Travis Reviews Kirsten Jones at The Moonshine Cafe

By Matt Main

Not knowing if Oakville has much of a country or folk scene, performers like Kirsten Jones could probably start one. The Toronto alternative folk artist has been busy touring Canada promoting her new album The Mad Mile. I didn’t know what to expect since I had never seen her live.

The show she put on at The Moonshine Café in downtown Oakville was nothing short of amazing. The music was perfect and almost identical to how it would sound on an album. Throughout their whole set, not one note or beat was missed. Kirsten, along with her guitarist and percussionist surprised me by having more than the typical sounding country music. Blending bits of folk, and belting out songs about her life gave her set a real unique feel that got the small crowd on her side.

After seven original songs, two covers and one sing-a-long, I sat down with Kirsten to find out what people may not know about her.

How did you get your start in music?

“Well, I can tell you that I quit my day job five years ago. I used to work at Universal Music Canada and a bunch of things happened in my life that were catalysts to me making big changes in my life. I decided to quit and become a songwriter since I’ve been singing all my life, and playing guitar half my life.”

Where did your interest in country music come from?

“I hated country music growing up and then several songwriters bridged the gap for me to country. Folky artists like Tracy Chapman and a lot of people like Sheryl Crow. That gradually got me into people like Gillian Welch and Patty Griffin and the Dixie Chicks. That’s what came naturally for me to play, a folky-country thing.”

What musicians would you consider to be major influences?

“Patty Giffian. She’s just one of the best songwriters there is as far as I’m concerned. Sheryl Crow’s also a huge influence. There’s just so many.”

Before going on stage in front of a large crowd, what’s running through your mind?

“Don’t forget the words. I’m actually more comfortable in front of live audiences like that.”

By the way things seem, you’ve been quite busy since the release of your debut album Drive-In Movie, when is there time to relax?

“The music industry is probably different than what you think, it’s more about business than actually playing music. You never really get a chance to sit down and just play your guitar. My relax time is just spending time with my family. I have a 21-month-old that I always spend time with.”

How did this year’s album The Mad Mile differ from the last album you recorded?

Drive-In Movie was more of a home video production with a great friend of mine, Mitch Girio. We were both starting out and he was my producer. The album had a lot of work that went in it that took about a year to do. The Mad Mile had a much bigger budget. It was recorded in a studio with songs written over a year ago. It only took about two weeks to get done. Plus, there were also lots of big name people working on it with me. One was Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, he sung a song with me.”

Where have you toured?

“I’ve done nine provinces in Canada and some gigs in the States but my dream is tour in Australia and New Zealand.”

What do you think the highlight of your career has been so far?

“Working with Gary Louris who’s my producer, he’s been an idol of mine for years. Being in my living room with Gary who has co-written with the Dixie Chicks and a lot of my idols, that was my highlight.”

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

“Sheryl Crow and Patty Griffin are my main ones for sure.”

I know it’s only been a few months since The Mad Mile was released but when can fans expect new material?

“Probably after a couple years of touring. I’d like to get back in the studio and work on some songs that aren’t my own. Maybe record some covers just as a side project which could come out next year as an EP.”

For more by Kirsten Jones head over to her official website: http://www.kirstenjones.com/

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