Music powerhouses like Jimmy Buffett, The Eagles, Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill don’t play around when it comes to putting together their headlining tours. From wardrobe and stages to set lists and openers, everything is carefully planned and ultimately the best of the best. Pop/country artist Caroline Jones was chosen to open for all of these artists on their tours this summer, and to say she’s talented is an understatement.
Aside from opening for some of the biggest artists in the ‘biz, Jones is known for being a bona fide trailblazer with her one-woman show, which is hard to come by in a male-dominated genre like country music. For her debut album Bare Feet, the bubbly singer wrote, recorded, produced, and even played some of the instruments for the collection of songs.
Talk about being a girl boss.
Celeb Secrets Country sat down with Caroline earlier this summer to gain insight on what’s its like not only putting together a such an amazing record, but also performing in arenas and stadiums across the country with some of her musical idols. For a full list of tour dates, make sure to visit Caroline’s website here.
CS Country: You’re a one woman show. You sing, you have all of your own instruments…How is that whole atmosphere on stage? What was the fan reaction like?
Caroline Jones: “The fan reaction was great! We got to do a meet and greet [at CMA Fest] which is so nice because you get to look people who listen to your music in the eye and thank them and really make that connection. That’s something I learned from Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown who I’ve been touring with. The way that they treat their fans, and how important it is to have that personal connection with their fans… because the fans have a personal connection with the music and they want to have a personal connection with the artist. I’m a stalker fan of all of the artists that I love so I know how important that is and that’s what is so awesome about CMA Fest.”
What’s your favorite fan story or something that sticks out to you while you’ve been on the road?
Caroline Jones: “Well, the first thing that comes to mind is a couple of months ago, we did these meet and greets at the Jimmy Buffett show and his fans are called ‘parrotheads’ for people who don’t know…they’re crazy. They go to every show they follow him around the country, and this guy had a tattoo of how many shows he’s been to and it lasts like two weeks until he goes to the next show. It was funny because on one arm he has the number of Jimmy shows he’s been to and on the other arm he asked me to write the number of shows he’s seen me at with Jimmy this year, so it was funny because on one arm was like 100 and the other arm was like 6. (laughs) That was cute because he gets a semi permanent tattoo of how many times he’s seen you, which is so cool.”
What’s it like being on the road with Jimmy?
Caroline Jones: “It’s so fun. Jimmy and I met last year at a benefit concert that he did for the hurricanes and I opened and we just hit it off. We did a duet together and he’s just taken me under his wing and become a mentor. I’m really blessed because he is such a great person, such a great leader, he is an entrepreneur and I just really admire him and what he stands for. He’s inspired so many people, not just with his music but with his lifestyle that’s really about just, like, chilling out, which is what everyone needs. Everyone just needs to take a minute sometimes and to be reminded of that through his music is awesome.”
It must be crazy playing these huge stadiums…
Caroline Jones: “We’ve been playing amphitheaters and stadiums with Jimmy and then, the Eagles, as well, which is also amazing because they are also heroes of mine. Vince Gill is playing with the Eagles right now and he’s like one of my favorite guy so it’s like a hero fest for me.”
You’re on Jimmy Buffett’s label right, too, right?
Caroline Jones: “Yes! So, he’s distributing my record “Bare Feet” and they’ve been super supportive.”
“Bare Feet” is the perfect blend of pop and country. Is that what you’re trying to do with your music?
Caroline Jones: “Absolutely. I think I love the authenticity of country storytelling and I love some country instruments. I love the banjo and the acoustic guitar I love all those textures but I also love AO8 synths and processed vocals. I love EDM. I also always listen to pop music and I’m just like ‘how did they make you feel like that,’ when it’s building up.. you just can’t do that without those elements and that style, so fusing those two worlds is really exciting to me and really fun for me. It’s like a new frontier in production right now because technology is growing so rapidly with music. There’s just a whole new world of sounds that you can create and for someone who is a production nerd like me, it’s just a blast in the studio.”
You work on a lot of your projects solo. How is that process for you?
Caroline Jones: “I’ve always liked writing by myself. I’ve always felt like I’ve had a really clear vision of what I want to say. I know what my melodic senses are, my lyrical senses. I’m a huge fan of songwriters, especially in this town, but I always felt like my songs were truly more me if I just wrote them by myself. I did co-produce this record with Rick Lake and he’s produced Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and so his perspective coming to the table was really a benefit to me because I have like 1 million musical ideas but they don’t all sound good together (laughs). It’s like cooking. You want the right amount of ingredients and he really helps give me that perspective.
Where there any challenges you may have faced in the studio maybe by yourself or with your producer?
Caroline Jones: “The biggest challenge in the studio is sometimes you have a really clear vision for song production and then, sometimes you’re like ‘Okay, I have this song and I love it but I have no idea what I want it to sound like.’ That process of trial and error until a song production matches it’s quality as a song can be a very long process and there can be frustration along the way, but it wouldn’t be fun if you got it right off the bat. It’s like following the yellow brick road. When you finally finish you’re like…how could it sound like anything else?”
Is there something you’re most proud of when you make your music? Is there something that has just stood out to you?
Caroline Jones: “The thing I’m most proud of is that my music and me are the same. I am most proud that my music is a representation of who I am…really honest, really authentic, and what I feel is the pinnacle of my excellence at that moment. It is 100% my heart and soul and my craftsmanship that goes into it so, I’m really proud of that because whoever listens to it will now that it’s 100% what I had to give.”
Are you working on any new music right now?
Caroline Jones: “Yes! We’ve already started the next project. I’m writing if I’m not on tour. I’m always in the studio and working because that’s just what I do.”
Will that sound be the same or are you exploring different things?
Caroline Jones: “It’s kind of just starting to take shape and we’re figuring that out now. I think it will be a continuation of that blend of pop and country and electronic elements with organic elements. I always try and make my production style even more polished and my songwriting. I’m always trying to get better at songwriting, singing, playing instruments and producing, so it’ll just be a continuation of that.”
How many instruments do you play?
Caroline Jones: “I play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dobro, banjo, lap steel, harmonica, and piano.”
How did you pick which ones you wanted to start playing how did you start?
Caroline Jones: “Well, I started playing piano and guitar when I was doing solo acoustic tours and I just picked up those other instruments as a way to make the shows more interesting and compelling because when you play one song on the guitar, you can go to the piano, you can go to the banjo… it makes it more exciting if you’re the only person on stage. When I started producing, I love production so much that I would be in sessions saying ‘can you play like this’ to the musicians that were playing and they could kind of do it but not the way that it was happening in my head. So, I realized I had to do it myself if I really wanted it to come out the way it was in my head, so I made it a point to learn those instruments. That was important to me.”
Tell us about your Zac Brown band tour… you have a few more dates left.
Caroline Jones: “So, we’re doing the stadiums with Zac Brown and OneRepublic. It’s like a co- headline and I’m such a big OneRepublic fan. I love Ryan Tedder. He’s a great example of someone who produces and writes and plays instruments and sings! I love him. I look up to him a lot. Then, we’re doing some dates with Tim and Faith in the next few weeks. Then, we’re on tour all year with Jimmy Buffett and some dates with The Eagles so it’s a really busy!”
Can you tell us something from behind the scenes on the road? Something that people don’t know when they come out to the show.
Caroline Jones: “There is nothing too juicy. We are usually getting to the venue around 3 or 330 and it’s just a really fun build up because we soundcheck and then, there’s catering and you get to talk to all the bands and you just become really good friends with all of these people. Like, not just Jimmy Buffett but the truck driver… and it’s so fun. What I’ve learned is that these organizations are really top-down, so when you have a great leader like Jimmy Buffett or Zac Brown who is really kind and who hits it out of the park and gives it their all every single night, the whole crew has that energy and it’s really fun to be around. So, I’m spoiled for life like, I can’t go on a crappy tour now (laughs). But, yeah it’s just a great atmosphere and there’s a whole bunch of preparation that goes into performing. You rehearse a lot. I warm up my voice for like an hour doing exercises and the whole thing, but it’s so I can go out there and hopefully inspire a bunch of people.”