New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Fredericksburg, VA-based country/Americana singer-songwriter Karen
Jonas is set to independently release her new album, Butter, on June 1, 2018. With four kids at home and a touring schedule of 150+ shows per year, Jonas has a full plate. "Whether I'm ﬁnishing up a gig at midnight or getting pounced on by my kids at 6:30 a.m., I usually feel like my life is a circus," she says. "So I started writing songs about my circus." She shines a light on the triumphs and challenges of that busy life with Butter, which will be available for pre-order beginning April 2nd on Kickstarter (see her website and social media for details).
Butter was tracked at Wally Cleaver's Recording Studio in her hometown of Fredericksburg, and Jonas would head over to the studio after putting her kids to bed. Tim Bray, her guitarist and musical partner for nearly half a decade, joined her for those nighttime recording sessions, as did a number of other musicians who laced Butter's ten songs with pedal steel, B3 organ, upright piano, layers of guitar, and vintage-sounding, seven-piece horn arrangements.
Produced by Jeff Covert, Jonas, and Bray, Butter mixes the textured twang of Jonas's folk and country roots — a sound she explored fully on her previous album, 2016's critically acclaimed Country Songs — with the diverse inﬂuences of ragtime, blues, jazz, and barroom soul. It's her broadest, boldest album to date, with songs that anchor themselves in Southern storytelling and Jonas's smooth, unforced croon. Butter is a retro-minded album for the modern age — the sound of a songwriter celebrating her circumstances.
"My ﬁrst two albums featured a lot of heartbroken songs," she explains. "That didn't feel authentic for this album. Butter is about my story now, as a working musician and mother — about the challenges of each role and, especially, the challenge of balancing the two. It's about baking my cake and eating it, too."
As the album came together, each song took on a life of its own. The title track is a late-night, big-band jazz number, while "My Sweet Arsonist" is a woozy, slow-burning love ballad. "Gospel of the Road" and "Yellow Brick Road" both nod to Tom Petty's inﬂuence, thanks to ringing guitars and heartland rock & roll melodies. "Dance With Me
" slows down its tempo to a swinging waltz, while the Beatles-esque "Mr. Wonka" speeds it back up to a surreal circus's pace. Together, Butter's songs explore one woman's story to the tune of a full range of American roots music.
For Jonas — a full-time musician and full-time mother — the album is a personal anthem. "Butter is about mom doing what she wants to do," she clariﬁes. "Sometimes she wants to cook a damn good meal, and sometimes she wants to travel with a kickass country band. Sometimes she wants to do both at the same time, and can't. But there are a lot of successful, empowered mothers making time to pursue their passions right now, and it's changing the world."
Jonas's intensely personal songwriting first grabbed national attention with the release of her critically acclaimed 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery, which was followed by the aforementioned Country Songs in 2016. In 2017, Jonas was nominated for an Ameripolitan Award in the Honky Tonk Female Category, and the same year, she was given the Readers' Choice Award for Best Local Band/Vocalist by the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Her music has been lauded around the world.
UK said of her sophomore album, "Country Songs is a stunning album of great beauty and dynamism that tugs the emotions to just about every point of the compass." Saving Country Music
echoed that sentiment, writing, "Country Songs comes spilling out of her songwriting pen just as fervent and hungry as her first effort, yet with more refined and deliberate results due to the wisdom won through the experience of her debut." No Depression also heaped similar praise on her second album, writing, "Country Songs wraps fiddle, steel, organ and guitar around inspired storytelling that is all at once insightful, honest, tenacious and vulnerable. Completely avoiding any sophomore slump, Jonas' Country Songs captures something timeless and special..."
Five years of non-stop touring with her guitarist Bray has produced a smoldering live act that's left audiences breathless across the country. As they always do, Jonas and Bray plan to tour heavily in support of Butter; already they've confirmed four album release shows (see schedule below) with more dates to be announced soon.
Jonas Tour Dates:
6/1/2018 - Fredericksburg, VA / The Kenmore Inn
6/9/2018 - Winchester, VA / Bright Box Theater
7/6/2018 - New York, NY / Rockwood Music
7/14/2018 - Frederick, MD / The Blue Side