Karen Jonas talks about the new track “My Sweet Arsonist” and gives C&I readers an exclusive first listen.
With two widely acclaimed albums already to her credit, country singer Karen Jonas is on the verge of releasing a third, Butter, available on June 1.
Putting a spotlight on her personal life, Jonas has created an entertaining compilation of songs that illustrate the triumphs and obstacles of balancing home life with touring and performing. She calls that balancing act a “circus,” but her journey as a working musician and mother of four has made for rich subject matter and captivating tunes.
A year in the making, Butter was coproduced with Jeff Covert and Tim Bray and written and recorded in Jonas’ hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia. As Jonas says on a Kickstarter funding site for the record, “The result is 10 vibey songs with retro feels and enough character to sink your ship of expectations.”
C&I caught up with the busy Jonas for a quick chat about the track “My Sweet Arsonist,” one of the standouts on Butter.
Cowboys & Indians: If you had to describe your music to someone who has never heard it before ...
Karen Jonas: Alt-country/Americana, more retro than vintage, smart and honest, and sometimes a little snarky.
C&I: What’s the story behind “My Sweet Arsonist”? Did someone in particular inspire it?
Jonas: I wrote “My Sweet Arsonist” when our son was an infant. It’s a love song inspired by looking at my fiancé and our beautiful family through the lens of all of this warm maternal energy and satisfaction, and wanting to make it last forever. We’ve both been married and divorced, so I wanted to capture a passionate but wiser, realistic love. It’s about remaining optimistic about love “through the wreckage” of life.
C&I: I’m sure you had an idea of what you wanted this song to sound like before you went into the studio. Is it what you imagined?
Jonas: I wanted it to sound like a peaceful morning, with all of those layers of rich and beautiful instruments — the guitar, piano, and pedal steel. But it was a little lost and wandering until Jeff added the harmonies and drums while he was mixing. In the end, it might be my favorite recording on the album.
C&I: Have you performed it live yet?
Jonas: We have not! It’s due for a debut any day now. I don’t sing a lot of nice love songs, so I’m interested to hear how people react.
Get an exclusive first listen to “My Sweet Arsonist” below.
For more information on Karen Jonas and to preorder her upcoming album, visit her website. Photography: Amber Renée.