Album Reviews

Karen Jonas

Country Songs

Artist:     Karen Jonas

Album:     Country Songs

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     10/14/2016

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While most folk tend to think of Nashville as the hometown of country music, historically a large portion of the genre’s roots were first planted in Virginia, with the Carter Family, and it is now coming full circle with the next darling of country music. Fredericksburg, Virginia-based Karen Jonas turned heads with her 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery and her sophomore effort Country Songs is just as charming.

Produced by Jeff Covert at Wally Cleavers Recording Studio and recorded entirely live, Country Songs is an enchantingly nostalgic kick in the pants. Exploring themes of heartbreak, loneliness and embracing one’s independence, Jonas’s sultry vocals emphasize her lyrics with a poignant, poetic urgency just as a storyteller entrances her audience until the last sentence is uttered.

The title track is a love letter to classic country songs that Jonas wrote after  an interview she gave where she was asked if she was raised listening to country music (she wasn’t.) The genre obviously comes natural to her as Jonas can not only belt out a moonshine-fueled tune with confident passion, but delivers somber ballads with grace, soul and lovely heartache. Long-time collaborator, guitarist Tim Bray punctuates each track with dynamic electric guitar riffs with a swagger that hits you right in the gut.

A champion of women who love no-good men, Jonas is country music’s answer to Gloria Gaynor. Jonas promises that you will survive on power songs like “Keep Your Hands To Yourself,”  in which she tells the guy who did her wrong, “Don’t you worry about me/well, I’ll be fine/But you should keep your hands to yourself next time.” Good men are as scarce as deviled eggs after a church picnic and Jonas dispenses frank advice with wit, humor and bravery.

—Jane Roser

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