Karen Jonas plays 3 tracks from Oklahoma Lottery and talks about writing songs about great American stores like Bonnie & Clyde and Grapes of Wrath.
- Forever / Gunther Brown / Good Nights For Daydreams / 3:29
- When It Mattered / Reagan Boggs / Quicksand / 3:54
- Dixie Fried / The Howlin' Brothers / The Sun Studio Session (EP) / 2:25
- Bar Band / Luther Dickinson / Rock 'n Roll Blues / 2:44
- Don't You Think It's Come Our Time (w/ June Carter Cash) / Johnny Cash / Out Among The Stars / 2:17
- Blue Surf / Dex Romweber Duo / Images 13 / 2:52
- Second Last Resort / Nancarrow / Heart / 2:35
- Slow Down Easy / The Dirty Guv'nahs / Hearts on Fire / 2:45
- Sittin' On Top Of The Bottom / Chuck Mead / Free State Serenade / 3:26
- Natural Light / Drive-By Truckers / English Oceans / 5:16
Karen Jonas Info
Karen Jonas interview recap
Calvin notes that Oklahoma Lottery has a more soulful / jazz sound to it and asks Karen Jonas if that was a deliberate direction for the album. Karen Jonas says, “I don't know that I was going for a 'sound' specifically. I'm a song writer first. They're songs first and they came together to be this album. With the Parlor Soldiers, a lot of that country and western influence was with the other half of the Parlor Soldiers and I really had fun with that. But this album gets back to my own roots which are more toward folk and pop. That's what I grew up with. I didn't grow up with country music. I almost wish I had, but I didn't. I don't hold much against my parents, but the fact that I didn't hear a Johnny Cash record from front to back until I was 22 is one thing I hold against them a little bit... So this album gets to what I do. I don't know if it's jazz so much I like torch singer. I can hold a grudge and I can hold on to things a little bit and that comes out in my songs. I wish I could write happy songs too. For some reason happiness doesn't make me want to sit down and write a song like a sad moment or memory.”
Karen Jonas sets up “Suicide Sal.” Karen Jonas says, “Suicide Sal is a Bonnie and Clyde song. I wanted to capture some great American stories and I think Bonnie and Clyde is a really interesting one. And I think Bonnie turned some small time bank robbers into something that was sexy and romantic and fun and so I wanted to look into what she did. 'Suicide Sal' is a poem she wrote in prison. She wrote it in the third person about a woman in prison telling her own story. That woman was called Suicide Sal. When you read it you hear a lot of Bonnie's story.... I wanted to capture all that in a song.”
[Calvin plays “Suicide Sal” from Oklahoma Lottery by Karen Jonas.]
Karen Jonas talks about the album being self-produced. She says, “We recorded it live over two days with the band I play with regularly. We had a great engineer Jeff Covert who had some input and the players had a lot of input in what they were playing and we pushed it in a few directions. But mostly it was trying to let the songs speak and say what they needed to say.” She talks about the work involved. She says, “I didn't know how much work it is. I guess I should have. We put out the Parlor Soldiers and I was half of that. This seems like it was, not so much a struggle, but a learning experience. I've had the opportunity to learn a lot about organizing people and letting people do what they are good at while still trying to drive the boat and get it where it needs to go.”
Karen Jonas sets up, “Oklahoma Lottery.” She says, “It's a song about the Dust Bowl. It's interesting how we focus on that. It's a big part of Americana. It's man vs. nature and leaving home and searching for opportunities. I wrote it very shortly after I left my ex. I moved into my Dad's house which was vacant and for sale and I'm pretty sure it was haunted. I spent a lot of time sitting at a counter by myself trying to sort out what was going on in my own life and writing songs. Most of those songs didn't leave my notebook. I never played them anywhere. But this song, I remember it as sort of relating what I was doing and trying to find my own place and my own home and my own opportunity with these people who were displaced by the Dust Bowl.”
[Calvin plays the title track from Oklahoma Lottery by Karen Jonas.]
Calvin asks who inspires Karen Jonas. She says, “It changes all the time and you pick up new stuff. Recently I've been listening to Brandi Carlile. People have been telling me about her for year but I only got here latest album a few months ago. This summer I listened to Jason Isbell a ton. I've been digging back into old country music, trying to catch up. I didn't grow up with it. A few weeks ago I think I fell in love with Dwight Yoakam. I can't help it.”
Karen Jonas sets up, “I Never Learn.” She says, “I really wrote that just for fun. I enjoyed thinking of the story and trying to get there and see it all and play it out in my mind so I could write it. At the time it wasn't something I knew it but I think it was prophetic. I think I might have gone through a few of those since then. It's the story about a woman who can't quite shake a man she out to shake.”
[Calvin plays “I Never Learn” from Oklahoma Lottery by Karen Jonas.]
Karen runs through the band line up, which is Tim Bray on guitar. Claude Arthur on bass. Piper on drums. Also on the record Jay Starling played lap steel and piano.
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