Singer/songwriter Caroline Jones is the latest country artist to discover the charms of bluegrass music, and she did so by accident in among the least expected locations.
Having built up a large audience since 2011 with six albums of original music, and aggressive social media promotion of her clever music videos, Jones has done things her own way, outside of the large label conglomerates based in Nashville. Her first four records were independently released, and the two most recent with Jimmy Buffet’s Mailboat Records, an acquaintance built when she opened for him on tour in 2018.
An attractive performer, with a winning smile on top of her lovely singing voice and interesting collection of instruments, bluegrass had not been part of her repertoire until a chance meeting with an established family band in New Zealand last year opened a new horizon for Jones.
As it happens, Caroline spent much of the COVID shutdown overseas, following her fiancé Down Under as he was training for the America’s Cup sailing race. There she met and befriended some long time grassers, shared her music with them, and they theirs with her. That led to a collaboration captured on video along the scenic coastline.
But let’s have her describe what happened.
“I was fortunate enough to spend most of the past year in New Zealand, where I met The Trenwiths, a Kiwi bluegrass band whose founding members have been playing together since the 1960s. Their family band now consists of three generations of musicians and singers. I absolutely loved playing country and bluegrass classics with them, as well as both my and their original songs. They are some of the most good-humored, good-natured, authentic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around. Before I left New Zealand to come back to America, I brought a couple of cameras along to capture one of our jams, which we edited down into this video called The Raglan Sessions.
Regular readers of Bluegrass Today will recall several times we have written about The Trenwiths, including a detailed interview with patriarch, Paul Trenwith, last year. He has been involved in bluegrass since the 1970s, and serving as a radio host and a bandleader throughout. Now, his sons have the bug as well, and perform with dad as The Trenwiths.
We are delighted to premiere The Raglan Sessions today. Caroline shares some of the spotlight with her new friends, and the video includes live music beautifully photographed and recorded in the 27 minute production. There are a number of Jones’ originals, plus familiar songs from Mandolin Orange and Emmylou Harris. The mix of Caroline’s country with bluegrass instruments and sensibilities makes for a very enjoyable listen/watch, along with discussions among the participants.
Caroline Jones’ next project is expected later this year on Mailboat Records. You can learn more about her and her music online.