Jones is a singer-songwriter who gathered some of the best sidemen in Nashville at a cabin in East Tennessee and did a live recording of this quiet collection of songs that churns up emotions like an eddy in a mountain stream. She plays guitar and is accompanied primarily by Shad Cobb on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and harmonies and by Matt Combs on fiddle, mandolin, banjo, mandola, viola, and harmony vocals. Joe DeJarnette provides bass and remote engineering expertise. Laurelyn Dossett and John Lilly supply additional vocals.
Jones’ voice makes use of more throat and head tones, resulting in a unique vocal sound. Her songs have a spiritual quality, and the masterful string work from Combs and Cobb do much to enhance the ethereal aspects. Apparently, Jones has been making music for some time and tours quite extensively. Adopted, she found her birth parents in the Smoky Mountains and found her love of old-time music justified by birth. She takes the old and makes it new by synthesizing the old mountain sounds into a new sound, rich in the old modalities. She digs deep into the human experience and produces songs that are dense and rich. In turn, she also finds the new in the old and puts it into her songs. Her songs look deep into human experience. “Orphan’s Home,” “Gold Mine,” and “Drunkard’s Daughter” are profound examples of this insight she brings to her music.
Singer-songwriters can be a big turnoff with their bend toward the narcissistic indulgences. Jones transcends this tendency and, like Gillian Welch, speaks to the truth through tradition-based songwriting imbued with wisdom. Like a great book, repeated visits will reveal new nuggets of truth and songs worth carrying on. (Goldmine Records, 3215 30th St., Apt A25, Astoria, NY 11106, www.dianajonesmusic.com.)RCB