Singled Out: Caroline Jones

Caroline Jones

Multi-instrumentalist Caroline Jones just released her brand new single "Tough Guys" and to celebrate we asked her to tell us about the inspiration behind the track. Here is the story:

I wrote "Tough Guys" a cappella, sang a reference vocal into my computer and did not put the song to music until several weeks after writing it. I knew the song wanted to be blues and I wanted to wait for the right riff. I am a huge fan of acoustic blues music from the 20s, 30s and 40s - Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt - and I admire that their songs stand alone as acoustic guitar-vocal arrangements. It's very important to me as both a songwriter and a musician - who has spent many years touring solo acoustic - that the emotion of the song not rely on production.

I set "Tough Guys" to music on my National resonator guitar and played it live acoustically for several months on the Live Sonima Tour. When it was time to record "Tough Guys" for the album, I had a pretty set idea of the arrangement, beat, etc. One of our primary production references was Carrie Underwood's "Smoke Break" because I love that the chorus explodes with electric guitars. We also wanted a "We Will Rock You" vibe with stomps and claps. Nir Z, the drummer on my album, played live drums and layered drum line samples.

The lead guitar sound on the song is doubled: my National Res-Phonic ResoRocket and my co-producer Ric Wake's Gibson Les Paul Artist from 1980 (we are guitar nerds over here!). The song is heavy on guitars and beat, with bass, banjo and fiddle in the choruses.

"Tough Guys" is a song calling out the hypocrites who think you should be different so they can feel better. It's a trap we all fall into from time to time, trying to change ourselves to please others or trying to change others to please ourselves. The lyrics are very sassy and tongue in cheek because once you learn how to feel confident in your own skin, it seems absurd that anyone's opinion could have a hold over you.

Especially in creative and artistic endeavors, people can be threatened by innovation or by those who have the audacity to believe that they can follow an unconventional path to greatness. Many people mistake having conviction for being rebellious. You can't expect everyone to understand your vision; that why it's your vision. Don't ask others to validate your ideas before you believe in them, because then you've lost the connection to the very inspiration that birthed the idea. Someone wise told me "Play your music, trust your gut" - It's my life's motto.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!


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