Nashville’s prolific singer-songwriter Stone Jack Jones finds himself collaborating with kindred spirit, Adia Victoria. Jones’ deep connection with Victoria is rooted in their shared love of the South and their intuitively synchronized creative process. “I’m Made” and “Heaven Knows” were written and recorded in 2020 during the height of quarantine or, as Jack puts it, “…it happened in The Isolation.” Lyrically, the song touches on our collective shared paranoia, the anxiety of the unknown future and a dash of longing romanticism; all set against a backdrop of seething guitar and Jones detached delivery. This seemingly dark soundscape is undercut by Victoria’s soaring harmonies breaking through.
After Jones’ family discouraged him from becoming a fifth generation coal miner in West Virginia, Stone Jack Jones became a vagabond: A travelling musician with no particular place to go, Jones spent time in Ft. Worth, Baltimore, New York City and Atlanta before settling in Nashville sometime in the early 90s to take a job with a railroad and raise a family. He kept making music, too, and formed a tight bond with a core group of fellow Music City outsiders, including the likes of Lambchop mastermind Kurt Wagner, singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, and, crucially, producer-engineer Roger Moutenot.
The South Carolina native, Adia Victoria has her own history of vagabond travels having lived in New York and Atlanta before settling in Nashville, making a name for herself with multiple blues inspired, critically acclaimed releases; 2016’s Beyond the Bloodhounds (coincidentally produced by Moutenot) and 2018’s Silences. In 2020, she released the single “South Gotta Change” as a defiant, rallying testament to the region’s worst attributes.
Together, the duo prove that they know how to tap into the primitive feelings of despair often showcased in blues and folk songs but the dark tone of this song pairing is duplicitous, as they both contain an optimism breaking through that oppressive veil. The Isolation kept everyone at home, locked away from the larger world, making us all a bit lost like vagabonds. Stone Jack Jones and Adia Victoria channel that shared experience into a guiding light towards “a new history and a new beginning” as Jones put it.
Of the songs and collaboration, Victoria reveals, “There is an otherworldly quality about Stone Jack Jones and his art that makes him a kindred spirit of mine. His music is like discovering a new path through old woods. Singing along with him on I’m Made was like summoning a choir of my own ghosts. This song makes manifest with sound the conundrum of the past year—the uncertainty, the anxiety and, also, the persistent and deathless hope of humanity.”
“I’m Made” and “Heaven Knows” were written and recorded together in Nashville, TN after the two had properly quarantined. The songs were recorded by producer-engineer Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed).