Diana Jones will release her third album on April 5, 2011. It is another release of modern folk music that travels a path through her life’s stories.
Jones has traveled a very different path to arrive at this point in her life. She was adopted as a baby by a family in the Northeast. It was a non-musical family, as it was a chemical engineering household, yet she was drawn to country music.
In her late 20s, Diana Jones connected with her birth family, which was from the Smoky Mountain region of East Tennessee. Her grandfather, Robert Lee Marranville, had played with the legendary Chet Atkins. He passed away in the year 2000 but provided her with the inspiration and impetus to pursue a music career. Her second career is as a portrait artist, which fits her songwriting style well, as she paints life pictures with words.
High Atmosphere explores the themes of the light and darkness of life. She is an excellent lyricist who basically explores her feelings and experiences about life. She writes and sings about personal loss, death, coal miners, poverty, and ultimately faith, contentment, and acceptance. I also appreciate that the lyrics are included in the packaging.
Her music at its most basic is straight out of the American folk tradition. While she is an adept guitarist, it is her inclusion of stringed instruments that gives her sound its uniqueness. Fiddles, banjos, mandolins, cellos, and even a viola all meander through her music which gives it a gentle, contemplative feel. It does not cross over into bluegrass, but certainly has a connection to the music of the Appalachian region of the United States. Part of her press sheet mentions mountain ballads, and that definition seems to fit.
Jones’ low key vocals fit her material well. It does take a little while to settle in to her vocal style, but the singer/songwriter’s voice is a fine instrument for her type of music.
She surrounds herself with a fine group of musicians. Some of the more prominent are multi-instrumentalist Ketch Secor, mandolin player Beau Stapleton, keyboardist Aaron Embry, supporting vocalist Jim Lauderdale, drummer Tommy G, and cello player Michael Samis.
The tracks fit together well, as they form a number of snapshots of Jones’ life. The biting “Sister,” the sad “Funeral Singer,” the social commentary of “Poverty” and “I Told The Man,” and the album’s best track, the haunting “Little Lamb,” are all journeys worth taking.
Diana Jones continues to chronicle her life through music. High Atmosphere is another fine chapter in her ongoing saga.