It would be putting it mildly to say that Caroline Jones has a lot of herself invested in Bare Feet, her new album, which is out now. The singer-songwriter, who also hosts Art & Soul, a radio show on SiriusXM’s Coffee House, proudly states that “this body of work is my baby. I wrote all the songs, and co-produced it, and played all the instruments — except bass and drums. So, if something could be my heart and soul out in music, it would be this record.
“I'm really grateful to have the full body of work out, and also because we love playing live so much — it's a blast to be able to really stretch out in certain shows where we have an hour, an hour and a half where we can play the full record,” she adds.
Jones – part of Billboard’s 15 Country Artists to Watch list in January – has gotten plenty of opportunities to showcase her music for fans while opening shows for the Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett. She says that the eclectic musical tastes of those respective fan bases has meshed quite well with her own musical sensibility. “We've built a lot of fans on the Zac Brown tour and the shows we've done with Jimmy thus far. I'm really excited to continue building a fan base that really enjoys my body of work and not just one song or one style,” she says. “I'm excited by the fact that music fans now grow up with an appreciation for different genres of music, and that those influences are reflected in my music.”
Jones allows that willingness to approach her music as an open canvas is something that she has learned from both Brown and Buffett. “Both Zac and Jimmy have their own vision, and have always been true to their own vision — even before it was popular or when it wasn't popular. They have that kind of rogue, renegade spirit, and I think that is most conducive to creativity. We all have that deep desire to be really authentic and really uniquely ourselves. So, to be able to call them mentors and friends is hugely informative, hopefully for my entire life, for my entire career.”
While opening for Buffett, you just might see Jones join the singer on stage, with “Come Monday” being one such opportunity for her to add her harmonies. “I was actually so surprised that they wanted me on that one, because usually when they ask you to sing a song with them, they're not going to ask you to sing one of their biggest hits. That's one of their moments, you know? I was really excited to be able to sing that song. It’s been a blast to sing. I mean, obviously, that's one of his biggest hits, so people love singing that song.”
To promote Bare Feet, Jones said the plan of attack is to get the music out in front of the people. She feels that’s where the music begins and ends for her. “I don't think that there's any other experience quite like the visceral feeling of being in the room with someone, and the audience being part of the creative process. In live music, you're there to connect with the audience. That's the whole purpose. I think that's where you can really build a special bond that someone will never forget, and I take that really seriously.”
As the music business has evolved dramatically over the years, Jones said she’s definitely focused on the viral way of doing things. “In terms of promotion, we're really focused on the digital side. I love creating video content, so we have Paul Boyd, who's directed a bunch of the Shania Twain videos as our creative director. We try to film a lot of different aesthetic aspects to my music and to the emotional aspects of the music. We're releasing a bunch of little videos and teasers over the next couple months. I love the aspect of video because, I think, when it's done right, it can add to the emotional depth of the song. People who are really visual can understand the song in a way that they can't if they just listen to it.”
Jones will be sharing her music and her story on the April 11 episode NBC’s Today – her nationwide TV debut. Needless to say, it’s an exciting time in her life and career. She doesn’t want to take one second of the ride for granted. “It's extremely gratifying. It's what I've always dreamed of. It's exciting to see fans coming to my music who are real music lovers and really appreciate the craft of it. I've always wanted to build fans like that. That's really important to me, because I know those are the fans that … as long as I stay on my path of artistic integrity, they'll come and see me in ten years, twenty years, thirty years. I've always tried to take that long view in building a career. To see that starting to happen is really exciting.”