Although I am now well into my dotage I still get that frisson of excitement when a favourite artist releases a new record. Nowadays I consume most of my new music via the excellent Apple Music service, though I do have an extensive CD collection too. The advent of the streaming services has meant that there is now no need to await the arrival in the post of a new record, and Apple Music’s regular day for updates is Friday, so I’m always there checking to see what’s new. I happened to still be up just after midnight on Thursday (honest, I’m usually still up then!) and thought it might be worth looking for a new album I was expecting. There it was, and so at around 12.03am last Friday it was duly added to my library. I took the chance to listen to it later on Friday, and have been revisiting it since then: it is everything I was hoping for.
The performer is one who will probably be a new name for just about all of you, unless you have exceptionally good memories and can cast your minds back to September 2020 – specifically Tuesday Tunes 25, which is the only previous occasion on which I’ve featured her. The lady in question is Caroline Jones – ring any bells? Thought not. The song she had just released as a single back then was What A View, which is included on her new album. The background I gave on her then told you that her sole main label album to date – Bare Feet – was released in 2018, so I was hoping that there might be a new album in the offing. Bare Feet reached #11 on the US Country Chart, and there were also four earlier self-released albums, which I have finally found – they are on Bandcamp but nowhere else, as far as I can tell. Caroline has been championed by both Jimmy Buffett and the Zac Brown Band, and has been releasing her records on Buffett’s record label. As well as the album, Caroline has also released a couple of EPs since signing – Chasing Me, in 2019, and All Of The Boys, in 2020. The latter is remarkable for comprising four tracks, all of the same song, but in markedly different versions – this lady has talent! Since then she has released several singles, which all now feature on the new album.
So why am I telling you all this? Firstly, don’t be put off by the ‘country’ label: this young woman is an extremely talented singer-songwriter however you classify her. Secondly, I think she could be on the verge of a big breakthrough, and it’s always good to see a career take off. This past week has seen her on tour with the Zac Brown Band, during which they played on Wednesday at the prestigious CMA Awards show, and then on Thursday they opened the show for the Rolling Stones. To cap that, her album came out on Friday, as I have said, and throughout Friday and Saturday there have been a whole series of lyric videos for all thirteen of its tracks. These aren’t the standard ‘letters on a plain screen’ type, either: as you will see shortly, They are mostly ‘studio live’ performances accompanied by the lyrics. I’ve never done this before, and it will be interesting to see how you respond – think of it as a mini Listen to The Band post, if you like. But I wanted to show you her versatility, and her great musical abilities and lovely singing voice.
So now to the music. The album is called Antipodes, which reflects the fact that Caroline met the love of her life last year and moved out to New Zealand to spend seven months with him there. Many of the songs have been fully or partly recorded in NZ, and there is a recurring theme of a woman very much in love running through them. This first one is the one I shared before, which I thought dated back to before she met her fella – the lyrics might suggest otherwise – and this is the new video version for it:
The previous video for this song also featured some spectacular scenery which, as the track was recorded in Nashville, I’ve always thought was somewhere in the US. I’ve never been there, but I think this may have been shot in New Zealand – it is an equally magnificent landscape.
This next video is one of the studio settings:
There is a theme developing here, isn’t there, of the change that love can bring to our lives and the way that it can alter our outlook. This next one is another that was previously released as a single, with an excellent video. In keeping with the spirit of the album, though, this is the newly released version:
By way of a change, there is a duet on the album, recorded with Matthew Ramsay of the band Old Dominion. See what you think – to me, this is lovely, and their voices blend so well together:
As I said at the outset, there are thirteen tracks on the album and I could happily share them all with you! But I’ll rein myself in and just give you a couple more. This is one of the newer ones, which was released as a single last month. Again, the theme of a woman in love shines through:
And to finish, the song which on first hearing struck me as the stand out:
Simple, full of meaning, and utterly heartfelt. You can’t ask for much more than that from a song, can you?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at a new album by someone I think may well be a rising star. Her YouTube page has 127k subscribers, which is a pretty sizeable total for an ‘unknown,’ and I think we may be hearing more of her in the near future. Her major market is probably the US, but when she did a series of live Facebook sessions last year during lockdown she was getting viewers from around the world, so maybe she will become better known elsewhere, too. The new album has got off to a good start – it made its debut at #4 on the US iTunes country chart, just ahead of Taylor Swift’s latest release, which also came out on Friday. I for one hope the success is sustained.
See you again on Tuesday, I trust, for some more tunes – from more than one artist! Enjoy the rest of your weekend 😊