'Way Beyond the Blue'
After a long, relaxing vacation in Sayulita, a village about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta in Nayarit, Mexico, longtime Rogue Valley musician Jeffery Jones' head became so clear that his creative juices began to flow and he wrote about 30 songs.
It was a vacation like none he'd ever experienced, he says.
"We'd get up in the morning, have a little something to eat, go to the beach, take a nap, get up and have a margarita and a little more to eat and then go back to bed.," he says. "For two weeks, I didn't have to think about work, nothing. The experience got things going. All of a sudden the artistic process became clearer."
He started leaving his iPhone next to his bed, and when he'd wake up in the night with an idea for lyrics to a song, he'd sing and record them. Then he'd wake up with another verse and do it again.
"By morning, I had written a song," Jones says. "My wife thought I was nuts. Sometimes the song would just write itself, but not always. I'm working on a song right now that's got a great melody, chord structure and a little riff that's going to be really cool, but I don't know what it's about yet. It'll be a story about something. I don't know."
Jones — known as the mandolin player and founding member of bluegrass groups Foxfire and Siskiyou Summit — will debut his new CD, "Way Beyond the Blue," at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Belle Fiore Winery, 100 Belle Fiore Lane (off Dead Indian Memorial Road), Ashland. Admission is free. See www.bellefiorewine.com or call 541-552-4900 for reservations.
He'll be joined by his son, Julian Jones, on bass and friends Crystal Reeves and Glenn Freese from Siskiyou Summit on fiddle and hammered dulcimer, respectively.
Jones' collection of vocally driven original folk borders on bluegrass and country music, and all of the songs have a story. Jones, along with his son, Freese and percussionist Tom Freeman recorded the new album's 12 tracks at Freeman Sound Studio in Ashland.
There are humorous songs, such as "Side Effects." Jones visited drug company websites and found lists of drugs with certain side effects that sound worse than the symptoms they're prescribed for.
"That one kind of wrote itself," he says. "It was fun to do."
"Winter's Darkest Day" serves up tracks of rich, gospel-like harmonies.
"We had an hour left in the recording section, so I recorded two guitar tracks, two mandolin tracks and three vocals for the song — all in under one hour. It was like, 'Here you go. Done,' " he laughs. "Sometimes, if you're prepared, you can do that."
Another song that came easy to Jones is the bluegrass ballad titled "Bleeker Hill."
"That one was easy to write," he says. "I had this nice melody and a cool riff, but I wasn't sure what it was going to be about. I used to perform a song called 'Barton Hollow' by The Civil Wars, and I wanted to write something like it. It's about something scary that happened in a spooky place. Bleeker Mountain was a place near where I grew up, though nothing scary that I know of happened there. But you know how stories go. The Adirondacks are ancient mountains. Weird things can happen.
"I've started songs that I thought would be great, then after I played them a few times, I'd think no, not so much. Or conversely, I wrote a song called 'Wash My Body Down' — which is not on the album — and I thought it was kind of interesting, but I wasn't sure about it. Then I changed the key, and all of sudden it was a cool song."
Jones sends his favorite songs to another local songwriter, Bret Levick, whose songs have appeared dozens of TV shows, trailers, commercials and feature films. Levick added a verse, recorded it and sent it to his publisher in L.A.
"You just never know," Jones says.
"Way Beyond the Blue" is available at www.jefferyjonesmusic.com, iTunes, CD Baby and Music Coop, 268 E. Main St., Ashland.