Band: Caroline Jones
Date: Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2:15 p.m.
Stage: Courtyard Stage
The “Gulf Coast Girl” is coming home to perform for her adoring fans at the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off. Indie singer-songwriter and Florida native Caroline Jones will be coming to Gulf Shores with tracks from her debut EP, “Chasin’ Me.” When it came to penning the songs for this album, Jones found herself in good company with notables such as Jimmy Buffett, Mac McAnally, Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney joining her in the studio. Together, they collected an impressive collection of edgy pop country. In addition to releasing her debut, Jones has found time to take to the airwaves with her SiriusXM show, “Art & Soul.” Lagniappe’s Steve Centanni had the chance to chat with Jones about her new EP and coming home to the Gulf Coast.
Steve Centanni: How does it feel to finally have your “Chasin’ Me” EP out for public enjoyment?
Caroline Jones: It’s very gratifying! We’ve been playing some of these songs live for two years now, like “Chasin’ Me,” “Tough Guys (Remix)” and “All of the Boys,” so I’m especially happy for the fans who have come to my shows to hear the recorded versions we crafted so carefully.
Centanni: How did you cross paths with Jimmy Buffett and Mac McAnally?
Jones: Mac was one of the first Nashville heavyweights to take me under his wing and introduce me to the Music City studio scene. I am so grateful for his early support and endless inspiration, musically and personally. I met Jimmy in 2017, when I was asked to open for the “Trying to Reason” hurricane benefit concert with Jimmy, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Jake Owen in Tallahassee [Florida].
Jimmy invited me to sing with him onstage, and we really hit it off. He invited me to tour with him, gave me a distribution deal on his record label and has gone out of his way to mentor and support me ever since. I am so blessed to have heroes, mentors and friends like Jimmy and Mac. I can never repay them for what they have done for me and my dream.
Centanni: Both of them are legendary songwriters. What was it like working with them?
Jones: They are extraordinarily gifted songwriters. I was struck by the witty, well-thought-out and heartfelt lyrics and catchy but smart melodies of “Gulf Coast Girl.” The fact that they wrote “Gulf Coast Girl” with me in mind is still very surreal. It’s a lifelong honor. I really enjoyed being in the studio and observing both Mac’s and Jimmy’s processes, especially the way they collaborate with and engage other musicians.
Centanni: What did you learn about your own songwriting from those sessions?
Jones: Great question! I was reminded how unique each person’s sensibilities are, and how much we have to learn by observing other people’s processes and creative styles. I definitely soaked it up and came away from the recording process with a heavy dose of inspiration.
Centanni: How would you compare writing with those two to Zac Brown?
Jones: Well, the two situations were completely different. Jimmy and Mac came to me with the song written. Whereas with Zac, I wrote most of “All of the Boys” alone. Originally, I intended “All of the Boys” to be from a man’s perspective, which is why I brought it to Zac, but he encouraged me to tweak it to be from a woman’s perspective and keep it for myself to sing. He was right!
Centanni: Speaking of “Gulf Coast Girl,” what’s the best thing about coming back to the Gulf Coast to perform?
Jones: The beauty and the beach! I absolutely loved filming the “Gulf Coast Girl” video in Gulf Shores. It was heavenly with a fabulous, kind, talented team of people. Also, I get to definitely walk on the beach again!
Centanni: In addition to music, you also have your XM show, “Art & Soul.” Tell me what makes this show so special for you.
Jones: The singer-songwriter perspective is very near and dear to my heart. I’m fascinated by the creative process and by the stories behind songs. Having a diverse array of artists like James Bay, Regina Spektor, Devin Dawson, Steve Cropper and Butch Walker on my show broadens my creative horizons. I love sharing those conversations with The Coffee House audience.
Centanni: What’s next for Caroline Jones?
Jones: First, promoting and touring my new EP, “Chasin’ Me.” I get to open for Trisha Yearwood in November, who is one of the best country vocalists ever. Then, I make my Grand Ole Opry debut on Nov. 16, which is a total dream come true!
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