helps)

Karen Jonas - Lucky, Revisited
Karen Jonas reinvents some of the songs from her first three albums and does this in a grand way
The reinvention of old songs is usually a weakness, but in the case of Karen Jonas this kite is certainly not true. The songs on Lucky, Revisited sound nicer, but are also better musically and vocally than the originals. Musically, guitarist Tim Bray in particular shines, while Karen Jonas impresses with supple and passionate vocals that impress even more easily than those on her first three solo albums. It is nine well-known songs and two striking covers for a long time enjoying a singer-songwriter who has continued to grow the original songs from her albums on stage and now lets them come out of the speakers in a glowing way. Not a snack, but the best Karen Jonas album so far.

My first encounter with Karen Jonas dates from the first weeks of 2012, when the American singer-songwriter showed up on the phenomenal debut and unfortunately also the swan song of The Parlor Soldiers. That there is life after the duo that she formed together with Alex Culbreth, Karen Jonas proved already on the three excellent solo albums she released in recent years and that album is now being continued. After the release of Butter, just over a year ago, Karen Jonas was mainly on stage and apparently did not have much time to write new songs. On Lucky, Revisited we therefore mainly hear songs from the previous albums by the singer-songwriter from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and two covers.

I don't normally like new edits of old songs, for the simple reason that the new versions are almost always less good than the originals or sound forced or uncomfortable. Karen Jonas can tell that it can be done differently on Lucky, Revisited. The album opens with the honky tonk stunner Ophelia from the Country Songs album. The new version does not even differ that much from the original, but the band does sound a bit stronger and what is striking is that Karen Jonas started singing better and more confidently. You can also hear the latter in the first cover on the album, a driven version of Lovesick Blues by Hank Williams.

The title track of the debut album by Karen Jonas, Oklahoma Lottery, then gets a more modest, but also more intense version. Also in the new version of the title song of her debut you can hear that Karen Jonas has started to sing better, but also musically the new version appeals to me more, if only because of the beautiful guitar work of the regular guitarist of Karen Jonas, Tim Bray. The great thing about Lucky, Revisited is that Karen Jonas did not try to make totally different versions of her songs. The differences between the original versions and the new versions are often subtle and often sound more like freshened up versions than like new versions, although Karen Jonas definitely adds a new dimension to many of the songs.

Freshening up the old songs works fantastic. In all songs, Karen Jonas catches the throat with passionate vocals, while in the often slightly more sober instrumentation the details come into their own better and guitarist Tim Bray plays a shining role almost continuously. The rhythm section on the album also deserves a big compliment and the same goes for the clear production, which ensures that the songs radiate much more urgency and also just sound better.

After a wonderful jazzy performance of Lucky, also from the debut of Karen Jonas, follows a delicious version of Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, which is transformed into an intense and sultry Karen Jonas song. For me it is one of the highlights of the album, if only because this track is also full of beautiful guitar work by Tim Bray. Butter, who was very richly orchestrated last year, appears to be more powerful in a subtle and jazzy version and so every song on Lucky, Revisited convinces me a little more than the originals, which incidentally come from albums that reached my year list or were close. No easy task to surpass the originals.

Releasing an album with new arrangements of old songs seems like a weakness, especially for a singer-songwriter who doesn't last that long, but Lucky, Revisited is certainly not a superfluous snack. On the contrary. As far as I am concerned, it is Karen Jonas' most convincing album so far and that is a very impressive achievement in recent years due to the towering level of the three albums that the singer-songwriter from Fredericksburg, Virginia has released. Erwin Zijleman

Lucky, Revisited is available via the Karen Jonas bandcamp page: .


Karen Jonas - Lucky, Revisited

Karen Jonas vindt een aantal van de songs van haar eerste drie albums opnieuw uit en doet dit op grootse wijze
Het opnieuw uitvinden van oude songs is meestal een zwaktebod, maar in het geval van Karen Jonas gaat deze vlieger zeker niet op. De songs op Lucky, Revisited klinken mooier, maar zijn ook in muzikaal en vocaal opzicht beter dan de originelen. In muzikaal opzicht schittert met name gitarist Tim Bray, terwijl Karen Jonas indruk maakt met soepele en gepassioneerde vocalen, die nog makkelijker indruk maken dan die op haar eerste drie soloalbums. Het is negen bekende songs en twee opvallende covers lang genieten van een singer-songwriter die de originele songs van haar albums op het podium verder heeft laten groeien en ze nu op gloedvolle wijze uit de speakers laat komen. Geen tussendoortje dus, maar het beste Karen Jonas album tot dusver.

Mijn eerste kennismaking met Karen Jonas dateert uit de eerste weken van 2012, toen de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter opdook op het fenomenale debuut en helaas direct ook de zwanenzang van The Parlor Soldiers.

Dat er leven is na het duo dat ze samen vormde met Alex Culbreth bewees Karen Jonas al op de drie uitstekende soloalbums die ze de afgelopen jaren uitbracht en dat album krijgt nu een vervolg.

Karen Jonas stond na de release van Butter, iets meer dan een jaar geleden, vooral op het podium en had kennelijk niet veel tijd voor het schrijven van nieuwe songs. Op Lucky, Revisited horen we daarom vooral songs van de vorige albums van de singer-songwriter uit Fredericksburg, Virginia, en twee covers.

Ik ben normaal gesproken niet zo gek op nieuwe bewerkingen van oude songs, om de simpele reden dat de nieuwe versies bijna altijd minder goed zijn dan de originelen of geforceerd of ongemakkelijk klinken. Dat het ook anders kan laat Karen Jonas horen op Lucky, Revisited.

Het album opent met de honky tonk knaller Ophelia van het album Country Songs. De nieuwe versie wijkt niet eens zo veel af van het origineel, maar de band klinkt wel wat hechter en wat vooral opvalt is dat Karen Jonas beter en zelfverzekerder is gaan zingen. Dat laatste hoor je ook in de eerste cover op het album, een gedreven versie van Lovesick Blues van Hank Williams.

De titeltrack van het debuutalbum van Karen Jonas, Oklahoma Lottery, krijgt vervolgens een wat meer ingetogen, maar ook intensere versie. Ook in de nieuwe versie van de titelsong van haar debuut hoor je dat Karen Jonas beter is gaan zingen, maar ook in muzikaal opzicht spreekt de nieuwe versie me meer aan, al is het maar vanwege het prachtige gitaarwerk van de vaste gitarist van Karen Jonas, Tim Bray.

Het mooie van Lucky, Revisited is dat Karen Jonas niet heeft geprobeerd om totaal andere versies van haar songs te maken. De verschillen tussen de originele versies en de nieuwe versies zijn vaak subtiel en klinken vaak meer als opgefriste versies dan als nieuwe versies, al voegt Karen Jonas absoluut een nieuwe dimensie toe aan veel van de songs.

Het opfrissen van de oude songs werkt fantastisch. Karen Jonas grijpt in alle songs bij de strot met gepassioneerde zang, terwijl in de vaak net wat soberdere instrumentatie de details beter tot hun recht komen en er vrijwel continu een glansrol is weggelegd voor gitarist Tim Bray. Ook de ritmesectie op het album verdient overigens een groot compliment en hetzelfde geldt voor de heldere productie, die ervoor zorgt dat de songs veel meer urgentie uitstralen en ook gewoon beter klinken.

Na een heerlijk jazzy uitvoering van Lucky, ook van het debuut van Karen Jonas, volgt een heerlijke versie van Bob Dylan’s It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, dat wordt omgetoverd tot een intense en broeierige Karen Jonas song. Het is voor mij een van de hoogtepunten van het album, al is het maar omdat ook deze track overloopt van prachtig gitaarwerk van Tim Bray.

Het vorig jaar zeer rijk georkestreerde Butter blijkt krachtiger in een subtiele en jazzy versie en zo overtuigt iedere song op Lucky, Revisited me net wat meer dan de originelen, die overigens afkomstig zijn van albums die mijn jaarlijstje haalden of dicht naderden. Geen eenvoudige opgave dus om de originelen te overtreffen.

Het uitbrengen van een album met nieuwe bewerkingen van oude songs lijkt een zwaktebod, zeker voor een singer-songwriter die nog niet zo heel lang meegaat, maar Lucky, Revisited is zeker geen overbodig tussendoortje. Integendeel. Het is wat mij betreft het meest overtuigende album van Karen Jonas tot dusver en dat is vanwege het torenhoge niveau van de drie albums die de singer-songwriter uit Fredericksburg, Virginia, de afgelopen jaren uitbracht een zeer indrukwekkende prestatie. Erwin Zijleman

Lucky, Revisited is verkrijgbaar via de bandcamp pagina van Karen Jonas:

Off Center Album Review

Karen Jonas, Lucky Revisited

Every now and then you run across a recording that's so audacious that all you can do is applaud its chutzpa. Such a work is the 4th release from Karen Jonas. This album is sass, poise, and one helluva voice. Jonas gives us stripped down versions of songs from her back pages, some new material, and an unapologetic turn-back-the-calendar approach to country music before it became slick and safe. Her new version of "Lucky" is honed to a dangerous edge. Jonas sings it as if it's part of the soundtrack of a gritty film noir film set in a dusty Texas town filled with desperate people. She positively eviscerates the Golden Fifties myth in "Butter." She frames her video with an old-style TV screen and melts the song in suggestive nastiness whose sugary sprinkles are like a diaphanous dress waiting to be unzipped. Hers is a feminist country music, even when it evokes the past. It doesn't get any more throwback stylistically than "Ophelia" but then again, few past country stars could have gotten away with a lyric such as when a man calls you a whore, go on and the find the closest door…walk out. Want an old-time weepy? "Country Songs" is about a girl who hated country music until she came of age and had her heart broken: So thank you for teaching me to sing country songs/For making me so sad I want to sing along. She completes her stroll through yesteryear with two excellent covers–one of Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," and Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues." ★★★★

Don and Cheryl's Blues Blog




The last time we heard from Virginia-based Americana songstress Karen Jonas, it was early summer of 2018 with her release of “Butter.”  That project found her successfully, albeit with her share of difficulties, jugging the challenges of young motherhood and a career in the music business.  For the last five years, she’s been constantly touring, along with guitarist and musical partner Tim Bray.  During the course of numerous live shows, they discovered that many of the songs from her previous albums had taken on new meanings when performed in front of a crowd.  That set the stage for these new versions of some old friends that comprise “Lucky, Revisited.”  Herein, the guitar parts are more diverse and become an even more of an integral part of the arrangements, and Karen’s vocals are allowed to soar.

We had a slew of favorites.  Oh yeah, our slightly-naughty little Siren still “cooks with Butter,” and she still “drinks straight whiskey,” too!  Our lovelorn heroine laments just “Wasting Time” in a relationship, pondering whether to stay or punt the whole thing.  That no-good lover did leave her with one redeeming quality, tho–the ability to appreciate those good ole “Country Songs,” so she can “dance all over my broken heart!”  This one showcases Tim’s guitar in a cool, two-steppin’ arrangement.  I’m jumpin’ right up to show my age here, but Karen really captures that “feelin’ called the blues, since my baby said goodbye,” on a flawlessly-lovely read of Hank’s iconic “Lovesick Blues,” made all the more unique by the use of clippity-clop percussion throughout!

The re-imagining of these songs only adds to the growing legacy of Karen Jonas’ and Tim Bray’s contributions to the American genre.’   Sit back, relax, and allow her beautiful voice to go from sultry to powerful as you bask in the grooves of “Lucky, Revisited.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.