Video Premiere: It Takes a Lot to Laugh, it Takes a Train to Cry


Exclusively with C&I, up-and-coming folk artist Karen Jonas debuts the music video for her cover of a Dylan tune from his classic Highway 61 Revisited album.


The Song: Written and originally sung by Bob Dylan, “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” made its debut on Dylan’s indispensable Highway 61 Revisited. Now, exactly 54 years after the track’s release on August 30, 1965, country artist Karen Jonas is putting out a music video for her cover of the Dylan classic.

The Artist: Hailing from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Karen Jonas spent five years touring with guitarist Tim Bray and has shared stages with artists like Dale Watson, Alabama, Robert Earl Keen, and Brandy Clark. Now, with three highly acclaimed albums and a featured showcase at SXSW to her credit, Jonas is looking back on her career with Lucky, Revisited, a collection of nine songs released on her first three albums along with two new tunes.

Why She Wanted to Cover Dylan: “We set out to make Lucky, Revisited, a studio-recorded version of what we do at our live shows,” Jonas says. “We usually throw in a few of our favorite covers at shows, so we included this gorgeous tune by Bob Dylan. “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” comes from the album Highway 61 Revisited, which hit my radar somewhere toward the end of high school and changed how I thought about songwriting, especially lyrically.”

About the Video: “We were lucky enough to film at a local farm, Silver Ridge Farm (guitarist Tim Bray actually went to preschool with the owner — how’s that for old friends?!), and also a historic building in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, called the Pump House, which overlooks our beautiful Rappahannock River. Our longtime friend and videographer Ryan Poe directed the video.

“Ryan and I decided on the plan, but he’s the one who was able to pull it off. I was a little worried about making a scenic, mellow video, but Ryan’s got a seriously amazing eye for picking just the right moments and scenes to include.

“The filming was pretty simple. The farm is beautiful all the time, so it wasn’t too hard to find a nice evening to stop by. For the river shot, we wanted to have a couple of shots with the train going by. At first we thought that was going to be difficult to accomplish, so I was trying not to laugh when a train would come. But it turns out the train goes by a lot around sunset, so we ended up having to find moments when the train wasn’t passing by instead. We also had to dodge some stand-up paddleboarders.”

Why the Song Still Resonates: “Dylan is timeless. It’s a sort of mysterious, sort of sexy song about a traveler on a train. What’s not to love?”

Get an exclusive first look at the music video for “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” below.